CLAY COUNTY, Fla.-- Such a big smile on such a little girl. Destiny Patterson had her whole life in front of her, but at just 16-months, she died. Now investigators believe they know why.
Destiny was the start of her mother's new beginning. That's why she got her name. Her mom was pregnant with her, still going to school and working full time, trying to start over.
She was a little girl who always had a smile on her face and a phone in her hand. "She was happy," said her mom.
At 16 months she was just learning her first words and getting ready to start potty training. She's dressed all in pink, and her mother says she was a good baby, but that all changed last Thursday when her mother got a phone call from her friend and boyfriend Torey Jenkins.
Destiny's mother doesn't want her identity known, but she wants everyone to hear her story. "I got phone call telling me she wasn't breathing right," said her mom.
She got home and her daughter wasn't breathing, but Jenkins hadn't called 911. "I asked why he didn't call 911 and he couldn't give me a definitive answer," said her mom.
She says Jenkins took them to a fire station and then drove off, leaving her in a panic. "He was just so calm. I wouldn't never though I'd get home to what I went home to."
Destiny died on Friday. Jenkins was nowhere to be found, but then he was arrested in Tennessee, Sunday for driving with a suspended license. He was questioned by Clay County Sheriff's investigators about Destiny's death. Now her mother just wants to know how this could've happened to the little girl in pink with an infectious smile. "What could a baby have done that would make you act like that," said her mom.
This wasn't the first time she'd left her daughter with Jenkins. She'd done her homework. She checked local websites to see if he had a criminal history and he didn't. She'd watched him with her daughter and there was nothing unusual, but now she's blaming herself for leaving Destiny with Jenkins.
Right now Clay County Sheriff's investigators only consider Jenkins a person of interest. He is in jail in Tennessee for driving on a suspended license. The autopsy on the girl's exact cause of death hasn't been released.