There was once a beautiful little 9-year-old girl named Ayahna Comb who lived with her mother and five-year-old sister in a southwest Houston apartment complex called Happy Home Apartments. Ayahna suffered from cerebral palsy, could not communicate or do things for herself and was completely dependent upon others for assistance. A concerned neighbor who hadn’t seen the little girl in months let himself in to Ayahna’s unlocked apartment earlier this week and found her dead, wrapped up in blankets in the bottom drawer of her mother’s refrigerator.
Click 2 Houston reported on June 11 that Ayahna’s mother, Amber Keyes, was questioned by detectives from the Houston Police Department on Tuesday. As of this writing, there haven’t been any charges filed in Ayahna’s death.
Cora Christiaans, a caseworker with Houston’s Child Protection Services said that Ayahna’s deceased body was emaciated and weighed only 14 pounds after being discovered on Monday. The case worker also stated that the little girl’s body was in a state of decomposition.
Christiaans added that "There were concerns that the child had been in the refrigerator for some time." The Houston Chron shared that the mom placed Ayahna in that refrigerator about six months ago. Relatives of the little girl told police they hadn’t seen Ayahna since late 2013. Reports state that Ayahna hadn't been to school or to see a doctor in the last two years.
The mother admitted to police that she placed her daughter in the refrigerator toward the end of January after Ayahna just stopped breathing. Keyes kept the truth about her daughter’s death from everyone, saying that Ayahna had been placed in a facility for special needs children. Keyes said she panicked after her daughter died “and does not know why she didn't call for help."
To make a gruesome story even more horrific, Ayahna’s five-year-old sister reportedly saw her older sister’s dead body in the fridge one day while looking for a snack, the news of which prompted an emergency custody hearing for the surviving five year old.
… Investigators say the little girl was soon telling playmates about seeing the body.
The affidavit says the girl told investigators, "...that one time she opened the drawer to the fridge looking for a cheese stick and there was a body in the drawer."
The investigators go on to say that Keyes, "continued to collect Social Security Disability Income and food stamps for Ayahna following her death."
And the affidavit says Keyes even renewed her application for food stamps last May.
Yesterday in a Houston courtroom, a judge determined that the five year old will remain in the care of CPS for now. The five-year-old girl’s father, Armand Comb, is seeking custody of his daughter. The dad has his own issues though. A CPS case worker raised issues concerning Comb’s alleged substance abuse and is concerned about the father’s “emotional and mental health, and his failure to follow up on Ayahna's disappearance.” A temporary custody hearing for the five year old has been scheduled for next week.
The judge also appointed a lawyer for Comb. He has also agreed to undergo a drug screening.
An autopsy was completed earlier this week in the hopes of determining when and how Ayahna died. The results of that autopsy are still pending.