Uncle: 4-year-old girl’s ‘soul is crying out for justice’

Kharisma Richardson was found dead in her home on her birthday

An undated courtesy photo of Kharisma Richardson.


KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Police in Kalamazoo have ruled out natural causes in the death of a 4-year-old girl who died in her home Saturday. Now the focus is on determining what did cause her death.

“We know that it’s not natural causes,” Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety Capt. Vic Ledbetter told 24 Hour News 8 on Monday, though he wouldn’t elaborate on how investigators reached that conclusion. “We’re waiting on an autopsy to actually define what it was. … If anyone has any information, please call us.”

Police Monday identified the little girl as Kharisma Richardson. She turned 4 years old the day she died.

Kalamazoo police crime lab
The Kalamazoo police crime lab on scene at Kharisma’s house.

Ledbetter said officers who responded to the home Saturday unsuccessfully attempted to revive Kharisma, who was found unresponsive in a bedroom at the home in the 1100 block of Douglas Avenue.

The girl’s 25-year-old mother was arrested shortly after her daughter’s death on old charges unrelated to the death.

Balloons and trinkets form a small memorial for 4-year-old Kharisma Richardson.
Balloons and trinkets form a small memorial for Kharisma.

“Her soul is crying out for justice,” Jimmy Durden, Kharisma’s great uncle, said. “We don’t know much about the case right now and the more we find out, the better it would be.”

Police have been involved with domestic violence matters surrounding the family in the past, a source told 24 Hour News 8. Children’s Protective Services was contacted on more than one occasion. None of the domestic violence incidents involved injury to any children.

The other children who lived in the home are being cared for by other family members as their mother remained locked up.

An abuse-neglect case was opened Monday regarding the surviving children in light of Kharisma’s death. Information on what, if any, action the petitioner (likely CPS) requested of the court was not immediately available.

Police say final autopsy results will take time. Ledbetter said he wasn’t certain when the medical examiner’s office would reach a final determination.

Kharisma’s family says they hope answers come soon.

“I knew it was her birthday,” Durden said. “To think that someone would do that to a little kid and get away with it — I just can’t see it right now.”

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