PHOENIX — Kevin Maddox said his 9-year-old daughter, Aleyah McIntyre, never should have been with her mother.
Retta Cruse, Aleyah's mother, has been charged with murder after Aeyah and her 4-year-old sister Royal were found dead after Cruse allegedly overdosed them with a combination of prescription and over-the-counter drugs in early September.
But Maddox said he was given custody of Aleyah and wants to know why she was never returned to him in New Jersey.
“She took my baby's life from me," Maddox said. "From my family...from her sister.”
Maddox provided 12 News with paperwork showing a custody order was granted to him in October 2019. The order also said Aleyah was to be returned within 14 days. It's unclear what happened after that, but Aleyah was living with Cruse when she was killed.
"I wasn't trying to be mean or nothing, I just wanted my baby back," Maddox said. "That's all."
Maddox said he called Phoenix police to check on Aleyah in September 2020, almost a year after the custody order Maddox provided.
Phoenix police confirmed they went to Cruse's apartment, but didn't find anyone there.
A Phoenix police spokesman said that, unless a judge gives officers an emergency order, they typically do not intervene in custody cases.
Maddox said he believes that needs to change and wants to know why Aleyah was allowed to stay with Cruse for so long.
"I had big, big dreams for her," Maddox said. "And now she's never going to do any of that."
Cruse is charged with two counts of first degree murder. She's being held on a $2 million bond.
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