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Vigil Held For Child Found Dead Inside Hole

FLORIDA CITY (CBSMiami) -- A memorial is growing on the side of the road near a ditch where a child was found barely alive over the weekend.   Doctors could not save her.

As her family grapples with their loss, they await the autopsy to know exactly what happened.

It's still not clear how the little girl died.  The medical examiner has not stated a cause of death.

Flowers, teddy bears and candles could be seen at the memorial Monday night for Mariah Johnson.  Family members said she was almost two-years-old.

"The last time is when they found her, and I went there and they were doing CPR," said the child's mother Shanika Robinson.

Robinson said she's cried all weekend.

"I cried my heart out thinking about all the happy moments and her smile, that was my only baby girl."

Relatives said Mariah was being watched by her mother's boyfriend, Willie Nelson, Saturday when she went missing.

CBS4 reporter Brian Andrews asked, "What did he tell you about what happened?"

"I don't want to handle that.  It's not going to bring my baby back," replied Robinson.

"Do you believe something sinister happened here?" asked Andrews.  "I don't know.  I'm just lost," Robinson said.

Police are investigating the circumstances of how Mariah ended up in the ditch. No arrests have been made or charges filed.
At a Monday night vigil, Mariah's biological father, Poncho "Willie" Johnson, spoke to Andrews over the phone from the Metro West Jail where he's serving time for a probation violation. He said, "I love my daughter man, I wish she could back but not even a Cadillac could bring her back."

Andrews asked, "So many people are wondering how this tragedy could have happened?"  Johnson replied, "My daughter, just don't wander off man.  She don't just wander off like that."

"When the autopsy comes out. The truth will come out, it will!" said Robinson.

The mother's boyfriend, Willie Nelson, could not be reached by CBS4 Monday night for his side of the story.


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