Family grieves loss of 10-year-old boy to abuse 5 years after seeking custody

MADISON, Wis. – A Madison family is grieving the loss of a little boy in their family tonight.

On Monday they cremated their 10-year-old nephew and grandson after he was killed following several years of abuse.

In 2013, after Takoda Collins’ grandmother was denied custody, Collins’ father took him to Dayton, Ohio. The family said this was against court orders.

While there, court records show Collins suffered extreme abuse.

He was locked in the attic naked, his autopsy showed he had cuts and bruises from head to toe, and he was held underwater. His father is now facing counts of endangering children, felony assault and rape of a child under the age of 13.

“There will always be that why,” said Steven Crabtree, Collins’ uncle. Why? I ask myself every day. How could somebody do this? Why would somebody do this? And I think that’s what’s going to eat me up my whole life.

Child services in Dayton told the local CBS affiliate the agency didn’t have an open record for the home at the time of Collins’ death, though family said there were prior police calls and welfare checks to the home.

Kelly Sandoval, Collins’ grandmother, said the system needs to do better to protect children facing abuse.

“They do nothing,” she said. “Until something like this happens, and then they scramble to figure out where they went wrong or saying they did everything right when we know they didn’t do it right.”

On the day of this boy’s death Dec. 13 McLean called police when he found his body. The 911 call shows McLean telling the dispatcher Collins had mental issues that caused him to hurt himself.

“I know it’s a lie,” Crabtree said. I know him as a little boy. He never had problems. And if he did have any problems, it was self-inflicted. Especially as a kid, I know I’m a grown man, and if I went through stuff like that, I would have problems.

Crabtree said some involved in the situation have started GoFundMe pages, but he warned not to donate to them. He and Sandoval, with the help of friends and family, have covered the costs of cremation and bringing the remains back to Wisconsin. He said money donated to these GoFundMe pages wouldn’t be going to help Collins.

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