Created: Sun, 16 Mar 2014 07:49:00 EST
Updated: Mon, 17 Mar 2014 10:38:41 EST
"I'm in total shock. I didn't even know the baby was dead," said Britten Mullis.
Mullis lives several hundred feet from the trailer where police found 3-year-old Zachary Smith dead on Friday night. She was good friends with the baby's father, David Smith and knew his girlfriend, Kaiko Smith, who are now both in jail on charges of child cruelty.
Mullis had seen bruises on Zachary leading her to believe he may have been abused. "Bruises, he had bruises," Mullis said.
Mullis had been a victim of child abuse herself. She decided not to report anything to the Department of Family and Child Services because she didn't think they'd be much help.
"Three months later and the bruises hadn't faded and that was when he wanted to call Social Services and I was like, well something's not right and I don't really have faith in the system."
Morris doesen't believe those brusises came from David, but from his girlfriend. She says Zack never accepted her. "The baby rejected her and she hated him for it. Like, told me she was starting to hate him and didn't even like him to be happy, not even for a moment, it like, just drove her crazy."
According to Zachary's grandparents, Zach's birth mother, Brandie Chick, hadn't seen Zachary in more then a year.
"She has asked over and over to see Zachary and had been denied visitation, which they were legally married so she still had rights to the baby. We just didn't know where David was," said Amanda Chick, Brandie's mother.
David, originally from Eastman had just moved back in town 3 months ago. He and his girlfriend Kaiko, from New York, who David met online had stayed quiet on their whereabouts. The parents of Zachary's birth mother now wishes those who may have known something had spoken sooner.
"I think all the rest of these comments that people are coming with now is a day too late," said Chick.
"I feel guilty. You know I could of done more than just pray and I didn't," said Mullis.