Community searching for answers in unexpected death of South Bend 2-year-old

Published: Mar. 11, 2021 at 6:50 PM EST
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - Loved ones are searching for answers after the unexpected death of South Bend 2 year-old Haylee Shreve.

“It’s hard but she is just an angel to everybody. Like her smile, she can brighten anybody’s word,” Haylee’s cousin, Ashely Marie, says.

According to the St. Joseph County Prosecutor’s Office, Haylee was found dead 10 days ago inside a home in the 100 block of East Jennings Street in South Bend on March 1st.

Haylee’s mother spoke to 16 News Now off camera Thursday and says on the morning of Haylee’s death, she found her daughter in her bed face down, “ice cold”, and not breathing, before calling 911.

However, Marie says she was told a different story.

“I got the phone call that Haylee passed away. No one knew answers. I messaged Hannah (Haylee’s mother) myself and I said, ‘What happened to her?’ And she told me “Well, she had a seizure in her sleep and I think she suffocated on a teddy bear’ and that’s all I knew. And then, we were all just left for answers. I told her I didn’t believe her because of what happened before,” Marie says.

In 2018, Haylee was just three weeks old when she was severely abused by her father, Cody Balandzich, who is now behind bars. Haylee had suffered multiple fractures and bruises all over her body.

Marie, the first to discover the brutal beating while babysitting.

“When I went to take her clothing off, she had bruises from head to toe. She stopped breathing. I gave her C-P-R and I called 911 instantly. She was badly beat by her father at the time and DCS took the kids, and then decided to give them back for some odd reason,” Marie says.

Since then, Marie says Haylee never had fully recovered.

“Not fully, she was still having seizures still,” Marie says.

County Metro Homicide investigators say it will take weeks before the cause and manner of Haylee’s death will be determined.

“I hope that this toxicology report and justice is served and whoever did this to her,” Marie says.

Many people throughout the community are expected to come together in a march for Haylee called ‘Be Haylee’s Voice’ on Saturday, March 12.

The march begins at 3 p.m. outside the Child Abuse Protection Services building in South Bend located at 300 N Michigan St, South Bend, IN 46601.

A link to the event can be found by clicking here.

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