Alayah-Rose Savarese

May 8, 2004 - June 15, 2012

Alayah Rose Savarese could not take care of herself in any way, she had Cerebral Palsy. Alayah relied on the adults in her life to take care of her every need, feeding, bathing and moving around, being 100% dependent on those who were supposed to take care of her, she was aware of anything that went on around her.

The adults on Alayah's life didn't take care of her, it wasn't because they were financially unable because Alayah had been awarded $2.1 million dollars in a medical malpractice lawsuit against the hospital where she had been born. Alayah's mother, Nicole Diggs, was a Cornel University graduate and at the time she was a Bronx special education teacher and Nicole's fiancé, Oscar Thomas, neglected her, didn't bath her or keep her clean and didn't feed her properly through the feeding tube in her stomach. There had been many reports to CPS about the abuse and neglect she was suffering.

In June of 2014, Nicole (Diggs) Thomas, who was 31 years old at the time and Oscar Thomas, who was 28 years old at the time, were arrested on charges of criminally negligent homicide and endangering the welfare of a child. The couple had married only three weeks after Alayah had died. Darryl Gibbs, who is a child abuse prevention advocate and had been fighting for justice for Alayah said:

"I hope the arrest and prosecution of Alayah's horrible caregivers sends a loud and clear
message to caregivers across Westchester to always put the care of their children as a
priority. The death of Alayah should as well, make major changes in the Department of
Social Services because Alayah should have been taken out of that house of horrors for
her own well being. I am overwhelmed with joy that the Westchester County District
Attorney and her staff have once again shown that they are relentless in the pursuit of
justice for innocent and defenseless children. Her mother and stepfather failed Alayah
miserably and sadly, Alayah was nothing more than a meal ticket for a life of riches
for them"

Nicole's lawyer, Harvey Loeb, entered a not guilty plea for her, in court. It took Thomas a week to surrender to Police, after Nicole was arrested. Oscar was left to care for Alayah that day and he said he had an appointment with his Probation Officer so he left a friend of his in charge of Alayah. It was reported that the friend had no idea how to take care of  her, didn't know how to feed her through her stomach tube and would have no idea at all if she was in trouble medically, the friend was also left in charge of 16 month old twins that belonged to Nicole and Thomas.

Oscar claimed that he had checked on Alayah at about 12:30 p.m. and she was doing okay but when he returned just a short time later, she was not breathing and she was unconscious. Paramedics and Police arrived at about 1:50 p.m. and found Alayah already dead, with a ruptured stomach and it was estimated that she had been dead for several hours. Oscar and two friends were tested for Marijuana and all three were positive and a Marijuana cigarette was found in the apartment. Oscar was on probation for DWI and attempted assault.

Alayah already had an active case with CPS due to at least six complaints saying she was dirty, underfed and along with school, she miss physical therapy appointments. The only complaint that was substantiated was the one about her missing school, it was learned just one week before she died that she had missed half of the school year and she had bruises.
It was also reported that at one point, the Officials at her school got permission to wash Alayah's hair and the water they used turned black. Nicole said that Alayah had not had a real bath in over two weeks, though she claimed to give her sponge baths every day.

The Caseworker made the suggestion to Nicole that she hire a home health aide or try to get other help but Nicole said:

"She did not want the government to try to recoup any money from the settlement"

The money was SUPPOSED to be there to help Alayah, that should have been a HUGE red flag to this Case Worker.
Anthony Savarese, Alayah's father and Nicole were supposed to be inheriting the money that had been given to Alayah. I hope that Nicole doesn't get any of it because she didn't use it for it was intended and now this beautiful Angel is dead, though reports say that she probably will get some of the money even if she is convicted.

It was also reported that between the ages of five and six, Alayah had dropped off of the growth chart, as was seen in her medical records. After she died, a Doctor who is a specialist in child abuse cases said that she would be classified as a "failure to thrive" child, which mean she was not getting enough calories which stopped her from growing properly.

Anthony said he was devastated when he learned about the circumstance behind Alayah's death:

"She was my strength. She could brighten up your day in a second. It doesn't matter what you're
going through, you  just had to look at that little girl. She would make the hardest, cold hearted
in the street into a sucker"

If this father was active in his daughter's life, why didn't he see what she was going through? Why didn't he see how dirty and underfed she was? How do you NOT see that your child is living a bad life? Sadly, the cold hearted people whose hearts were in the wrong place, were those trusted to care for this little Angel, they failed her and so did CPS!

Michael Rubin, Oscar's lawyer, did not ask for bail saying that he had to speak him to first. Oscar was held without bail and Nicole had already been released on $25,000. bond. Nicole was reassigned at work and not allowed to have contact with any children, why wasn't she fired? If she can't take care of her own child, she has no business being around ANY children in any capacity at all.

The couple's twin boys were being taken care of by family members, though it was reported that Nicole was supporting them financially.


 was born on May 8, 2004 and passed away on Monday, June 25, 2012.

 was a resident of Yonkers, New York at the time of her passing.

Visitation will be at Whalen & Ball Funeral Home on Saturday morning only from 11 am to 1 pm. A funeral service will follow at 1 pm in the funeral home. The final disposition is private. Whalen & Ball Funeral Home 168 Park Ave. Yonkers, N.Y. 10703 (914)965-5488

UPDATE: October 20, 2014

It was brought to my attention that in September of 2014, charges against Nicole and Oscar were dismissed, though it was said to be temporary. A Judge decided that the testimony against the two was inaccurate and that Detectives had been wrong when they suggested that a motive for the death of this little Angel was the money in her trust fun:

"The integrity of the grand jury was impaired so that the prejudice to the defendants may
have resulted"
Judge Barbara Zambelli

The Judge sited that though some of the members of the Grand Jury had made requests to see the video tapes of statements made by the couple, the Assistant District Attorney chose to have a Detective testify about what they had said on the tapes rather than allow them to be viewed by Grand Jury members. The Judge had seen the tapes and thought that the Detectives had given inaccurate statements about what was said on issues about how Alayah was taken care of and why she was kept home from school as well as if Miranda warnings had been given. Judge Zambelli also though that the Detective had given false information about what Nicole had said she intended to do with the money. The Detective said that Nicole told him they planned to buy a new house and a Mercedes Benz, which was, in his eyes, evidence that they had starved Alayah for the money:

"It suggested a motive for the crime despite the fact that the defendants are charged with
criminally negligent homicide as opposed to intentional homicide"
Judge Barbara Zambelli

Detectives were given the option of starting from the beginning with a new Grand Jury. It was reported that the DA would make a decision about if they would start over with the case, by October 21, 2014

Thank you goes out to Jen for sending me this update.

This page was created on June 20, 2014
Death occurred in the state of New York

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