Detroit mother, friend to be tried in baby girl's drowning

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News
Balloons were tied to the porch railing beside a makeshift memorial site for Ca'mya Davis, who died after falling through a hole in her floor to a water-filled basement.

Two Detroit women are headed to trial in the death of a baby girl, Ca'mya Davis, who fell through a hole in a bedroom floor and drowned in a flooded basement. 

The baby's mother, Dasiah Jordan, and homeowner Tonya Peterson face involuntary manslaughter and child abuse charges. Both were bound over for trial in the 11-month-old's death at the conclusion of a preliminary examination before Judge William McConico of 36th District Court.

Ca'mya drowned on July 6 after falling through a hole in the floor of Peterson's home on the city's west side. At the time, Peterson was watching the children while Jordan was getting her hair done. 

At the preliminary exam, officials testified Peterson put a 10-year-old girl in charge of watching Ca'mya while she watched television.

A witness stated the 10-year-old was cooking noodles in the kitchen and needed light, so she opened the bedroom door, which normally remains closed to prevent children from getting near the hole. During that time, Ca'mya fell through the cardboard covering and drowned in a basement filled with sewage. 

Peterson went to the basement to find Ca'mya, began giving CPR, then called 911, the witness stated. 

"She had a child sleeping in this room with the only protection to be a cardboard box fall through a basement filled with sewage and drown to death," Assistant Prosecutor Jennifer Tink said. "A 2-by-4 with some nails would have prevented this." 

Defense attorneys said what happened to the infant wasn't intentional, but McConico said: "Prosecutors are right. It only takes a couple dollars to get a board ... Ms. Jordan did not take any steps to (alleviate) the obvious danger she subjected her children to and Ms. Peterson's actions are outrageous ... there shouldn't be babies watching babies."

Jordan, the child's 26-year-old mother, faces one count of involuntary manslaughter and one count of second-degree child abuse. Jordan was arraigned on July 17 in 36th District Court and issued a bond of $25,000 by Magistrate Millicent Sherman. 

Peterson, 28, is charged with second-degree child abuse. She was arraigned on July 18 in 36th District Court and issued a bond of $55,000 by Magistrate Jeffrey Kleparek. 

Both will appear in Wayne County Circuit Court on Aug. 17.