Aiyana Emily Gauvin
December 12, 2000 - March 16, 2005
Find A Grave Memorial

Christian and Cassandra Gauvin had been married only five months when Cassandra gave birth a beautiful baby girl who they named Aiyana Emily Gauvin. Cassandra had two other children from a previous relationship, Aiyana was her first child with Christian. It didn't take long for the couple to start having problems in their marriage.

In August of 2001, Christian would be accused of choking a 13 year old boy who was the son of Aiyana's baby sitter. Christian said that boy had been rude to Cassandra and he plead guilty to misdemeanor battery and received a sentence of one year probation. In January of that year, Christian and Cassandra separated and in December of 2002 their divorce became final and Cassandra was given custody of Aiyana who was two years old by that time.

Cassandra had trouble being a single parent and reports say that in April of 2003, her five year old son was able to get out of the home while Cassandra was sleeping, he was found walking in the street. Child Protective Services visited Cassandra in her home and each instance was entered into the case record as a substantiated case of neglect. After the complaints, Cassandra had child proof locks installed on her doors.

In May of that same year, Cassandra had contact with CPS again when she and her boyfriend went to the Division Of Family And Children and Aiyana was with them. Notes for that days visit say that Cassandra and her boyfriend both appeared to be under the influence of either drugs or alcohol. CPS was called and the Police decided that Cassandra and her boyfriend were both unable to drive and the decision was made that Aiyana would be taken to Cassandra's parents house, Bill and Patty Robinson. CPS showed up the next day at Cassandra's house and she was apparently still high or drunk. In the home, the investigators found 18 bottles of prescription medication, each had been prescribed by different doctors all within a short time frame of each other.

In six years, CPS had found that five complaints against Cassandra were substantiated instances of neglect of the children in the home. In May of 2003, Judge Loretta Rush decided that each of the three children in the home were in danger and classed them a CHINS - Children In Need Of Services. Each of the children in her life had a different father, two were involved in the lives of their children while the third was in prison. Judge Rush had to decide where the children would be placed and it was decided that the children would go to Cassandra's parents on a temporary basis due to health and financial troubles in their home. Christian was looking for a job, but he was suffering with depression, still he did act like he wanted to raise Aiyana.

In July of 2003, a Psychologist did an evaluation on Cassandra and said that there were no mental heath issue that would mean he could not care for his daughter, though he wanted him to continue with Psychotherapy. It was recommended that she have her medications monitored that she receive counseling to enable her to stabilize her life.  It was determined that she had not abused the medications which was the problem that caused her to lose custody of her children.

From July to October of 2003 Cassandra and Christian were both trying to prove they were the better parent to raise Aiyana. Christian found a  full time, temporary job and was granted unsupervised visits with Aiyana in his home. Christian's Court Appointed Special Advocate or CASA had only positive things to say about him and it seemed that Christian was making progress in his quest to become the custodial parent. Reports about Cassandra were just the opposite and mostly negative.

Karla Ross was the CASA for the children and on October 17, 2003, she was in court advocating for Christian saying he should be the parent to have custody of Aiyana as long as his home continued to be a safe and stable environment. It was said that Cassandra was not consistent in the way she behaved, missing counseling as well as out patient care for drug use:

"I do not believe the children should return to her any time soon"
Karla Ross

DFC eventually placed Cassandra's son with his grandparents while allowing the two girls to go with their biological fathers. On December 6, 2003 Aiyana was placed in the custody of her father and visits with her siblings was part of the court order. On March 10, 2004, Judge Don Johnson issued an order transferring legal custody from Cassandra to Christian and on that same day, he ended the DFC's wardship of Aiyana. Reports said that all three children were doing really well in their home:

"The three children are doing well in their current homes and at this time, I see no
reason to ever return custody to their mother"
Karla Ross

Sadly, Christian had moved to the home of Michelle Urbanus, who had two children of her own and that information was not present in the report made by Karla, which mean that the new home had not been visited or approved by the CASA. It came out that Christian had moved in November of 2004, that was at least a month before Christian was given custody of Aiyana giving DFC plenty of time to have investigated and make sure all was well in the home Christian had previously been living in. In Face, Susan Tielking who was the Communications Director for DCS said that the agency had not investigate the home of Michelle before or after the court date.

Even with the court order in place that Aiyana was to be visiting her siblings, after Christian moved in with Michelle, all communications and visits with her siblings and other family members was stopped, supposedly because Michelle wanted it that way. Bill Robinson got in touch with Karla Ross to inform her that he had not seen his granddaughter and wanted Karla's help. Karla said that there was nothing she could do because Aiyana was no longer a ward of the State. Bill hired a lawyer to fight for visitation rights, that case was never heard and Bill only saw Aiyana one time after Christian was granted custody, while Cassandra never saw her.

Stephen and Dwan Gebhar said that Christian and Aiyana had moved into the home of Michelle on February 13, 2004 and that at first, Aiyana seemed like a normal little girl who played and laughed and seemed to be happy. Aiyana began to change over the next few weeks and stopped playing with the other children and would stay close to Michelle at all times. A call come in to the Police in June of 2004 that said Aiyana had scratch marks on her face and the Police said they didn't see any signs of abuse, Sheriff Smokey Anderson said that there was no need to call CPS because the complaint seemed to be unfounded.

Dean Sliger is the biological father of Aiyana's sister and he had been trying to arrange a visit with the two siblings. Dean was successful in November of 2004 and Dean was able to take some pictures even though the visit was very short. Aiyana didn't look very well and she didn't seem to be happy at all and he noted that her left ear was extremely red. Dean got in touch with Cassandra and told her that he thought Aiyana's hair had been combed in such a way that it hid the fact that she was missing hair:

"I could tell that something wasn't right"

Cassandra contacted CPS twice that month. Later, the records would be released and there was no reference to the calls that Cassandra had made, nor were there any references to calls that neighbors had made to try to get help for Aiyana. Mentioned in the record was a February 2005 call from Cassandra reporting abuse, the complaint was not investigated though a note was made by a case manager saying:

"Inappropriate discipline does not meet legal sufficiency for the CPS to investigate"

Stephen and Dwan had heard the Christian and Michelle arguing just days before Aiyana died. On March 16 they saw Police cars at the home and Stephen and Dwan wondered what had happened:

"He said - I wonder if he killed her or she killed him. We never dreamed it was
one of those babies"

Dwan Gebhart

On March 16, 2005, Aiyana Emily Gauvin's life came to an end. After what Police say was a year and half of abuse from Christian and Michelle where she was tied up, beaten, gagged and made to sleep on the plywood floor in their garage that had no source of heat. Christian said that Aiyana began to misbehave in the Summer of 2004, acting defiantly, being disrespectful and she would not stop licking scabs that were on her feet adding that she began pulling out her hair, urinating on herself and in her bed, falling down and refusing to eat anything but condiments out of the fridge at night while everyone was asleep.

Christian and Michelle began to discipline Aiyana by tying her up and putting duct tape over her mouth. Aiyana was often tied to a baby gate in the home or zip tied into her booster seat. Michelle admitted to hitting Aiyana quite often with either her hand or a broken, wooden cutting board and she said she bit her once when Aiyana had bitten her first. Michelle said there were times she left Aiyana alone with Christian knowing that he was unable to handler her. When she was forced to sleep in the garage, the temperature would often be ten or 15 degrees colder than the house would have been. Aiyana's bedroom door was tied shut so that on the nights she was allowed to sleep there, she could not get out while the rest of the family slept.

The bed in Aiyana's room had no sheets, blankets or pillows and when she wasn't sleeping there, she was tied to her booster chair or on tied to a small plastic tray in the corner of the room and forced to sleep that way. Christian and Michelle was so sick in the head that they even took pictures of Aiyana while she was tied up and then they made her look at the pictures where in one picture, she was tied to her bed, her diaper was full and overflowing and she was laying in her own feces. One picture showed Aiyana tied to the baby gate and in the picture, she is being forced to look at other pictures of the torture she was going through.

On March 15, Michelle tied Aiyana to her booster seat and tied her hands behind her and then she left the house. Christian had beaten Aiyana that night because he was fed up with her. When Michelle got home, Aiyana was still sitting in the booster seat and Michelle tried to feed her, Aiyana was unable to eat and she ended up vomiting. Michelle got so angry that she put duct tape on Aiyana's mouth and while she was still tied to the booster seat, Michelle put Aiyana in her bedroom to go to sleep.

On March 16, Police and Firefighters were called to the home with a report of a child choking. Upon entering the home, first responders found Aiyana was not breathing, she was cold to the touch and she had no pulse. Aiyana had red marks, and bruising on her face, arms, chest and legs. Michelle said she found Aiyana unresponsive on the floor of her bedroom. The Coroner said that when she saw Aiyana, it was clear that she was already dead.

An autopsy was done and it was said that Aiyana had died from acute subdural hematoma that had been caused by either shaking or blunt force injury to her head and that the abuse had taken place within 24 hours of her death. Aiyana's body was covered in bruises and scratches and they were in various stages of healing. It was determined that Aiyana had been hit in the head at least five times while someone had hit her body no less then 24 times and marks were found on her wrists that showed she had been tied up. Along with everything else she had been forced to go through, Aiyana was found to be malnourished and dehydrated.

In June of 2005, Officer Tammy Lynch went to Michelle's cell after a report came that said Michelle had tried to commit suicide. Michelle apparently told Tammy that she was tired of everything and she wanted to tell the truth about what had happened to Aiyana:

"I killed the little b***h. The little b***h p****d me off and I killed her"

When Tammy asked her if she was saying that she had killed Aiyana, Michelle said:

"Yes, I kill the little b***h and she deserved it"

On September 15, 2006, Michelle plead guilty to murder, confinement and neglect of a dependent. During the trial, two aggravating circumstances were brought up; Aiyana was less than 12 years old and Michelle had tortured her while she was alive. The court also found three mitigating circumstances; Michelle had no substantial prior criminal history, Michelle had suffered from severe borderline personality disorder as a result of her tragic childhood and Michelle had raised two exemplary children.  Michelle was sentenced to life without parole for the murder of Aiyana and two 20 years sentences for confinement and neglect, she would serve the sentences concurrently.

In August of 2008, Michelle D. Gauvin was 36 years old when she filed for post conviction relief. The petition for relief said that Christian Gauvin, her husband, was charged with a lesser offense even though he had a prior conviction for child battery:

"Different charges for Christian, no criminal record for myself, Christian was also
on probation for this previous charge at the time of his case"

Michelle was given a public defender and a 30 day timer limit was given to the Prosecutor's Office to respond. Deputy Prosecutor Laura Zeman who had been involved in the case said that it was likely that the State would deny the request.

Michelle has asked that a review be done of her sentence claiming that life without parole was not an appropriate sentence. The Court Of Appeals said that Michelle's crimes were heinous and cruel and that she didn't even speak about what she had done to Aiyana when filing for post conviction relief, she had only referred to what happened as " terrible crimes". Michelle brought up the troubled childhood along with social and emotional issues then talked about how good of a parent she was before saying that she knew Aiyana needed medical attention and she had not done anything to help her.

The facts of the case, the way Michelle was treated during her last months of life, showed that MIchelle's case had been tried and sentenced appropriately. Michelle's request for post conviction relief was denied.

In October of 2006, the trial for Christian ended and the Jury was sent out to deliberate. On November 2, 2006, the Jury found Christian guilty of neglect of a dependent and on December 15, 2006 Christian was sentenced to 50 years in prison, the maximum allowed for what he was convicted of. Christian would later appeal the sentence.

In December of 2007, Christian's argument was that the trial court had made a mistake when the statements he had made about the death of Aiyana when he was interviewed, were admitted into evidence and heard in court. It was ruled that the court had done nothing wrong when allowing the interviews into evidence and Christians sentenced was upheld.

Aiyanan's head stone grave marker.

Aiyana's memory stone.

Thank you Cat for always being there for the children.

This page was created on December 30, 2014
Death occurred in the state of Indiana

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