ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Family and friends of Amarah Lane held a diaper bag giveaway to honor her memory on Friday, the day after what would have been the toddler’s fourth birthday.
“I just wish it never happened,” Amarah’s father, Brenten Woody, said at the event on Friday, Oct. 23.
Lane died in August of 2018 from injuries attributed to child abuse.
Her biological mother, Fantasia Lane, received a 23-year sentence for felony homicide, child abuse, and child endangerment.
Woody stood next to his mother, Sonya Woody, as she said a few words to a small crowd at Roanoke’s Redevelopment and Housing Authority.
Shortly after, diaper bags were given to mothers with young children who were in attendance.
“It’s a sad event, you know, but we wanted to give back to the community, you know, make it a better place,” Brenten Woody said.
The bags are symbolic for the father. He says he never got to buy these items for his daughter, due to complications with Fantasia Lane and Lynchburg’s Department of Social Services.
“When we tried to buy diapers, the brand wasn’t good enough or the size was wrong,” said Kenyatta Spencer, a close family friend of the Woody’s.
Spencer was with the Woody’s when Amarah died and Fantasia received her sentence later that year.
“What happened to Sonya and her son, Brenten, can happen to any family in this valley. I saw it,” Spencer said.
According to Spencer and Sonya Woody, Roanoke City Department of Social Services performed a home study, a screening of the home and life of prospective adoptive parents prior to allowing an adoption to take place, back in 2017, to provide Amarah a place to live, other than her mother’s.
Sonya Woody was cleared by Roanoke City DSS, but Lynchburg Department of Social Services denied permanent placement.
Over three years later, the family wants to know why.
The lawsuit claims Lynchburg Social Services, among other parties, intentionally concealed the conclusions by Roanoke City Social Services to mislead audiences into thinking the Woody’s were unfit to care for Amarah.
“We don’t know,” Spencer said. “That’s why we’re filing a lawsuit.”
Lynchburg Department of Social Services did not respond to WFXR’s request for comment.
“It takes one child to change the system, and we know that within our hearts this is that child,” Spencer said, hoping the lawsuit leads to some answers for the Woody family.
“She was my world; she meant the whole world to me,” Brenten Woody said. “You know, I just stay strong. That’s all you can ever do; it’s all a parent can do.”
The family says regardless of how long it takes, their goal is to get justice for Amarah.
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