Wednesday, August 22, 2001

Donors help pay for girl's funeral

By William A. Weathers
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Takeya Bryant, whose mother could not afford to bury her, will have a funeral today with flowers, a limousine and burial plot at Vine Street Hill Cemetery.

        Libby Brown, owner and funeral director of Johnson-Brown Funeral Service in Bond Hill, made sure of it, soliciting donations of those items for 8-year-old Takeya, and providing her funeral services free of charge.

        “Basically, it's a nice thing to do for people that can't afford it,” Ms. Brown said. “You can't do it for everybody, but you do it when the need arises.”

        Ms. Brown empathizes with Takeya's mother, African Evans, over her loss.

        “Unfortunately, I'm a mother who lost a child,” she said. Her son, then 25, was killed in a shooting in Dayton, Ohio, in 1993.

        Donations are still needed to pay for the casket, some of the funeral program costs and labor at the grave site.

        Takeya, described as a happy, loving girl who enjoyed washing dishes and playing dress-up, died Aug. 15 after firefighters found her unresponsive and not breathing at her mother's Georgia Avenue apartment in Northside.

        The following day, police charged the girl's 13-year-old cousin and 11-year-old brother with murder — as juveniles — in her death. The 13-year-old, who had been baby-sitting Takeya and three siblings while their mother was at work, was also charged with three counts of rape.

        Funeral services for Takeya, who would have started the third grade this month, are 12:30 p.m. today at Olivet Baptist Church, 6838 Montgomery Road, in Silverton. Visitation is 10 a.m. to time of services at the church.

        The two boys charged in Takeya's death, who are in juvenile detention, will not be allowed to attend today's funeral. A juvenile court judge turned down the request Tuesday.

       Reporter Dan Horn contributed to this story.



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