Family prepares to bury slain toddler

Mother's boyfriend accused of murder in girl's death

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - As a 20-year-old man faced a judge on a charge of murder Thursday, the family of the 2-year-old girl he is accused of killing is getting ready to attend her funeral.

Brooklyn Sanchez died on Dec. 18, just four days after police say her mother's boyfriend, Devonte Baker, admitted to shoving her to the floor and didn't call for help.

Baker (booking photo, right) was initially arrested on a charge of aggravated child abuse.  When the Medical Examiner determined the toddler died of blunt-force head trauma and ruled it a homicide, the charge was upgraded to murder.

Brooklyn's grandfather, Roger Bergesch, said he was glad to see the charges changed and he hopes justice will be served.

"I want the courts to give him the maximum allowed by law," Bergesch said. "He has to live with this guilt for the rest of his life, just like we have to live with the sorrow for the rest of our lives."

Bergesch said Baker was watching the girl so her mother could work a part-time job to make extra money for Christmas.

Brooklyn's mother had known Baker for a year and they had lived together for six months without any trouble.

"I was not uncomfortable with her being there," Bergesch said. "I mean, we all had to work, you know."

Bergesch said Brooklyn loved Dora the Explorer and hanging out with grandpa.

"She's special, always full of joy, brought smiles every time she came around."

One thing that is helping the family deal with their grief is the fact that Brooklyn was an organ donor. Her heart went to save the life of a 1-year-old and other organs went to three other children.

The family is holding a wake Thursday night, with Brooklyn's funeral set for 11 a.m. Friday.

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