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Autopsy shows child abuse, refutes family's claims

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Last October, a Charlotte couple was charged in the death of a toddler. The girl showed "signs of physical abuse," Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said.

Jade Sheree Butler and Antonio Fernelle Cathey were charged with felony child abuse and murder in connection with the death of 17-month-old Kyiemani Aveah Brewer, CMPD said in a news release.

During their investigation, police detectives determined the "infant was physically assaulted, which led to her death," CMPD said in a news release.

Today WBTV reported a newly released autopsy report shows "17-month-old Kyiemani Brewer was physically assaulted last year. Her little body was covered in bruises and lacerations. She also had multiple fractures and internal injuries."

The toddler was found unresponsive last October. Police detectives and the Medical Examiner's Office said, "Kyiemani suffered several traumatic injuries at the time."

Butler and Cathey are both charged with murder and child abuse. However, Butler is currently out of jail on bond.

Garmarie Bennett, Antonio Cathey's mother, told WBTV "Butler and her son are innocent after their first court hearing." She added, "Kyiemani had a muscle and bone disorder which led to bruising and had been hospitalized in the past few months."

However, the autopsy report makes no mention of the toddler having any pre-existing conditions.

"I think she died from that illness," said Bennett. "My son just did the best for that was his own blood daughter," she said.

WBTV asked DSS about a prior investigation, which Bennett claims "cleared the couple of abuse allegations." However, a DSS representative would not confirm or deny that a prior investigation took place.

Kyiemani's case is currently being reviewed by the state's child fatality team.

People that abuse and kill children have no remorse and they refuse to take responsibility for their actions. We need to stand up and speak for these children who can not speak for themselves. We need to be a voice for children and show the world that child abuse is punishable by law. We need to let people know it is not okay to abuse children.

If you suspect a child is being abused please contact the state toll-free number for specific agencies designated to receive and investigate reports of suspected child abuse and neglect. By filing a report you may just save a child's life.

For more information or to report a suspected case of child abuse, here is a complete list of state toll-free numbers for specific agencies designated to receive and investigate reports of suspected child abuse.