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Boy beaten to death was the subject of a dozen calls to L.A. County abuse hotline

July 24, 2009 |  4:59 pm

A 6-year-old boy whose battered body was found on the floor of a South Los Angeles home was the subject of about a dozen calls to L.A. County’s child abuse hotline alleging abuse or neglect, a county official briefed about the case told The Times on Friday.

Dae’von Bailey had injuries over his body that suggested blows or other trauma over an extended period of time, said Lt. Vincent Neglia of the LAPD’s Abused Child Unit. On Friday, neighbors on South 87th Place tried to make sense of what had happened to Dae’von, who they described as a sweet and well-behaved child.

Relatives alerted by a frantic call from the home showed up at the home to find Dae’von lying dead on the floor. LAPD investigators are searching for the boy’s stepfather as “a person of interest” in the case.

Marcas Fisher, 36, was gone by the time officers arrived at the scene. He was arrested last month in Compton for drunken driving. Neglia said that Fisher had “no history of violent crime,” but that he did have a history of committing property crimes.

The boy’s death comes at a time of increased public scrutiny over fatalities of children who previously came to the attention of child welfare officials.

 The Times reported that 14 children died last year after being evaluated by the county Department of Children and Family Services. Some of the deaths involved breakdowns in the county system — in which some agencies knew about potential abuse but dion’t share it with the proper authorities — that were raised with county supervisors for years but were never addressed.

In the wake of The Times’ reports, the Board of Supervisors last month voted on a new effort to make sure various agencies share information about possible child base.

The county source, who spoke on the condition of annoymity because he or she was not authorized to speak, said the dozen calls reporting abuse or neglect occured during various times in Dae’von’s life.

The source said that the county opened an investigation after each call. But it remained unclear Friday whether social workers concluded that abused occurred or whether the county had a active case file on Dae’von at the time of his death.

Neighbor Kevin Davis, 49, said Dae’von would stand ramrod straight, like a soldier, whenever Davis would come home. With his little sister standing by his side, the boy would wait expectantly for Davis to give them a playful military salute.

“Hey new neighbors!” Davis would say. Standing in the front yard of a South Los Angeles home they had moved to three months before, the children would respond with their own salute as they stood in the front yard of the home.

“He smiled when he would see me, man,” Davis said of the boy. “He would stop in his play, so he could stand and salute me. He was a sweet kid.”

The boy’s mother, Tylette Davis, 28, said Fisher had been with her when she was pregnant with Dae’von, but he wasn’t the boy’s biological father. She separated from him some time back.

-- Hector Becerra in South Los Angeles, Garrett Therolf at the L.A. County Hall of Administration and Richard Winton