BALTIMORE — Four-year-old Malachi Lawson - whose body was found in a dumpster last week - was previously in foster care.
The little boy's body was found Saturday in that dumpster on Haddon Avenue in Northwest Baltimore, with severe burns.
His mother, Alicia Lawson, and her partner, Shatika Lawson, each face criminal charges in connection with his death.
At a vigil for Malachi Lawson on Tuesday night, a woman named Jil Jackson said that she had previously served as a foster parent, for Malachi Lawson.
“It's so hard to know you love somebody so much that's not even yours and you love them like they're yours and then you wake up to this. Same way that picture looked with them braids is the same way I braided his hair every single day,” Jackson said.
She said she wishes she could have done more to keep the little boy safe; in fact she said she wishes Child Protective Services had let her keep him.
"I said I was gonna shut my home down but after this there’s another child out there who needs me."
Jackson says the first picture released of Malachi Lawson reminded her of when she took care of the 4-year-old.
"He was one of the sweetest babies that I've fostered. He had a smile that I'll never see ever again. I loved him. That's all I can say. I loved him."
In a statement released to WMAR-2 News earlier this week, the Maryland Department of Human Services, which oversees Child Protective Services, would not confirm that Malachi Lawson had ever been in their care. The release read in part, “The death of every child is a tragedy, and Child Protective Services staff are working closely with our partners in local law enforcement to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of Malachi Lawson. The results of the investigation will be shared publicly by the appropriate agency when deemed permissible.”
Maryland's US Attorney Robert Hur and Baltimore City Police Commissioner Michael Harrison were at the vigil consoling the family. Hur tells WMAR-2 News his office is not involved in the investigation and that it is soley a Baltimore Police matter.
Alicia and Shatika Lawson remain in custody, each of them faces 11 criminal charges including manslaughter, child abuse, and neglect.
According to Baltimore City police, Alicia Lawson told them she did not seek treatment after the boy was severely burned – on July 23, nine days before his body was found - because she was concerned he would be taken away by Child Protective Services.