A one-year-old named Leilani Dream Burley was found dead in a river in Los Angeles on Monday, December 5, 2022. Leilani's father, 22-year-old Jayveyon Burley was arrested and charged with the one-year-old's murder the next day on Tuesday.
Leilani Dream Burley was reported missing by her grandmother on Sunday at around 10:45 pm local time. According to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office, Jayveyon faces one count of murder and one count of assault on a child causing death.
Jayveyon Burley has been booked into the Inglewood police Department Jail. He made his first court appearance on Wednesday, December 7, 2022.
A GoFundMe page had been organized to raise an amount of about $30,000 to fund Leilani's funeral costs. About $11,000 has already been donated.
The young father did not bring 1-year-old Leilani Dream Burley back home
On December 4, 2022, Jayveyon Burley went to Long Beach to pick up his two children: 3-year-old Zayveyon Burley and Leilani Dream Burley.
The kids' grandmother discovered that Burley had brought home only one of his children. The concerned grandmother called 911 and reported Leilani Dream Burley missing from the 300 block of North Market Street, Inglewood.
The following day, police recovered the toddler's lifeless body from a river in Long Beach, LA. In a press release, Inglewood police said that over the course of the investigation, they were assisted by the Long Beach Police Department. They found the one-year-old's remains in the Los Angeles River below the Ocean Boulevard Bridge.
Leilani’s heartbroken mother Lynisha Hull said that the one-year-old was "full of life, beautiful and loved," and added:
“My baby always lights up the room with her big beautiful eyes.”
Hull also mentioned that she had last seen her 1-year-old daughter when Burley came to pick the kids up. She said that Leilani and her older brother Zayveyon shared a very special bond.
Hull stated that Burley forgot to put Leilani Dream Burley in her car seat while picking up the kids from her house. She reportedly strapped the baby into the seat herself, and mentioned that Burley drove off “erratically.” According to the mother, Burley stopped and started the car several times.
She spoke about her 3-year-old son Zayveyon and said that he keeps asking about his sister Leilani Dream Burley. According to Hull, Burley was angry but she never thought that he would kill their daughter. Burley reportedly never had a record of violence with his kids and was in fact an overprotective father.
The distraught mother said:
“They told me they found my baby in the river, that her father dropped her over the bridge in Long Beach. All I can imagine right now: was she screaming? Was she afraid? Was she saying ‘dada?’ Did he do something with his bare hands before he dropped her in the river?”
Police have confirmed that the kids were at their mother’s house in Long Beach, and Jayveyon had gone to pick them up and bring them to Inglewood. They are yet to confirm the child's cause of death or if she was dead before she was thrown in the river.
Cops pressed charges of murder and assault of the child leading to death, on the father, and arrested him on Monday. His bail had been set at more than $200,000. Hull said that the 22-year-old father picks the children up from her house every Sunday night and brings them back on Wednesdays.
A GoFundMe page is put up to raise funds for funeral of Leilani
As mentioned earlier, the child's mother has initiated a GoFundMe to raise funds to arrange Leilani Dream Burley's funeral and memorial. She also organized a candlelight vigil on Wednesday to mourn the baby's unfortunate death. Over 100 people reportedly attended the vigil and showed support for the family.
Recalling the day Jayveyon picked the kids up from her Long Beach home, Lynisha said,
“He came to my home to pick up my kids. He was angry at the time but normal though. He was normal. He didn't look like he was panicking at the time at all.”
Hull added that the child was hugging her very tightly and didn't want to let her go. She noted that it felt like the child knew something was going to happen.
She also mentioned that Jayveyon did not tell her where her daughter Leilani Dream Burley was, even after she asked him multiple times. She did not know where the baby was until her remains were found in the water. Hull recalled Jayveyon asking her not to worry about Leilani, and that everything was going to be alright.
Authorities have confirmed that Burley is not a new face to law enforcement. Back in 2018, he was accused of allegedly robbing a food delivery driver at gunpoint along with two accomplices. The police at the time had said,
“Burley was found in possession of the weapon used in the commission of the crime, a black mask, and other evidence pertinent to the crime.”
After the first appearance in court, Jayveyon’s arraignment had been rescheduled to January. His family has refused to comment on the matter as of now.