Family speaks out after 18-month-old’s death

Raylean 1

By WVUA 23 News Reporter Aajene Robinson

The man accused of killing an 18-month-old child is facing capital murder charges while the baby’s family is devastated at their sudden, tragic loss.

Raylean Richardson was taken to the hospital early Friday, Dec. 17, where she later died. The Tuscaloosa Violent Crimes Unit began an investigation and soon after arrested 28-year-old Joseph Earl Jenkins, who was Raylean’s mother’s live-in boyfriend. Jenkins is in the Tuscaloosa County jail on no bond, and TVCU said more charges may be coming.

Aunt Talesia Richardson said Raylean was the sweetest baby who look up at you and smile with big, glossy eyes.

“She was just the sweetest baby anybody could ever want to be around because she doesn’t do anything but just look up at you and say ‘hey’ and wave her little hands and walk with her little bowlegged legs of hers,” Richardson said.

Richardson said she was on the phone with her sister and Raylean just a few hours before the ambulance was called.

“I got the call at about 3 or 4 o’clock that morning,” Richardson said. “During that time, I was already in shock. I was praying already.”

Richardson said despite the tragedy, she knows exactly where Raylean is.

“She’s with God right now,” Richardson said. “I’m happy that she made it to the gates of heaven and is just looking down on all of us.”

A GoFundMe has been set up to help pay for Raylean’s burial, and it’s already raised more than $10,000.

“We are beyond blessed and thanking everyone who’s contributing and sending out everything,” Richardson said. “We thought we weren’t going to get that much, and now knowing that there are people that do care about others even after time of grieving we are super, super blessed for that.”

If you’re interested in donating, you can click right here.

Richardson said that although Raylean can’t say thank you, on Saturday they saw a sign that suggested exactly that.

“Yesterday we saw a huge rainbow in the sky after it finished storming,” Richardson said. “She was letting us know that she’s OK and she wants to thank everyone.”

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