A former NFL player accused of murdering his girlfriend’s 5-year-old daughter allegedly forced the girl to work out because he thought she was “chunky.”
Cierre Wood — a former Notre Dame running back who had short stints with five NFL teams — has been charged with murder in the April 9 death of La’Rayah Davis.
Wood was initially arrested along with his girlfriend, La’Rayah’s mother, Amy Taylor, on charges of child abuse and neglect after the girl was checked into a Las Vegas hospital unresponsive, with her legs, torso and abdomen covered in bruises.
When La’Rayah died, Wood was charged with her murder.
Police allege Wood would make the child “run sprints in the apartment, do sit-ups and wall squats,” according to the arrest report. He allegedly told police he was “trying to get her on the right path due to her being chunky.”
On the day of her death, Taylor told police she was grocery shopping while Wood was with La’Rayah. Wood said the girl fell backwards while doing sit-ups and hit her head on the carpet, according to the station.
An autopsy conducted by the Clark County Coroner revealed the extent of the alleged abuse.
La’Rayah had fractured ribs, “multiple skull contusions,” and a large liver laceration believed to be “the probable cause of her demise,” WMUR and KSNV reports.
Wood played for Notre Dame from 2009-2012 and entered the 2013 draft but was not picked up; he later signed as a free agent with the Houston Texans, for whom he played in only three games and carried the ball a total of 9 yards.
He subsequently signed with the New England Patriots, Baltimore Ravens, Seattle Seahawks and Buffalo Bills — primarily as a practice squad player — and capped his NFL career with two game-day appearances for Buffalo, notching a reception and rushing twice for three yards before a season ending injury in 2015, reports 247Sports.com.
According to Las Vegas TV station KLAS, Wood currently is a free agent in the Canadian football league.
Taylor, 25, faces one charge of child abuse and neglect. Police allege that she would sit on her daughter’s chest as a form of punishment, KSNV reports.
On Thursday, La’Rayah’s father attended Wood’s court hearing.
“She had so many people she touched and she was only 5,” Danuan Davis said, KSNV reports. “That’s the most tragic thing. I can’t call her. I just talked to her that Monday before. Dad, I’ll see you in two weeks. The next day I get a call that she’s gone.”
A GoFundMe page has been launched to help Davis with funeral expenses.
Wood’s attorney, Thomas Ericsson, and Taylor’s public defender, Sarah Hawkins, could not be reached for comment Wednesday. They have not entered pleas.
If you suspect child abuse, call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child or 1-800-422-4453, or go to www.childhelp.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.