New details explain why Children Services first met Darnell Taylor

Legal custodian Pammy Maye indicted in boy’s recent death

New details obtained Tuesday by The Columbus Dispatch provide insight into why Franklin County Children Services got involved with a 5-year-old boy who police said later was suffocated by his legal custodian.

A Columbus police report shows officers took a then-2-year-old Darnell Taylor into emergency custody in March 2022 after a neighbor called 911 after noticing the boy was left outside unattended in a stroller.

The woman who ultimately became Darnell’s legal custodian, 48-year-old Pammy Maye, is now facing new charges in connection with the toddler’s death and the discovery of his body in a sewage drain.

A Franklin County grand jury handed up an indictment against Maye Tuesday, charging her with aggravated murder, abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence. Maye is next scheduled to appear in court on Friday afternoon for an arraignment. She is currently being held in the Franklin County jail in lieu of a $4 million bond.

New information provides insight into why Darnell was in Maye’s care

The neighbor called 911 around 9:30 p.m. March 25, 2022, after seeing a toddler strapped in a stroller outside a home on the 100 block of Buffalo Court, according to a report from Columbus police.

Historical weather data shows temperatures on that day were in the mid to high 40s during the evening.

The report redacted the relationship between a person who came outside when police got to the home, but, the report lists a person with the same name and age as Darnell’s biological mother.

The mother told police she left the 2-year-old outside “as a form of punishment for calling her a bad name” and said he had only been outside about five minutes, the report says. The neighbor told police the child had been outside for more than an hour unattended, police said.

Police took Darnell into emergency custody after his mother made concerning comments to the officers, police said. The mother underwent an evaluation at an area hospital.

Darnell was taken to Franklin County Children Services, according to the report.

While information about what happened to Darnell after initially being taken to Children Services has not been released, at some point between March 2022 and May 2023, Darnell’s paternal grandparents, Tawanda and Anthony Barnes, began taking care of him, according to what they told 10TV.

The paternal grandparents have declined to speak with The Dispatch.

In the interview with 10TV, Darnell’s paternal grandparents said they’ve known Maye and her husband for several years and the Mayes took custody of Darnell in May 2023. At some point after taking custody, the Mayes gained legal custodianship.

Darnell’s biological family had not seen the toddler since July, shortly after the Mayes gained legal custody. The Barnes family told 10TV Maye used to attend birthdays, cookouts and holidays but stopped answering their phone calls.

Maye, who along with her husband was the legal custodian of Darnell, was arrested on Feb. 15 near Cleveland, more than a day after an Amber Alert had been issued for the pair.

On the morning of Feb. 14, Maye’s husband called 911 to report his wife had made comments to him indicating that Darnell was no longer alive.

About an hour after the alert went out across the state, Maye’s vehicle was found in Brooklyn, a suburb of Cleveland. Maye was found in that same area the next night.

After police found Maye on Feb. 15, she told them where to find Darnell’s body — in a sewage drain on the 1000 block of Marsdale Avenue — police said.

Maye also told police she had suffocated Darnell at her Reeb Avenue home on Feb. 13, according to court records. An autopsy report from the Franklin County Coroner’s office is not yet available.

Maye had initially been charged with kidnapping and endangering children in addition to the murder charge. The indictment filed Tuesday does not include kidnapping or endangering children as charges.

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