LANSING, Mich. — Christopher Pratt was only six years old when he died.
Prosecutors say he was taken out of his father's abusive home -- only to be killed by the aunt who was supposed to protect him.
"He was a happy kid every time I came around,” Christopher’s cousin Monnie Smith said. “He only knew how to show affection certain ways so every time I came over he would grab my face and pull at my face but he would be doing it happily."
When 6-year-old Christopher died in August of last year, his cousin Shannon Mejia said she believed it was because of a seizure he didn't wake up from.
"I didn't question it because he has seizures all the time,” Mejia said.
That is until she saw a post about the charges on Facebook, one count of first degree murder and two counts of first degree child abuse.
Assistant Prosecutor Mike Cheltenham said Christopher died from blunt force trauma and neglect.
"I was furious,” Mejia tearfully said. “I don't know how anybody could basically take an infant and stop feeding them. Stop changing them, putting their hands on an infant baby."
When Christopher's mom Angela died in 2017, he was placed with his father and then with his aunt, Jessica Bice.
She's accused of starving and beating the boy to death.
Smith and Mejia, who are sisters, say they were cut off from seeing Christopher once he was given to his father.
"We were no longer allowed to know anything that was going on,” Mejia said. “If he was doing well, how's school, you know, anything, invite him to birthday parties. They cut us all the way off because I'm sure we would've noticed that he was losing weight drastically."
Bice appeared in court Thursday with a public defender over video. The family watched in tears.
"We just want to see justice served and her put in jail for this,” Smith said. “He was a handicapped kid who didn't deserve this."
Bice is being held without bond. She's due back in court July 25th. That's when a judge will decide if there's enough evidence to send her to trial.
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