I-Team: Toddler’s death leaves grandma with questions, but CPS silent

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Shelby Mannino remembers her grandson J.J. as a happy and healthy baby.

“He was so bright, so loving, you know? You said, ‘Come give me a hug,’ and he would.  I just miss him,” she said.

J.J. died on Feb. 5.

Doctors and nurses say the toddler’s death is one of the worst cases of malnutrition they’ve seen. The I-Team broke the story in July, and now we’re learning more details about the final days of the boy’s life. The story is disturbing.

Investigators say the 2-year-old was starved, beaten from head to toe, and had methamphetamine in his system.

Shelby Mannino with J.J.

“I mean … it’s unfathomable,” Mannino said.

A medical examiner testified J.J. died from blunt force trauma, and neglect of care contributed to his death. J.J. didn’t suddenly pass away. He was abused and suffered and slowly died while living in his father and his girlfriend’s mobile home in North Las Vegas.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for 27-year-old Chad Newman and 36-year-old Haydee Razo. They’re charged with murder and child abuse.

They declined on-camera interviews with the I-Team, but grand jury transcripts reveal what they told North Las Vegas police.

Newman moved in with his girlfriend and her five kids around September of 2018. 

Razo said J.J. had “white boy complex.”

Chad Newman, left, and Haydee Razo.

In photos of Razo’s biological children, they appear to be well fed with no bruising.

J.J. didn’t get the same treatment. 

Newman blamed Razo. He said she mistreated and abused J.J. And after one incident, J.J. told him, “Dada J.J. go,” meaning the toddler wanted to leave. But Newman kept his son in that home.

He said he noticed a downward spiral in J.J.’s health in the two to three weeks before his death, but Newman never took him to the doctor.

“It’s just … it’s just sad,” Mannino said. “It’s sad that somebody could do this to this baby.”

Mannino is J.J.’s maternal grandmother. She says her daughter gave up her parental rights. “Growing up, Ally never really wanted to be a mom.”

But Mannino tried to stay in J.J’s life. She says she last saw him on Sept. 24 and after that, Newman wouldn’t respond to her and Razo wouldn’t let her see J.J.

She tells the I-Team she reached out to Child Protective Services for help.

According to documents, a referral was received on Jan. 30, and it was coded “information only.” That was one week before J.J. died.

It appears no one from CPS entered the home where they would have found J.J. suffering.

“I think they should have went out there and checked on him and demanded to see him,” Mannino said.

CPS will not comment on specific cases. It’s unclear whether any CPS employees were held accountable for failing to check on J.J.

The I-Team reached out to the Clark County Commission, which oversees CPS, about the story of J.J., but it appears CPS won’t even share case information with these officials, citing privacy laws.

In September, Commissioner Tick Segerblom proposed more oversight of CPS, but he was told there’s enough oversight.

To Mannino, it wasn’t enough though to save J.J.’s life.

“I’m afraid that J.J. had thought toward the end … like … you know, my grandma is not coming back for me.”

The I-Team reached out to CPS again before this story was published, and received a response late Monday. A spokesman said state law prohibits them for discussing specific individuals and cases, and we shouldn’t interpret that answer as a confirmation of any information.

CPS receives “thousands and thousands of calls that do not allege abuse or neglect of a child,” every year, the spokesman said. “We investigate all calls in which there is allegation of abuse/neglect related to a specific child.”

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