Mother of girl killed in Miami Beach previously investigated by DCF

Skylar Hartley, 3, killed by mother's boyfriend, police say

By Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor, Alex Finnie - Reporter

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. - The mother of a 3-year-old girl who was killed last week in Miami Beach was previously investigated by the Florida Department of Children and Families, a DCF spokeswoman confirmed Tuesday.

According to the DCF report from August 2017, someone reported that Skylar Hartley's mother was using heroin.

DCF officials wrote in the report that Skylar's mother denied using heroin, but admitted to smoking marijuana three weeks prior.

She submitted to a drug test, which showed there was THC in her system, the report stated.

According to the DCF report, Skylar's home was clean and organized when an investigator saw it and there was food in the fridge and pantry. 

Employees at the day care Skylar attended told DCF officials that the mother always paid her tuition in a timely manner and was very attentive to her daughter.

Skylar told the DCF investigator that her mother took care of her, brushing her teeth and hair. She said she enjoyed going to the beach with her mother, the report stated.

The DCF investigation was soon closed with no signs of substance misuse. 

Now, a year later, the boyfriend of Skylar's mother is being held in jail without bond on accusations that he killed the little girl last week.

Police said Skylar was found unresponsive at her apartment Friday and later died.

"She was beautiful," Skylar's paternal grandmother, Janet Robinson, said. "She's the cutest little thing and she loved her daddy so much. She loved me so much, her papa bear and her other grandparents."

Robinson said she was heartbroken after learning from police that Dennys Llopiz, 27, murdered her grandchild.

Miami Beach police said Llopiz called 911 around 10:45 a.m. Friday, saying the child was unresponsive. 

He first claimed Skylar fell in the shower after soiling herself, but later said she fell and hit her head the day before during a fishing trip with her mother -- a trip Skylar's mother told investigators never happened. 

The medical examiner determined the child's cause of death was blunt-force trauma and that she showed extensive internal and external injuries.

"(She had) bruising to the front and back of the head, ribs, air sacks within the organs inside were all sustained hours prior to her death," Miami Beach police spokesman Ernesto Rodriguez said. 

Skylar's father, Jeffrey Hartley, said he was in shock and disbelief that his daughter is gone.

"She was amazing, dude," he said. "There are no words that can explain how great she was. It's unreal, she was the most happiest child I've ever seen. I loved her and she loved me."

Hartley told Local 10 News that he didn't have a legal custody agreement, but that he saw Skylar whenever her mother allowed it. 

"The tragic loss of Skylar is heartbreaking and our condolences are with her loved ones," DCF Secretary Mike Carroll said in a statement. "DCF has opened a child death investigation and will conduct a thorough review of the prior investigation which closed with no indicators. 

"The department will continue to work closely with the Miami-Beach Police Department during the course of their criminal investigation."

DCF officials said no other children live in the home where Skylar lived. 

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