INKSTER, Mich. (WJBK) - The siblings of a toddler who died after climbing into a hot tub of water in Inkster have been placed in foster families as the state says they are not safe with mom or dad. For these young children, this is unfortunately not the first time they've been taken away from their mother.
Leaving Detroit's Lincoln Hall of Juvenile Justice on Wednesday, Bruce Perfect, the father of 20-month-old Anthony Rumford, received a petition from the state that terminated his and their mother's parental rights of their three other children.
"What could I have done to help. I couldn't do anything. Now I got to go identify my kid," Perfect said. "She needs to face these things."
Inkster police say baby Anthony was found burned, face down in a tub Monday night. According to the petition, his mother, Angle Rumford, was doing laundry and asked her son to put Anthony in the bedroom. An hour later, her 13-year-old son says they were trying to revive him in the living room. But it was too late - Anthony later died at the hospital.
Rumford's friend, Virginia Taylor, said she would never have intentionally hurt her children.
"She was an excellent mom. I don't care what anyone says, she loved her children. She would never hurt them," Taylor said.
Anthony's step-sister, 18-year-old Ashley Luyben said she was overwhelmed when she learned about her baby brother's death.
"It's sad. It's a big mess. It's like a nightmare," Luyben said.
Luyben says Rumford and the children's father lost custody two years ago for neglect. She says she called protective services then when she learned Rumford was squatting in a home with no water and no power.
"It's sad. It's someone nobody wants to do. I didn't want to but you have to. You can't let kids live like that, it's not fair to them," Luyben said.
The three surviving children - 8, 9, and 13 years old - are all now in foster care after the state determined their father's home was unsuitable. The reason behind that was Perfect's history of alcohol and drug problems - with Perfect admitting to using cocaine when he learned of Anthony's death.
He vowed to FOX 2's Erika Erickson that he would do whatever it took to get his kids back.
"Oh I'm gonna fight. Just believe I'm going to fight 110% to the fullest of my abilities to do everything I can," Perfect said.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services will negotiate supervised visits and searches for permanent homes for the children. A pre-trial custody hearing is scheduled for next week.
Meanwhile, Luyben has set up a GoFundMe to help pay for Anthony's funeral. CLICK HERE if you want to donate.