Victor Fakoya can return to his family


Victor Fakoya can finally go home.

For months, the Nigerian immigrant and, as of last Friday, U.S. citizen has battled Clark County prosecutors for the right to live with his family. He previously spent two years in jail before a jury acquitted him of abuse and murder charges.

On Thursday, after five months of legal wrangling, a Family Court hearing master allowed Fakoya to be reunited with his wife and two daughters and to move into his Las Vegas home.

Attorney Kristina Wildeveld, who represents Fakoya, said case workers from the Department of Family Services will observe the Fakoyas over the next seven weeks. A final hearing to close the case is set for June 30.

Fakoya said he was relieved he now could be with his family. He said he is still bothered that he was targeted by the district attorney's office, and he believes his rights were violated.

Since Fakoya's December acquittal in the death of a 2-year-old boy, prosecutors have refused to let him live with his family unless he admitted to their accusations in a related Family Court child protection case.

But Fakoya refused to admit to something he didn't do, vowed to fight the case to the U.S. Supreme Court and spent every night for the past five months away from his wife and two daughters.

Earlier this month, after weeks of public scrutiny of the matter, the district attorney's office agreed to resolve the child protection case.

Fakoya pleaded no contest to a Family Court petition that stated he did not call 911 in a timely manner after realizing 2-year-old Daniel Jaiyesimi was unconscious.

The delay was a couple of minutes. When Fakoya saw Daniel had become unconscious, his first phone call was to the boy's father. A minute later, he called his wife, who told him to call 911. He then immediately called 911.

Authorities believed Daniel, whose family shared the Fakoya home, died as a result of child abuse. Fakoya was the last adult known to be with him.

But during two criminal trials, the first of which ended in a hung jury, medical expert testimony failed to narrow down what caused the boy's death or prove Fakoya caused an injury.

Daniel was sick for weeks before his death, and there was evidence to support five possible causes. Only one pointed to abuse, Fakoya's defense team said.

Before the first criminal trial, defense lawyers and prosecutors had agreed to resolve the child protection case if Fakoya admitted he was unable to care for his children because of incarceration.

Fakoya could have taken parenting and anger management classes, and the matter would have been resolved. But the child protection case lingered as the criminal case remained unresolved.

Five days after Fakoya's acquittal, the county lawyers handling the Family Court case refiled the original allegation.

Prosecutors again offered a potential resolution but only if Fakoya attended child abuse counseling, which would require that he admit to abusing Daniel. Failing to meet that requirement would have resulted in permanent termination of his parental rights.

 

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