Gina Caze, the mother of 14-year-old Naika Venant, a Florida girl who broadcast her suicide on Facebook Live, reportedly taunted her daughter in the moments before she hanged herself and may have watched her daughter end her life.
Naika Venant reportedly used a scarf to hang herself in a bathroom on January 22 at a foster home in Miami Gardens, according to the Miami Herald.
Hundreds reportedly watched over a period of about two hours as Nika live-streamed her suicide on Facebook. While some pleaded with her to reconsider her decision to take her life, a few taunted her and egged her on, according to a report by the Florida Department of Children and Families (FDCF).
“There were many other individuals urging her to take her own life, calling her vile names and claiming the situation was either ‘fake’or ‘all an act,'” according to the report released on Monday by the FDCF.
One of the hundreds of Facebook viewers was someone with the alias “Gina Alexis.”
— Miami Herald (@MiamiHerald) March 14, 2017
Girl killed herself on Facebook Live, and mom is accused of egging her on https://t.co/QW3zFX4bwr
— Susie Bowser (@suzarella2) March 16, 2017
FDCF said in its report that it received information from undisclosed sources that “Gina Alexis,” who watched and commented during the live-stream, was, in fact, Naika’s mother Gina Caze.
Under the alias Gina Alexis, Caze reportedly posted Facebook comments, taunting her daughter and daring her to commit suicide in the moments before her death, the FDCF report claimed.
“#ADHD games played u sad little DCF custody jit (SIC) that’s why u where u at for this dumb s— n more u keep crying wolf (SIC) u dead u will get buried life goes on after a jit that doesn’t listen to their parents trying to be grown seeking boys and girls attention instead of her books (SIC).”
But Howard Talenfeld, Caze’s attorney, denied that Caze watched her daughter commit suicide and posted abusive and taunting comments.
“She unequivocally denies she was online while Naika was alive,” Talenfeld said, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
— Miami Herald (@MiamiHerald) January 26, 2017
Mother allegedly taunts daughter Naika Venant during Facebook Live suicide, report says https://t.co/NlagE5flzw
— Nicole (@BarbieDMV) March 15, 2017
Naika reportedly suffered years of abuse from her mother, who rejected her although Naika sought her love.
Naika was born in Haiti when her mother, Gina Caze, was only 16. Caze returned to Florida immediately after her baby was born and Naika joined her when she was 18-months-old.
From 2009 to 2017, she spent a total of 28 months in 14 different foster homes. According to the FDCF report, she suffered maltreatment, including excessive use of corporal punishment. Poor parental handling caused serious behavioral issues for Naika.
The FDCF report admitted that foster officials handled Naika’s case poorly, focusing on treating symptoms rather than on addressing the underlying causes of her behavioral problems, identified as parental abuse. Efforts to address the problems were complicated by the refusal of her mother to cooperate with foster officials.
DCF handled several abuse cases involving Naika and her mother from early childhood. On one occasion when Naika was 5, Caze refused to take her to the hospital to treat a chronic health condition. She accused her 5-year-old daughter of malingering and threatened to send her back to Haiti.
A year later, in 2009, Caze flogged her 6-year-old severely with a belt, leaving visible marks on her body. Caze beat her daughter after she reportedly engaged in a sexual act at the home of a male babysitter.
Naika was taken into foster care after the incident in January 2009 and investigations revealed that Naika’s inappropriate sexual behavior was caused by having watched adult movies with her mother. She also used to share the same room with her mother’s sexual partners.
DCF officials returned Naika to her mother in June 2010.
Naika ran away from home in April 2014 out of fear that her mother would beat her for hurting her brother under her care. She was placed for a second time in foster care after Caze told foster care officials that she did not want her daughter back and threatened to beat her if she returned.
But officials returned Naika home two months later, despite objections by social workers. Finally, in April 2016, Caze took her daughter to the DCF and said she no longer wanted her.
While in foster care, Naika repeatedly expressed the desire to be reunited with her mother and told her carers that she missed her mother. And just before she committed suicide, she told her case manager that she was sad because her mother did not want her.
“In the days leading up to her death, Naika acknowledged that she was sad because her mother didn’t want her to come home; however, she still voiced future plans and goals for herself such as graduating from high school and going to college.”
“There is little we can say that adequately describes the sorrow we still feel today from the loss of Naika,” DCF Secretary Mike Carroll said in a statement following Naika’s death.
He acknowledged that DCF could have done better to prevent Naika’s death.
“This is a child who endured great trauma in her life and despite many service interventions, we were not able to put the pieces back together to prevent her from taking her own life in such a public forum.”
[Featured Image by Naypong/Shutterstock]