Crime & Courts

911 calls warned of ‘a dangerous environment’ at Zaiden’s home before he died

911 calls included warnings about Zaiden’s life

Listen to the 911 calls that included warnings about Zaiden Javonovich's well being and safety.
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Listen to the 911 calls that included warnings about Zaiden Javonovich's well being and safety.

In 2-year-old Zaiden Javonovich’s short life, someone called 911 about what was going on at his home at least 22 times.

The last time, on the night of April 11, Wichita police found his body facedown and bound in his crib. The arms of his pajamas were tied in a knot near his throat, and he was tightly swaddled in a blanket. He and his 4-month-old brother, who was also in the mobile home, were severely underweight, according to a probable cause affidavit unsealed Thursday.

Zaiden weighed just under 15 pounds. His baby brother weighed 8 pounds.

They also showed signs of physical abuse. Zaiden had cuts on his face consistent with someone pushing his head down into something. His baby brother had broken ribs and a bruised head.

It’s unclear how long the boys had been suffering. As recently as Nov. 28, a social worker for the Kansas Department for Children and Families saw them in their home and reported that they appeared healthy. On Dec. 12, a DCF worker made a follow-up visit and completed a safety plan with the children’s mother. DCF closed its case on Jan. 14 without a finding of abuse or neglect.

The single-wide trailer where police found Zaiden’s body, in the 4500 block of South Hydraulic, was a new home for the young family. For most of his life, Zaiden lived in a small house in Oakview in the 4900 block of South Jade.

Someone called 911 at least 20 times about what was going on there.

The 911 calls open a window into Zaiden’s life, one filled with shouting, fighting, domestic violence and mental instability. They show that authorities knew for most of his life how bad things were inside his home.

But they also show he had someone who was concerned about his safety, who tried to get authorities to intervene: his grandmother.

Some of the calls are short, with just the sound of a woman crying in the background. Others are 20 minutes long and seek help for Zaiden and his baby brother, who was taken to the hospital in critical condition the night Zaiden’s body was found.

Most of the calls, which The Eagle obtained through an open records request, came from Zaiden’s parents, Brandi Marchant, 22, and Patrick Javonovich, 28.

A typical call: Brandi has a knife at her throat and is threatening to kill herself. Patrick is throwing clothes outside and threatening to set them on fire.

Children can be heard in the background of some of the calls. Besides Zaiden and his brother, court records show Brandi has two older sons and Patrick has an older daughter.

In one call, it sounds like things get physical. A woman cries out for help for more than 30 seconds before a man tells her to “get up off of the floor.”

The parents have been charged with first-degree murder and child abuse in their son’s death. They’re also charged with abuse related to his baby brother.

‘A dangerous environment’

On the Thursday night police found Zaiden’s body, his parents were in the middle of a fight.

Brandi and Patrick gave conflicting answers to police about why they were fighting outside while their children were inside.

Brandi said she placed Zaiden facedown in his crib Wednesday evening. She didn’t go to bed until 6 a.m. Thursday, slept all day, didn’t get up to check on the children and didn’t know her child was dead.

She was mad at Patrick for letting her sleep the entire day, and that’s what started the argument, she told investigators.

Patrick told investigators she was upset about the baby crying.

Most 911 calls at Zaiden’s house were about arguments between his parents, but when he was 11 months old, things got violent.

On Feb. 12, 2018, Brandi called 911 to report she had just hit her son. She also reported that Patrick had put a blanket over her head and was holding her down on the bed when she kicked him off.

“My boyfriend tried to touch me, and I pushed him off of me, and I made him hit his head on the wall,” Brandi says in the 911 call. “And I smacked my son earlier in the face.”

“When we’re fighting he’s really abusive,” she says of Patrick later in the call.

Patrick had left with Zaiden. Brandi stayed with at least one other child, who can be heard in the background of the call, asking if she’s OK.

The 911 operator stays on the phone with Brandi until officers arrive. After that, it’s unclear what happened.

Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office responded to the call, but there’s no report for that incident, based on The Eagle’s request for reports made at that address.

Donna Lloyd, Patrick’s mother and Zaiden’s grandmother, complained about law enforcement inaction in a call to 911 a month later, March 22, 2018.

“One time she pushed him (Patrick) and knocked his head into the wall. And then she slapped my 11-month-old grandbaby. You guys came out and didn’t do a damn thing about it.

“And that baby was over here for two days with her fingerprints on its face,” she says.

When a sheriff’s deputy went out to the house that night for a welfare check, no one came to the door. The deputy told Lloyd he couldn’t force his way into the house unless she had information that would lead him to believe someone inside was in danger.

The deputy filled out a report, and it appears nothing became of it.

Lloyd called 911 multiple times, but it’s unclear if any of her complaints made it to DCF or resulted in any action by the legal system.

On Jan. 27 of this year, in what ended up being her last 911 call before her grandson’s death, Lloyd warned about “a dangerous environment for those two babies” — Zaiden and his baby brother. She said she was frustrated that her son Patrick was staying in a toxic relationship with Brandi, who she said would threaten to kill herself and the baby when Patrick was at work.

Zaiden’s family said they have been advised by an attorney not to speak to news outlets.

‘Since the day he was born’

The cases in Oakview were handled by the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office.

More times than not, officers left Zaiden’s house without filling out a report. Only four of the 20 calls resulted in reports.

Lt. Tim Myers, spokesman for the sheriff’s office, said in an email that he doesn’t “consider that to be a lot of contact for the area that they resided.”

The Wichita Eagle obtained the four police reports through an open records request. Three of the reports were classified as miscellaneous. One, filed on March 6, 2018, was filed as a misdemeanor domestic battery, and the full details were not included because it’s a criminal investigation, according to a letter from the county.

Myers said none of the four cases “had to do with an allegation of child abuse or neglect.”

Law enforcement officers are mandated to report suspected child abuse or neglect to DCF under state law.

“There is no documentation that the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office contacted the Kansas Department of Children and Families,” he said in an email.

Myers was unavailable to answer additional questions Friday afternoon. He did not say why a report was not submitted or what it takes for the Sheriff’s Office to send a report to DCF.

DCF had two reports about Zaiden, according to the agency. Neither of those came from law enforcement, and both were closed without a finding of abuse or neglect. It’s not clear what DCF did to investigate since the agency has released only a summary.

That summary says that investigations into Zaiden’s well-being started when he was an infant.

The earliest report about him came in November 2017, when he was 8 months old. DCF investigated emotional abuse following an allegation that Brandi had made homicidal and suicidal statements in front of her children.

One of the older children reported that the homicidal statement by Brandi mentioned Zaiden, according to the DCF summary.

DCF found the allegation was unsubstantiated and closed the case.

A year later, DCF received a report about Zaiden’s baby brother when he tested positive for marijuana at birth.

“Field staff determined it could not be investigated as child/abuse [sic] neglect because medical officials did not indicate the child’s health was negatively impacted by marijuana usage,” the summary states.

DCF field staff closed the investigation into abuse or neglect and opened a Family In Need of Assessment Infant Positive for Substances case.

It’s clear from her calls to 911 that Lloyd wanted to get her son and her grandchildren away from Brandi, and she wanted Brandi to get help.

“He’s lived with this since the day he was born,” Lloyd told a 911 operator a year before Zaiden’s death.

“She needs some kind of psychotic help,” Lloyd said later in the call. “There’s something wrong with her, and this is not healthy for my grandbaby.”

In a Feb. 3 call to 911, an argument can be heard in the background. A man cusses at a woman, accusing her of cheating. It sounds like things get physical. The woman cries out for help for more than 30 seconds before the man tells her to “get up off of the floor.”

When an officer with the Sheriff’s Office showed up to that call, he found Brandi and Patrick outside of the house, according to a police report.

They had been fighting about money, they told the officer. There was nothing physical.

Brandi said she had bi-polar disorder and had not been on her medication for about four days because her state-issued insurance had lapsed, according to the report that was filed. Patrick also told the officer that her being without medication was a contributing factor to the argument.

The officer left them at the house. There’s no indication in the report that the officer checked on the children.

That was the last call out to that house. Two 911 calls led to the trailer that was Zaiden’s last home. In late March a passerby called on a woman who was on the ground with a man walking past her. Then a neighbor called in a domestic disturbance on April 11. That call brought police to Zaiden’s body.

The day before that final 911 call, Brandi sent Patrick a text message in the middle of the afternoon, complaining that she had just fed Zaiden and he was “still screaming,” according to the affidavit that explains the police’s reasoning for arresting the parents.

“I am losing it,” she said. “I need to stay somewhere. Zaiden just won’t stop. I can’t even watch (expletive) tv.”

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Chance Swaim won the Betty Gage Holland Award in 2018 for distinguished service to honor and protect the integrity of public dialogue on America’s college campuses. He has been a news reporter for The Wichita Eagle since 2018. You can contact him at 316-269-6752 and cswaim@wichitaeagle.com.
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