Las Vegas, NV – A former National Football League (NFL) player has been arrested and held without bond in the murder of his girlfriend’s 5-year-old daughter.
Cierre Wood, 28, was a star running back for Notre Dame who went on to be signed by five different NFL teams in a three-year period.
Police said that Wood’s girlfriend’s five year old, La-Rayah Davis, was found unresponsive on Tuesday night at her mother’s Las Vegas apartment, WJHG reported.
La-Rayah was transported to the hospital where she later died.
Wood was arrested on Thursday and charged with the little girl’s murder, WJHG reported.
The arrest report said La-Rayah had suffered bruising to her torso, legs, and abdomen, KTRK reported.
Initially, Wood was charged with first-degree child abuse and neglect.
But prosecutors said that the autopsy of the child had revealed significantly more abuse, including a “large liver laceration,” WJHG reported.
La-Rayah’s mother, Amy Taylor, has also been charged with child abuse and neglect of her daughter.
The little girl’s father, Danaun Davis, was devastated by the news and openly showed his anguish at Wood’s arraignment, according to WJHG.
"Every time I picked her up the last few months, she was afraid to go home,” Danaun said. “She kept telling me something was wrong."
He said the warning signs had led him to seek custody of La-Rayah. He said he had wanted his daughter to live with him in California, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
“This is not right. It’s just not right,” Danaun said. “She kept telling me something was wrong… It’s just too much.”
La-Rayah’s grandmother, Laticia Davis, said her family did not know Wood.
“We want justice for our baby,” the grandmother told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “If we lose it in there, then we risk everything, risk the chance of him getting off, her mother getting off. This is not going to work. We want justice for La-Rayah. She was our world.”
The charges against Wood were upgraded to murder based on the findings of the Clark County Medical Examiner and Judge Ann Zimmerman ordered the former professional football player to be held without bail, WJHG reported.
The child’s mother posted a $5,000 bond and was released.
Wood played college football for Notre Dame from 2010 to 2012, and finished with 2,447 career rushing yards and 18 career touchdowns. But his college football career was plagued with disciplinary issues, the Associated Press reported.
Those problems followed Wood into the NFL, where he played just seven games in three years despite having been signed by the Houston Texans, the New England Patriots, the Baltimore Ravens, the Seattle Seahawks, and the Buffalo Bills.
He went on to play in the Canadian Football League but was released by the Montreal Alouettes in 2017, according to KTRK.