Police say Kayden Mancuso, 7, was suffocated to death with a plastic bag tied around her neck. Her father Jeffrey Mancuso is alleged to have murdered his daughter and then he killed himself, Philly.com reported.
Mancuso, 41, had a violent history and was reported to have been diagnosed with mental illness. Yet a judge ruled that the father was able to have visitation with his daughter even after Kayden’s mother Kathryn pleaded with the court to grant her sole custody based on Mancuso’s criminal history of assault and mental instability. A judge ruled against her.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Kayden, Just 7, Was Found Dead by Her Stepfather With a Plastic Bag Tied Tightly Around Her Neck
Her step-father Brian Sherlock and her grandfather, worried when the girl was not brought home after a court-approved visitation, broke into Mancuso’s Manayunk, Pennsylvania house and found Kayden and her father dead in a horrible filicide and suicide.
The family said it had reached out to police but got nowhere.
“Kayden’s step father found her with no help of the Philadelphia police department,” Jennifer Sherlock, Kayden’s aunt, said.
“…when they reached out to the police after she was never returned home, they were told that ‘she was probably just out with her father,’ and that they were unable to do anything without a warrant. Following their instincts, her step father and grandfather went back to the house of her biological father and found her lifeless body.”
2. Kayden’s Mother Kathryn Begged a Judge for Full Custody & Was Refused
Kayden lived with her mother Kathryn and her stepfather and step-sibs. Sherlock and Kathryn have been together since 2014 and photos on her Facebook page seem to indicate the couple were married in 2017.
In May, she asked a judge to give her full custody and not allow visitation as she showed evidence of Mancuso’s previous violence and instability.
Kathryn “…trusted that the law and the court system would work for her daughter’s best interests. However, the system failed and she was taken too soon,” the GoFundMe set up by Jennifer Sherlock, Brian’s sister, reads. Kathryn was “told to trust the process, but the door was slammed in her face time after time.”
Sherlock, a longtime Philly journalist and TV news host and personalty, goes on to say Mancuso had a “violent and storied history yet the courts still allowed for modified visitation.”
Mancuso was given every other weekend visitation; Saturday morning until Sunday late afternoon.
“Kayden was dropped off at her father’s house on Saturday, August 4 and never returned home,” Sherlock wrote.
It’s reported a judge deemed Kayden to be a “happy” kid so granted Mancuso weekend visits.
3. Mancuso Had a History of Violence, Anti-Social Behavior & Was Barred From His Daughter’s School
Simply stated, Sherlock said, “Kayden was murdered by her biological father.”
ABC 6 News in Philadelphia reported that Kathryn Sherlock was battling her former boyfriend over custody her her daughter when a “mental health evaluation ordered by a judge in the Bucks County Domestic Relations Court concluded that Jeff Mancuso suffered from a major depressive disorder,” it was reported. “…a man filled with hopelessness and suicidal tendencies and a long history of violence.”
It was reported that Mancuso bit off a man’s ear in a bar fight, pushed Kathryn off a chair when she was pregnant with Kayden, punched a family dog, and never displayed remorse and took responsibility for his actions, it was reported. Kathryn’s sister said “…the system failed us.”
Mancuso was diagnosed with “major depressive disorder, moderate with anxious disorder and identified narcissistic and antisocial personality traits. They said was suicidal and and experienced feelings of ‘hopelessness,'” it was reported
4. Kayden Was Described by Her Family as a ‘Vibrant, Outgoing, & Loving Child’ & Her Murder at the Hands of her Father Was Their Worst Fear
In her mothers’ Facebook post, Kayden smiles as she poses with her stepdad Brian and two siblings, one the newest addition to the family.
“Nothing can bring back this vibrant, outgoing, loving child,” Sherlock wrote.
She said that the little girl “excelled at every activity she was involved in.” She’d recently made the Pennsville U10 softball team as a 7-year-old, and excelled in soccer, gymnastics and basketball.
“She was taken too soon and will never have the chance to lead the life she was meant to live,” Sherlock wrote.
5. A GoFundMe Has Been Created to Help Pay Kayden’s Funeral Costs
In what can only be called adorable and now heart-shredding, Kathryn is seen posing with her mini-me in November of 2017.
In the GoFundMe crowd-sourced fundraiser, Sherlock wrote that the family needs “help for Kayden’s funeral expenses.”
“No mother should have to bury her 7-year old daughter under these circumstances. We are all in Kayden’s Korner. No child should be left with a parent who has such a storied and violent history. We need to keep Kayden in our memories and keep her spirit alive.”
The GoFundMe goal as of Tuesday morning, set at $25,000, was closing in on double that.