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Family of man charged in toddler’s death was subject of abuse complaints

Updated October 8, 2020 - 5:14 pm

Child Protective Services was called five times to investigate the family of a toddler who died in a locked car Monday night, according to a newly released Department of Family Services report.

CPS investigated five allegations of possible abuse at the family homes of 21-month-old Sayah Deal between July 17, 2018, and June 16, 2020, according to the report. Each of the allegations was found unsubstantiated.

Sayah Deal’s mother, Mariah Coleman, said she and the father, Sidney Deal, had joint custody of the baby since her birth Dec. 19, 2018. The report does not specify which parent’s house was investigated in each of the alleged abuse calls.

In October 2018, Porcha Henderson, the mother of Deal’s two sons, filed a lawsuit in District Court requesting sole custody of the boys, who were 1 and 3 at the time. In her reasons, she cited domestic violence and CPS involvement. The lawsuit was filed one month after one of the five CPS reports alleging abuse.

Henderson requested Deal not be allowed to visit the boys, citing “harassment,” according to the lawsuit.

Deal, 27, was arrested Tuesday and charged with child abuse resulting in substantial bodily harm. He posted bail before he faced a judge Thursday.

He remained jailed during a brief hearing at which a defense attorney was appointed to his case, but he could be released from the Clark County Detention Center on $20,000 bail, which was set earlier this week.

Police said Sayah Deal was locked in a car outside 1719 H St. Officers were hailed around 3:30 p.m. Monday, but Sidney Deal rejected offers to break the window or call a tow truck or locksmith.

“This is a terrible, terrible tragedy that should have been avoided,” said Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson.

Outside Thursday’s court hearing, Deal’s family members declined to speak with reporters.

Coleman launched a GoFundMe page to help raise money for the girl’s funeral services, and had raised $1,120 as of Thursday afternoon.

“I am a single parent and getting my princess laid properly means the most to me,” she wrote on the site.

The attorney appointed to represent Deal, Robert Langford, who appeared telephonically for the hearing, said he had not spoken with Deal and could not provide any further information.

Deal’s brother told police that Deal called and asked for their mother’s insurance information after locking his keys in the car but said the air conditioning was still running, so the infant would be fine.

Deal’s girlfriend told police that she spent 23 minutes on hold with a locksmith but that Deal didn’t like the price the locksmith gave, so he denied the services.

After about an hour, officers smashed a window and took the child out, but her body was in “rigor mortis,” according to Deal’s arrest report.

Deal is expected back in court Dec. 3.

Contact David Ferrara at dferrara@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039. Follow @randompoker on Twitter. Review-Journal reporter Sabrina Schnur contributed to this report.