Grandmother: Girl’s life happy despite parents’ troubles

Montcalm County

IONIA, Mich. (WOOD) — The parents of the toddler who died Monday near Stanton lost custody of her more than a year ago following drug arrests. Her father is now listed as homeless and jobless and her mother is in jail.

Nevertheless, her grandmother said Vayda Kay-Michelle Vasquez’s short life was a happy one. 

Emergency personnel were called to a rural home on W. Stanton Road in Douglass Township, west of Stanton, around 5:30 a.m. Monday, finding the child unresponsive. They tried to save her but she died at the scene.

She would have celebrated her second birthday in about five weeks. 

Michigan State Police on W. Stanton Road near Dickerson Lake to investigate the suspicious death of a child. (March 2, 2020)

Vadya’s grandmother, Tonia Rose, who cared for the baby most of her life, said the death left a hole in her life.

“Just little things like that that that I’ll never hear again,” Rose told News 8 Tuesday at the Ionia County Jail, where she went to see her daughter.

Rose said the babysitter who was caring for Vayda at the time of her death was a longtime friend of the family. She said Vayda loved going to the babysitter’s house to play with other children when her grandmother was at work. 

“There’s no words for us,” Vayda’s father Christopher Sanchez told News 8 Monday. “She’s the only thing I had and I just never thought that this would happen.” 

Sanchez and Vayda’s mother Danielle Maybee were arrested for having heroin and fentanyl in the home where they were caring for her in August 2018, according to a Michigan Department of Health and Human Services report. Sanchez was allegedly so high he tried to feed the baby with an empty bottle, the report claims. 

The parents lost custody of the baby, who went to live with her grandmother. 

“She was where she needed to be,” Rose said. 

Maybee is now facing multiple drug-related charges in Ionia and Montcalm counties. 

She is serving a 90-day sentence in Ionia County after pleading guilty to meth charges on Jan. 28. 

She was allegedly found with several others, including a 16-year-old girl, at a drug house in Belding. She’s expected to be sentenced in April to nine more months behind bars after pleading no contest to contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

The death of her daughter while she is in jail has been devastating, Rose said. She believes Maybee will be out in time for the funeral.

“That’s already been arranged. She will definitely be there. She will also be singing at her daughter’s funeral,” Rose said. 

A Michigan State Police spokesperson said there should be preliminary autopsy results Wednesday, after which it will be decided of anyone will be charged. 

The grandmother is convinced foul play was involved in Vayda’s death and she wants justice to be served.

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