“I just kept hitting her”

Ciashia Lee, 29, and John Vang, 42, of St. Paul, Minnesota. [Image credit: Ramsey County Sheriff's Office]


Both parents have now been charged in connection with the January 10 death of 2-year-old Melody Vang.


Ciashia Lee, Melody's 29-year-old mother was arrested shortly after her body was found on the back porch of the family home wrapped in a blanket and a rug so that according to the father, 42-year-old John Vang, the other children would not see or smell it.


Officers responded to the residence at 2:30 am on January 10 and found Melody clothing in nothing but a diaper with large bruises on her face.  Rigor mortis had already begun to set in and she was pronounced dead at the scene.


In speaking with officers, Lee is said to have told them, "I just kept hitting her" after she had "lost her temper" with the girl.  Lee told the investigators that she remembered hitting Melody, but also told them that when she gets very angry she "hears voices."


Lee asserted that she alone hit Melody and that Vang had nothing to do with it, and explained that she learned to discipline this way from her own time in the foster system when she was between 12 and 17. As a result of her own time in the system, she has a dislike for protective services and does not trust them.


Vang stated that Melody had begun to wail at about 3 pm on Sunday waking their 11-month-old infant multiple times as she refused to calm down.  He described Melody as a "drama queen" that was "spoiled" and "stubborn."


Melody and her four siblings had only been returned to the custody of Vang and Lee during the summer of 2020 after they successfully completed treatment programs for chemical dependency and mental health evaluations.  Melody had spent most of her 2-years in the foster system as she was placed shortly after birth when methamphetamine was detected when she was born September 18, 2018.


Their landlord though, had seen reason for concern when he was in their home on Saturday to do some maintenance.  He had noticed bruising on Melody's face and taken pictures.  Once he was able to, he then contacted protective services.


Ramsey County Child Protection would not state whether they began to immediately investigate the report or not.


Melody's five siblings, including an 11-month-old infant that was born while she and her other siblings were still in foster care, have all been returned to protective custody.


During interviews, the children provided statements to investigators that indicated that physical abuse, at the hands of both parents, was not uncommon, and that Melody would often be kept in a hall closet for hours at end, and even forced to sleep there overnight.


They relayed that she would even secret food in her diaper so that she could have something to eat during the time she was placed in there.


Lee was charged with second-degree murder and remains in custody at the Ramsey County Jail in lieu of $1 million bail.


Last Thursday, February 18 Vang was charged via summons with child endangerment.  He does not appear to be in custody at this time and his court date is not known. If convicted, he faces the possibility of 5 years in prison and a fine of $10,000.



Leave a Reply