RICHMOND, Va. — Tragedy has struck twice for one Church Hill father.
Family members say he lost a baby just over a year ago and now his four-month-old daughter was found dead last weekend. Friends say emotionally and financially it’s taking a toll.
But now some strangers are stepping in to help.
“I never met the girl and I never met the parents,” said Chrystal Richards, who is one of more than a dozen people on Facebook who saw a family struggling to bury a tiny loved one, and decided to interact, and donate money to their funeral expense account.
“She’s four months old,” Richards said. “The mother is barely 18. She didn’t have money to bury her child. I just did all I could do.”
Richmond police say they were called to the Church Hill apartment home off 30th Street early Saturday morning for an baby who had stopped breathing.
The child’s family says a family member was babysitting the infant and fell asleep by the little girls side. Now police are investigating whether that family member rolled over on top of the girl and suffocated her. They say that’s their preliminary finding but they’re waiting for the Medical Examiner’s final cause of death.
“I was on Facebook and saw a picture posted about it,” said Chesterfield middle school student Aaliyah Harris, who donated all of her school shopping money. It totaled $300, all so little Myione Heaven Johnson could rest in peace.
“I have a lot of stuff, more than I need,” said Aaliyah. “I don’t need new stuff for school, so I gave it to them.”
These Facebook friends say they are paying it forward, hoping it inspires others to reach out and touch this little girl’s family. A Myione “Go Fund Me” page has been set up.
Richards believes the expense of healing hasn’t even started for the young mother and father. “She’s going to need a lot of counseling because this was her little baby,” said Richards. “And him, being it was the second child he’s lost, I think counseling is appropriate for both.”
After the medical examiner’s report is complete, police say detectives will meet with the commonwealth’s attorney to discuss whether charges should be filed.