TEMPLE (February 19, 2014)
Cherella Lyles had her daughter’s dress draped over her shoulder as she talked about the death of her youngest child Wednesday.
Je'veah Mayes, 2, died at a local hospital after a pit bull mauled her late Monday morning in the backyard of her home on East Avenue M in Temple.
"My baby was the best child in the world," said Cherella Lyles, Je'veah's mother, who was in tears.
"It hurts so bad. She was my backbone."
Lyles said she left her daughter in the bedroom watching cartoons before the attack.
No one realized the toddler had slipped out of the house until it was too late.
"She snuck out the back door to play with the puppies," Lyles said.
"The mother of the puppies attacked my baby,” she said.
The family was watching the pit bull for a friend.
"I feel so bad because I should have closed the back door, but it was nice outside and I didn't think she was going to go out the back door," she said.
Balloons, flowers, and candles line the front gate of the home in Ja'veah's memory.
Funeral services for Je'veah are at 10 a.m. Saturday at St. James Episcopal Church in Temple.
Donation jars have been placed in stores in the Temple-Killeen area to help the family with funeral expenses.
Donations may also be sent to Ja'veah's grandmother, Delores Robertson, at 217 South 24th Street in Temple.
Temple police continue to investigate the attack.
The dog was confiscated, and placed in quarantine at the city's animal shelter.