An Elkhart County mother will have to wait even longer to see the man charged with abusing her daughter brought to justice.
Tyler Beathea appeared in a court today for a pretrial conference, but no decisions were made. Beathea's defense attorney simply asked for more time to review the case. Meanwhile, the family of the 3-year-old victim says the whole situation has forced them all to be strong for her.
Her mother and grandmother are both disappointed to see the court proceeding pushed back, but they say all they can do now is wait for justice to be served.
"You couldn't even look at her without crying, but you couldn't cry because if you cried than Aleah would know – it would make her feel worse," said Aleah's grandmother, Selina Gilbert.
Aleah was allegedly abused by her mother's then boyfriend, 19-year-old Tyler Beathea.
"When I heard her get up and call my name, I turned the light on and she came into the bathroom and her head was swollen," said the mother, Brook Jackson.
Jackson is Aleah's mother. She allowed Beathea to babysit the girl in December. When she came home, she knew something was wrong right away and took her to the hospital where she says the doctor confirmed the girl suffered head trauma and bruising to the arm and shoulder.
"Definetly a lot of anger, because he was somebody I did care about and I didn't think he'd ever do that to her,” said Jackson. “So also a lot of it is self-guilt for leaving her with him, but at the same time the feeling we had for each other, I never thought he'd hurt my child.”
Elkhart police arrested Beathea and charged him with battery and child neglect. In court documents, he said he got angry with Aleah after she wet the bed, pulled her up from the bed by her hair and hit her four or five times in the head with an open hand. He also admitted to striking her with a belt on a previous occasion.
"Of course I believe he needs to be in jail for what he's done,” said Jackson. “I know he's in jail, but I don't feel he served nearly [enough]. I don't feel he'll ever serve enough…because to do this to a 3-year-old child – you know what you're doing, you know it's wrong.”
Aleah is almost completely healed physically, but her family says the emotional scars are much deeper.
"We'll never get back that time, she'll never get back that Christmas, she'll never get back the things she lost at that time in her life including her home, her trust for people,” said Gilbert. “You can't give that back to a child when it's taken away. You can built up their confidence again, but you'll never get that back.”
The pre-trial conference was rescheduled. It'll take place in about a month or so. Beathea is currently behind bars at the Elkhart County Jail. Beathea's defense attorney says he hasn't had time to talk with his client and had no comment.