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Inmate Begs Child Protective Services to Protect His Daughter, then She is Killed by the Mom’s Boyfriend

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Edward Mays was in the Dickson County Jail while his 18-month old baby daughter has died, allegedly at the hands of her mother’s boyfriend.  He sits there angry and frustrated at state officials, who, he says, he warned about the situation of his daughter.  But according to Mays, officials paid no heed to his warnings, and an innocent child is dead because of it.

Mays has been in jail since September on numerous charges including burglary, aggravated assault and failure to pay child support.  So, some might say that a non-support paying father hardly holds the moral high ground when speaking about his desire to protect his daughter.  At the same time, if there is reason for CPS to investigate, they should be on the job.

The 18-month old child, Somara Smith, died after being taken to the home of her great aunt by Edward Benesch, the boyfriend of the child’s mother, Jill Smith. Officials said Benesch dropped the girl off at her family’s home on Brookside Drive in Dickson just before 8 a.m. Thursday.

Benesch reportedly told the aunt that he fell on the baby and that something was wrong with her. Relatives said he then got in his car and sped off.   The child later tied, and then the boyfriend was taken into police custody shortly after and is charged with reckless homicide and child abuse.

Family members told NewsChannel 5 that Edward Benesch was watching Somara Mays while her mother, Jill Smith, was in jail.

According to Mays, he asked child services to take custody of his children weeks before the incident when his child died. “I can’t do nothing about anything right now,” said Mays. “I can’t go down there and pick out the flowers or her last little dress.”

Family members said he was concerned something like this could happen and he tried to get help. He was concerned his children were being abused and had been writing letters to the Department of Children’s Services from jail.

“Edward knew they were not in a good situation and he was writing children’s services. He called them twice,” said Somara’s aunt, Angie Manley.

DCS interim Commissioner Jim Henry said his agency is investigating and cooperating with police agencies.

Bruises were seen on the face of Somara last week by Nina Overton, Somara’s cousin. Overton said she took pictures but did not call authorities. She said the family had suspected abuse for weeks.

“I’m still in shock about it,” she said of Somara’s death. “It’s a sad situation because Jill Smith wasn’t taking care of these kids.”