Thaiya Spruill-Smith was declared legally dead in Brooklyn, N.Y., last Friday, but her body is still being preserved by medical equipment as her parents battle over what to do with her organs, the New York Daily News reports.
According to the Daily News, the 2-year-old girl’s father, 26-year-old Terrell Smith, believes that his daughter should be buried with her organs. “She was born with them, and I want her to be laid to rest with them,” he said.
But the child’s mother, 24-year-old Teoka Spruill, believes that another child could benefit from Thaiya’s organs. “I just think it would be a blessing for someone else’s family,” Spruill told the New York Times.
Spruill’s husband, David Adams, is implicated in the death of the child after he confessed to shaking her until her body went limp. He allegedly attacked Thaiya last week after she wouldn’t stop crying.
“She should have no say over my daughter. My daughter is here because of her,” Smith said of the girl’s mother.
According to court documents, the 25-year-old stepfather admitted to lifting the girl in the air and shaking her, causing her head to jerk around, the Daily News notes. Thaiya later had trouble breathing, prompting her mother to call 911 on Thursday morning. Police were notified when doctors noted bruises on the toddler’s body.
Thaiya then went into a coma before being declared dead Friday evening. Prosecutors are hoping to have charges against Adams upgraded to murder, pending an autopsy.
“We do intend to upgrade, but we have to wait for an autopsy,” Brooklyn District Attorney spokeswoman Lupé Todd told the Daily News.