Dad Fights for Custody of Daughters After Son Allegedly Killed by Ex-Wife's Lover

ArrestedThe death of a child is an unimaginable horror, but some instances are especially tragic. Take for instance the death of 23-month-old Ezekiel Dockery, who died of brutal injuries including bruises on his head and back, cuts on his lip, fractured ribs, contusions on his chest wall, brusies on both lungs, hemorrhaging around his heart, and a tear in the arch of his aorta.

His mom's boyfriend has been charged with second degree murder and manslaughter, and now his dad is fighting for custody of Ezekiel's sisters, his 4-year-old twin daughters.


Brian Dockery moved from Oklahoma to Alaska with his wife Tennille Downey and their three children over a year ago to be closer to her family, but they became estranged and he moved back to his home state last June without the kids.

Downey apparently took up with 40-year-old Jyzyk Sharpe, who watched the children while she worked. On March 21, police were called to her Wasilla home because Sharpe reported that the toddler had "slipped getting into the bath" and had stopped breathing.

Sharpe said that bruising on his chest and broken ribs were a result of attempted CPR, but a medical examiner compared the injuries to ones "she had seen inflicted on a pedestrian that had been struck by a vehicle," and were not consistent with a fall or CPR.

Investigator Daniel Bennett wrote in a criminal complaint, "At the hospital, I observed Jyzyk Sharpe stuttering and displaying involuntary body movements, and (he) was unable to articulate his thoughts."

Police found a smear of Ezekial's blood in the master bedroom, and white powder on a glass plate that tested positive for cocaine. The children's mother claimed that the drugs were hers, and that Sharpe would never hurt her children because he cared for them as his own.

Dockery is understandably now fighting for custody of his twin daughters Ava and Veloria, to have them moved back with him in Oklahoma. He said, "I think they've endured enough. I'm ready for them to come home. Their home is here with me and my family ... and I'm not going to stop until I get my girls."

It's hard to understand why he would leave his kids in the first place, but we don't know the surrounding circumstances, and besides, everybody makes mistakes. I'm hoping that he never would have left them had he had any idea their lives might be in danger.

The girls' aunt, Natasha Parks said, "Ezekiel was a beautiful, pure, innocent spirit ... we were robbed of his life. The suffering is unspeakable and we're utterly devastated ... it's too late for Ezekiel, but it's not too late for Ava and Veloria." She added, "We love them dearly, and we need justice for Ezekiel."

What a horrible situation for these little girls. Living far away from their dad, left in the care of an allegedly dangerous man, and with a mom who is either a self-admitted cocaine user, or cares so little for them that she's covering for someone else.

I don't know why Dockery opted to leave his kids in their mother's care, but it seems like it might be a good time to give him a chance to be a stand up dad.

Do you think Dockery's plea to get his daughters back is reasonable?


Image via Keith Allison/Flickr

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