It was an emotional time in court for Lia Lee. She said her now ex-boyfriend stared right at her and looked sad and remorseful. However, she still does not know why this man snapped and allegedly took her 17-month-old daughter Genesis Xiong's life.
"I saw him as somebody I could trust," she said.Leb Mike Meak, 35, was arrested on suspicion of homicide on Thursday and charged Friday with second-degree murder.
Police were called to a home on the 2500 block of Barclay Street on report of a baby not breathing late Thursday morning. Responders were led to a basement bedroom where she was found unresponsive and she was pronounced dead at the scene. Paramedics and police noticed a number of bruises on her body and face. Meak is not the child's biological father and he did not live with Lee.
"You know, she trusted him, and so did I. She loved him," Lee said.
During interviews, Meak said he was caring for his girlfriend's daughter at the Maplewood residence and that he "roughed her up a bit" while changing her diaper, while also admitting to shaking her a few times. Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Crime Scene investigators located evidence that he had sexually abused her as well.
"When we were together as a couple, it never got to a point where it got physical," Lee said.
That's why the single mom trusted Meak so many times to care for Genesis, and even her other young children while she worked more than 70 hours a week as a waitress in Farmington.
"I don't have any questions anymore for god, but the question I did have was why could he not cast the evil out and protect her?" she said.
Lee attended Meak's first court appearance on Tuesday, and says he stared right at her.
"That's all I saw in him was sad and regretful, but we won't know until it's all said and done," she said.
Her priority now is seeking justice for Genesis and never forgetting her youngest child.
"I want to remember her as the most beautiful happy baby, with the most beautiful smile," Lee said.How you can help