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Man sought in toddler's death; mother is held

September 07, 2007|Jill Leovy | Times Staff Writer

The "discipline" started in February.

That's when authorities say Randy Trammel Woods, 27, moved in with his girlfriend, Marilyn Sison, 23, and began to hit her children.

It started with spankings but quickly progressed to blows with a belt and wooden cane, authorities said. Seven months later, Sison's daughter, Mariah, 2, died from so many injuries that investigators so far have not been able to pinpoint any particular one that caused her death, said Los Angeles County Sheriff's homicide Det. Q. Rodriguez. An official cause of death has been deferred pending more investigation, but Rodriguez said examiners reported that Mariah probably suffered "shock due to traumatic massive internal blood loss." That is, she had so many bruises that her body could no longer supply blood to all of them, he said.

Woods was charged with murder and child abuse in the Compton case. Sison, the mother, was arrested after calling police the morning of Aug. 27 to report that Mariah was not breathing. Sison also faces murder and child-abuse charges, prosecutors confirmed.

Before Mariah's death, there was no record of social workers or police having been notified of the abuse, Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez said Sison referred to the abuse the children suffered as "discipline." Rodriguez alleged that it started when Woods began hitting Sison's eldest child, a 3-year-old boy, with an open hand under the guise of potty training.

The hitting escalated, Rodriguez said. Investigators believe that both children were hit with a leather belt and other objects, including the cane. They were rarely allowed outdoors and stayed mostly in one room. Mariah had not been to a doctor, he said, adding that her teeth were in such poor condition that she probably had difficulty eating.

Her reluctance to eat might have been why, a few days before Mariah's death, the beatings became more severe, Rodriguez said. "Her little body was one big bruise," he said.

The girl was pronounced dead at the couple's Compton home in the 1100 block of East Bennett Street at 7:27 a.m. Aug. 27. Sison initially said her daughter's death was accidental, Rodriguez said.

She is being held at Century Regional Detention Facility on $100,000 bail.

Woods was long gone by the time investigators arrived.

Sheriff's officials say police have documented his membership in the Rollin' 40s street gang.

Woods is Belizean and has ties to Texas, but officials believe that he is still in the Los Angeles or Long Beach areas. Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff's homicide bureau at (323) 890-5500.

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