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Family still waiting for #JusticeForMalakai

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) — A candlelight memorial is being held to honor two-year-old Malakai Garrett killed one year ago.
The toddler’s grandmother can’t believe the boy’s mother and her boyfriend haven’t gone to trial yet in his death.
“I know I shouldn’t hate them, but I do,” Chante Harker says.
Harter is Malakai Garrett’s paternal grandmother.
The two-year-old died one year ago from severe internal injuries after being repeatedly beaten.
Mitch Vanryn was the live-in boyfriend of Malakai’s mother, Amber Garrett, and babysat the boy while Garrett worked every day.
Police say he beat Malakai to death.
Last November, Vanryn showed up at a fire station with Malakai in his arms because the boy wasn’t breathing.
Medics rushed Malakai to the hospital where doctors pronounced him dead.
A year later, the pain of losing her grandson is still fresh.
“I can’t believe somebody would do what Mitch did to a baby. I don’t know how anybody could do what they did to a baby. It’s sickening,” Harker says.
When police interviewed Vanryn, he told detectives he put the boy down for a nap and later found him unconscious.
But an autopsy showed extensive and severe bruising all over the boy’s body.
Malakai’s family recently held a fundraiser to be able to put a headstone at his grave.
It will be installed this spring.
But just like that has been delayed, so have the trials for Amber Garrett and Mitch Vanryn.
That frustrates Harter.
“Everything keeps getting pushed back and pushed back and there’s still really no justice for Malakai yet,” she says.
“Justice for Malakai” became a rallying cry in the community with chalk drawn on the courthouse sidewalks and social media campaigns.
Mitch Vanryn is charged with murder, and is scheduled to stand trial in March.
The judge ruled because of all the pre-trial publicity, a jury from outside Allen County will be brought in for Amber Garrett’s trial on charges of neglect of a dependent in June.

Corinne Rose

Corinne Rose is a reporter for WPTA.

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