The laceration to Janiyah Russell’s liver was “so significant” that the doctor who performed the 5-year-old girl’s autopsy told police she could not have survived the injury for more than a few minutes.
In addition to the lacerated liver, Las Vegas police have said, Janiyah had bruising around both eyes, her forehead, lips, neck, arms, legs and abdomen.
Yet in an interview with Las Vegas police, Shevhuan Miller, the sole suspect in the child’s death and her father’s longtime girlfriend, described Janiyah’s injuries as “minor,” according to her arrest report.
Miller, 23, claims that on Sept. 10, the day before Janiyah died, the girl had gotten into a “scuffle” with some neighborhood kids at The Suites, an extended-stay apartment complex near Boulder Highway and Twain Avenue, where the girl lived with her dad, Richard Davis, and Miller, whom she referred to as “Mom.”
“She describes the injuries as minor and was not concerned for her safety,” a Metropolitan Police Department abuse and neglect detective wrote in the report. “She did not knock on any neighbors’ doors and she did not report the incident to security or police.”
The girl’s father also would later tell police that his daughter “showed no signs of being injured.”
“Janiyah ate some chicken nuggets from Popeye’s, played with her toys and was put down to sleep on the couch,” according to the report.
Early the next morning, while the girl’s father was out donating blood at a local blood bank, Miller called 911 to report that Janiyah, “after being given a bath, was unresponsive,” the report states.
Janiyah was rushed to Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead. The Clark County coroner’s office had not publicly released her cause and manner of death as of Wednesday afternoon, but in the arrest report, police noted that the doctor who performed Janiyah’s autopsy said “she would rule this case a homicide by child abuse.”
Miller has been charged with one count each of murder and child abuse resulting in substantial bodily harm. She has been in custody at the Clark County Detention Center, held on $250,000 bail, since her arrest on Sept. 12.
“My brother, he lost his whole family in one day,” Myra Anderson told the Las Vegas Review-Journal last week outside a courtroom, following Miller’s initial appearance in court.
Anderson said her brother and Miller started dating six years ago, and that Miller had been a part of Janiyah’s life since she was born.
“Janiyah called this woman ‘Mom,’” Anderson said, crying. “She knew her as ‘Mom.’ She didn’t know anyone else as ‘Mom’ but her.”
That’s because, according to Anderson, Janiyah had been in and out of foster homes while under the care of her biological mother in another state. Davis had recently regained custody of his daughter before her death.
“Shevhuan witnessed the hell he had to go through to get his daughter back,” Anderson said. “Now my brother won’t get to see her go to school for the first time, or have her first boyfriend.”
Miller will return to court Oct. 2 for her preliminary hearing. Should she post bail, Miller is prohibited from seeing Davis and from any contact with children, court records show.