Jah’niyah White / Family Photo
BY BRIAN SLODYSKO AND BECKY SCHLIKERMAN
A 2-year-old girl who died this weekend after she was left unattended by her grandfather at his South Side home was mauled to death during a dog attack, an autopsy determined.
The girl, identified by relatives as Jah’niyah White, died at Jackson Park Hospital Saturday afternoon after suffering a head injury at her maternal grandfather’s home in the 3300 block of the East 91st Street, authorities said.
An autopsy conducted Sunday found the girl had been neglected and died as a result of injuries suffered during the dog attack, an official at the Cook County medical examiner’s office said. Her death was ruled a homicide.
State child welfare officials are conducting their own investigation of the grandfather over allegations of abuse. A spokeswoman said the agency has had no prior contacts with the family. The grandfather has not been charged with a crime.
The girl’s father, John White, 21, said Jah’niyah didn’t live at the 91st Street address but was there while her mother was at work.
He said he was told the girl fell.
Gathered outside the hospital with family and friends, White said his daughter was a smart little girl.
“She talked a lot,” he said. “She liked to play. She knew all the ABCs.”
Erin Lewis, a woman who identified herself as a close friend of the little girl’s paternal grandmother, said the two used to take care of the precocious 2-year-old. But that changed when the paternal grandmother started a new job and wasn’t able to do so any more.
“Everybody is just really in pieces right now,” Lewis said.
Lewis said the family had already started Christmas shopping for the little girl and her siblings.
“They may as well cancel Christmas,” she said.
Police said Sunday they are conducting a death investigation, but have not ruled the child’s death a homicide.