Man saves toddler living alone with dead grandmother

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MARYVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) Memories can be tricky things. At 15-months-old, Brier most likely won't be able to remember the first year of her life.

But, for Anthony Waldo those memories couldn't be more clear. Waldo is dating Brier's mother.

"I'm basically like her godfather," he says. "Throughout her whole life, her short little fifteen months that she's been here, I've tried to help her out."

He never expected the time Brier needed him the most would be the one memory he wished he could forget.

"I got a phone call from Tracy saying something's wrong...something's very wrong," he says.

Brier had been staying with her grandmother while her mother, Tracy Ineichen is in jail. When Ineichen couldn't get a hold of her mother, she asked Waldo to check on them.

"Brier was in her crib and she stood up heard my voice and kind of reached out to me. I told Tracy, 'I see Brier' and she said 'Break that door down'," says Waldo.

When Waldo got inside, he says Brier was extremely malnourished and dehydrated. He says Brier couldn't cry because she couldn't produce tears.

"When I grabbed her, she just couldn't hold her head up. She was just hugging on me and collapsed on me," he says.

It wasn't until Waldo checked the bathroom that he learned what had happened. He found Brier's grandmother, Annette Ineichen dead on the floor. Police say Ineichen could have been dead for several days, with the toddler all alone in the home.

Waldo says it's a memory he won't soon forget. He can only hope the opposite for his goddaughter: that the good memories outweigh the bad.

"We are going to try to keep Annette in her memories and do things that Annette did with her. That way she won't forget who Annette is," says Waldo.

Waldo is hoping that Brier can be placed in either his or a family member's custody.

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Maryville Police Chief Tony Crisp says a toddler survived as many as seven days alone after her grandmother died.

According to the incident report, Anthony Waldo called 911 on Saturday after finding Annette Ineichen dead inside a home on Shane Drive and the 15-month old child inside.

Waldo told police that the child's mother, Tracy Ineichen, had not heard from Annetter Ineichen for several days and could not get in touch with her.

Tracy Ineichen is currently in jail and had asked her mother to taken care of the child.

Waldo went to the home after not being able to reach the child's grandmother. When he got there, he saw the toddler in the grandmother's bedroom. He knocked on the door, and the child rose with her arms out crying for attention, the police report said.

Officers said the child's lips were swollen and she smelled of urine.

Police Chief Tony Crisp said Annette Ineichen likely died of a medical issue.

"Any time you see a child whether it's been neglected, abused or just not being properly cared for you're certain your heart pour out to that child," Crisp said.

The 15-month old was taken to East Tennessee Children's Hospital and treated for severe dehydration and lack of food.
DCS is trying to determine what's next for the girl.

"Part of the tragedy is as her neighbor, we didn't know. We didn't know and we could have been right there and we could have helped," said neighbor Jaimie McMahon.

She said she wasn't aware anything was wrong, especially since the front door was open and the family often keeps to themselves.

"I know that Ineichen and Tracy were very proud of that little girl.... Just the other day they were out taking pictures of her in her little Minnie Mouse costume. So she was loved," McMahon said.

She's just thankful the little girl survived.

"My 6-year-old said God didn't want one of his beautiful creations to die," McMahon said.