Father, grandmother say deceased toddler was abused

Police are investigating the death of a toddler on Palmetta Court.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) A 2-year-old boy died Wednesday night and officials are working to determine what happened. In the meantime, his family is torn – one side blaming the other for his death.

The Allen County Coroner’s Office has identified the boy as young Malakai Michael Garrett of Fort Wayne. The coroner’s office said the boy’s cause of death and manner of death are both still pending, however.

The toddler’s father and grandmother believe he was being neglected and abused. His mother said those allegations are false.

Around 5:45 p.m. Wednesday, officers took a call from a home in the 6900 block of Palmetta Court, in the Crestwood Colony neighborhood off North Clinton Street on Fort Wayne’s north side. A short time later, a toddler was dropped off at nearby Fire Station 13, along North Clinton Street.

NewsChannel 15 was told the toddler wasn’t breathing.

Officials are working to figure out what happened but His father Lantz Garrett and grandmother Chante Harter point to abuse. There have been multiple investigations by the Department of Child Services. The most recent was filed by Lantz Garret on Oct. 31 and is still open. Earlier this month, he also filed an emergency petition to change custody. A court hearing was scheduled for Dec. 12.

“He was showing up with unexplained diaper rashes, unexplained marks and bruising,” said Harter. “The system failed us. It failed us big time. Had they done their job, our baby would be with us today.”

Malakai’s mother has a different story. She was too emotional to talk on camera but told Newschannel 15 that her son was never hurt. She said the real danger was from Malakai’s father and that he is the one who is abusive.

Police haven’t released any other information, though NewsChannel 15 has learned that homicide detectives have been called to help in the investigation.