FREDERICK, Md. (WUSA9) -- The abuse and recent murder of a toddler in Frederick, Maryland has propelled a group of local mothers to take action.
The women are all foster parents and outraged at the death of 21-month-old Anayah Williams, allegedly at the hands of her biological parents. They believe if not for a flawed state law, the little girl would still be alive.
The biological parents of little Anayah Williams posted a video on youtube in a successful campaign to bring their little girl home. Only in retrospect is it chilling.
"This is a child who couldn't communicate, this is a child who couldn't escape," said Cindi Webb, a foster parent.
Anayah was 21 months old when she was returned to Frankie and Stephanie Williams. Three weeks later, she was dead.
"We don't want to see this happen to any other foster children again," said foster parent Karen Kwasny.
The state returned Anayah to her biological parents, even though she had been severely abused when she was just two months old. Investigators, unable to determine who was responsible, never charged her parents.
"It should have never happened. It should have never happened. We knew as prosecutors that either the mother or the father caused a skull fracture of this child when she was two months old. So for a reunification to occur… it just should have never happened," said Charlie Smith, the Frederick County State's Attorney.
But it did, because state law requires abuse to be 'chronic,' or an ongoing pattern, to prevent reunification.
"It makes absolutely no sense to take a child with a fractured skull and a fractured rib and put her back into a home to now have "chronic" abuse. Well, now we have a deceased child," said Webb.
Before her death, Anayah spent 18 months of her short life with foster parents who had hoped to adopt her.
"They are just wonderful people and gave that child everything," said Kwasny.
"She was doing great. She loved her family. She was happy," said foster parent Cathy Sipocz.
With thriving foster children of their own, many of whom they have since adopted, these women are not going to let Anayah's death be in vain.
"Anayah did not need to die. But, because she did die, we have to act that much more aggressively to get these laws changed, so that no other child ever has to go through that again," said Susan Lindauere, a foster parent.
Added Sipocz says, "Our voice isn't always heard. But it's going to be now."
Anayah's parents have both been charged with child abuse; Frankie Williams, for allegedly inflicting the fatal injuries, and his wife, Stephanie, for failing to protect her child and get help. She allegedly waited six hours before calling 911.
Meantime, the Maryland Department of Human Resources has launched an internal review to see if the very agency in charge of protecting children somehow failed this little girl.