The father of a 4-year-old girl who allegedly suffered abuse at the hands of her mother and mother’s boyfriend that proved to be fatal is still in shock at the news of her death.
Kyle Horak said he’d last seen his daughter, Autumn Horak, at the end of January, but on Feb 28 she was found lifeless and covered in bruises inside of her Milwaukee home. She was pronounced dead on the scene, and her death has since been ruled a homicide by suffocation, according to reports.
“I don't know how any of this could happen,” Horak told InsideEdition.com. “She was so young. She cared about everybody and she was just the sweetest little girl.”
Authorities said when they found Autumn she was only wearing a diaper and had extensive bruises on her jaw, head, arm and sternum, as well as a burn and what authorities described as a “human bite mark" on her skin. Prosecutors are now claiming she was tortured over a period of months.
Autumn’s mother, Christina Collado, 21, and her boyfriend, Jerome Millen, 22, have both been charged in the case. Millen is charged with physical abuse of a child resulting in death, while Collado has been charged with chronic neglect of a child resulting in death.
Horak, 22, said Collado was keeping him from seeing Autumn and their one-year-old son, Grayson, before he received news of Autumn’s death. He said he’d met Millen in passing once or twice while picking up his children, but wasn’t sure how long the pair had been dating.
“Everyone knows that [Autumn] didn't deserve [that],” Horak said. “I would have fought her if I could have, if I would have been able to see them. Right now I'm still just trying to accept what has happened.”
After Collado and Millen’s arrest, cops said Collado told them before Autumn was killed, she witnessed Millen trying to forcibly get Autumn to go to sleep in an effort she described as “going too far.” She also told police she saw him slam the child’s head on the floor, according to the police report, and she allegedly acknowledged that she didn’t do anything to help the child.
When authorities questioned Millen and told him Autumn had died, he allegedly said “so my life is over,” and then proceeded to tell them that he had covered the 4-year-old’s mouth multiple times in an effort to get her to go to sleep, according to the complaint.
“If all the injuries caused (her) to die, it's my fault, my fault,” Millen allegedly said. “If she suffocated, that is my responsibility and I killed that child.'"
Horak said none of his family had any idea about the alleged abuse.
While he’s mourning the death of his daughter, he also hopes to get custody of his son, who is currently in Child Protective Services custody, he said.
“I'm going to do everything in my power to be able to get him back because he needs to be with family and family needs him as well,” Horak said.
The family also started a fundraiser to help with the expenses for Autumn's funeral. It has raised nearly $5,000.