Video games and toys on Christmas wish lists for boys who witnessed brother’s fatal beating

Local News

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Video games, Harry Potter and touchingly, a poster of Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Night,” are some of the things 9-year-old Elijah Ross’s older brothers included on their Christmas lists.

Since Elijah’s death early Dec. 18, after Fort Wayne police say he was beaten by his stepmother, Alesha “Hood” Miller, his brothers – Jaden, 14, and Xayvion, 11 – are under the care of their aunt, Jessica Goodpaster.

Neighbors covered the curbside memorial for Elijah Ross when the snow fell Tuesday. Elijah, 9, was beaten to death Dec. 18 and died early morning of Dec. 19.

The boys had a trying Christmas, which fell a week to the day after their brother’s death. Their mother, too, was charged in the killing.

To bring them some joy, the two wish lists were created through Amazon. Once a gift is purchased, it is automatically removed from the list so it’s not purchased in duplicate, Goodpaster said. Items will be mailed directly to the boys.

Jaden has more items related to decorating his bedroom, Goodpaster said in a Facebook message, and “Xayvion is all about toys. But NERF, Harry Potter (and) video games pretty much sums it up with a few other items.”

“The boys are doing great,” Goodpaster said, who has been with them every day. Services for Elijah are being planned for next week, she added.

Jaden’s Wish list
Xayvion’s Wish list

The two brothers witnessed the beating death of their younger brother that started Friday, Dec. 17 around 9 p.m. when their mother, Jenna Miller, and stepmother returned home from a Christmas party.

The women both said in a probable cause affidavit that they received a phone call that Elijah and another brother were fighting at their home at 824 Putnam St. on the city’s north side.

Jenna Miller said the beating started as soon as they returned to the home. In Alesha Miller’s version, Elijah walked upstairs by himself at 9 p.m. after one of the brothers shoved him into a bookcase.  Later, when Jenna Miller yelled that Elijah wasn’t breathing, Alesha said she started to administer CPR. Elijah vomited “brown stuff” and when she turned him on his side “more brown stuff came out,” Alesha said.

Alesha said she carried Elijah to their Jeep and continued CPR in the back seat while Jenna drove to the downtown Lutheran Hospital, court documents said.

Photo of Elijah Ross displayed at a memorial along Putnam Street.

Jenna Miller’s version concurred until Detective Scott Tegtmeyer interviewed her at Parkview Behavioral Health two days later. She told the detective that Alesha beat Elijah with a wooden paddle that was partially broken off.

Jenna said Alesha was holding Elijah down with her legs as she hit him multiple times, court documents said. When he went limp, they thought he was “playing dead.” As Alesha continued to beat him, Elijah was screaming “please stop.”

When he went limp downstairs, they put him in the shower, hoping to revive him. While they had him in the shower, Elijah squeezed his mother’s arm and said “mommy,” according to the probable cause affidavit written by homicide detective Aaron Johnson.

At the hospital, a valet parker carried him inside, reporting that the slight boy was “cold and limp and liver mortis and rigor mortis was starting to settle into his body,” court documents said.

Medical staff said Elijah had multiple bruises to the back of his arms and face. A small cut or laceration was found at the base of his penis. Bruises were also found on his lower back and buttocks and along his shoulders with abrasions.

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