Antwainese Square, 39, had set out on a morning power walk in Dallas’s Mountain Creek neighborhood Saturday when she discovered Cash Gernon’s lifeless body on the street
The female passerby who discovered the body of four-year-old Cash Gernon in Dallas on Saturday, has recalled finding the boy lying in a pool of blood with ‘ants crawling all over his little bare feet’ shortly after he was kidnapped, stabbed to death, and dumped on the street.
Antwainese Square, 39, said she had been on a power walk around the city’s Mountain Creek neighborhood around 6:45am when she suddenly stumbled upon what she initially believed was the body of an animal.
‘At first I thought what I saw was a dog, but as I got closer I started noticing things, like a hand. And I just started screaming,’ Square told DailyMail.com.
Less than two hours earlier, police say Cash had been snatched from his bedroom in a nearby house by 18-year-old Darriynn Brown who allegedly stabbed the toddler to death with an ‘edged weapon.’
Brown, who was already wearing an ankle monitor from a prior offense, was arrested charged hours later with kidnapping and theft. He is expected to face additional charges pending the results of a forensic analysis.
Square, a mother of three, spoke of her anguish at finding the boy shortly after Cash’s caretaker broke down sobbing at the makeshift shrine where he was found.
Darriynn Brown, 18, (pictured left in his booking photo) is accused of snatching the boy from his room in the early hours of Saturday, stabbing him to death, and dumping his body. He is reportedly known to the family who was taking care of Cash, but it is unclear why he allegedly targeted him
Monica Sherrod (pictured in blue) who identified herself as Cash’s guardian, broke down in tears as she visited a makeshift memorial near where the toddler was found
‘I’ll never forget the ants crawling all over his little bare feet,’ she said.
‘I turned into the street and thought I saw a dog lying there. We have a lot of loose dogs around here.
‘I called my mom, because the only thing I could see at first was the hair. I said, “Mom, it’s weird, it’s not moving. So I started to walk slow and the closer I got I started noticing things.
‘I said, “Mom, I see a hand, I think I see a body. I think I actually see a body.” And I got close, and I said, “Mom, it’s a child. It is a child.” And I just started screaming.’
Square hung up and called 911. Paramedics did their best to calm her down and asked her to check for any signs of life.
‘They asked me to walk right up to the body in case the little boy was still alive. And if he was, for me to try to save his life,’ she said.
‘I saw ants crawling all over his bare feet and he had blood over his face. He had no shoes, no socks, no shirt, none of that.
‘He was only wearing a pair of bottoms, shorts. I just keep remembering those ants at the bottom of that baby’s feet.
Square told DailyMail.com she originally believed the boy’s body was a dog, until she noticed his ‘arm and leg’.
According to reports, Cash (pictured) and his twin brother Carter had been in the care of Monica Sherrod, the ex-girlfriend of his biological father whose whereabouts are unknown
‘He was on his back in the roadway. I remember one arm and one leg out. And the reason why I remember the arm and leg is because when I was walking up from afar, that was the determination of me knowing, OK this is a human. This is not a dog, this is a human being.
‘And when I noticed it was a kid I just freaked out. My initial thought was, one of these loose dogs has gotten to this baby because of the blood on his face. And then I thought, maybe somebody ran over him like a hit and run.’
Square, an educator, said she remembers setting off on her morning walk and activating the steps counter on her phone at exactly 6.40am. Five minutes later, she was confronted by the scene of horror.
She continued: ‘I stayed with him until the police came, there was no way in the world I was going to leave that baby on his own.
‘Whether he was dead or alive, I just wasn’t going to leave him. My fear was somebody was going to accidentally run over him.
‘In fact there was an SUV coming out of the driveway near where he was and I stopped it. Because I wanted the driver to see what had happened, I didn’t want anybody running over him.
‘I was like standing guard on him. I just wanted to help him, to do what I could do to help him get the peace that he needed. Even though I knew that he was dead.’
Square, who has daughters aged three and 12, plus a 17-year-old son, went on: ‘I ultimately realized Cash was deceased when I saw the ants on his feet.
Brown, who was wearing an ankle monitor stemming from a prior charge for evading arrest in late April, was not known to Cash
Investigators roped off the crime scene on Saturday morning before Brown’s arrest
Cops are seen on the 7500 block of Saddleridge Road where Cash’s body was found
‘At first it was the mouth, open. I was like, is he sleeping? Even though I saw the blood on his face you don’t want to believe that this child is gone. But when I saw ants, in my mind it was like he’s gone. I’ll never forget that.’
‘I’ve thought, why him? Why couldn’t I have seen this earlier? The feeling I have is why did I have to come after the fact. Why couldn’t I have maybe helped him? It’s traumatizing. As a mother I was particularly anguished.
‘Today I had to leave work. I had a trigger, I saw a woman walking with her son and her son looked like about the age of that little boy. I realized, you know, I might need help.’
Earlier, Monica Sherrod – who was looking after Cash and his twin brother Carter when he was kidnapped – broke down in uncontrollable sobs while visiting the place he was found for the first time.
Sherrod is the ex-girlfriend of Cash’s unnamed father, who she says left the children in her care after he vanished in March.
She told Dailymail.com: ‘We were all asleep when it happened. Cash usually wakes me up but he didn’t wake me.
‘When I got up I noticed he was gone. I called 911. I didn’t even know somebody had taken him.
‘I thought he might have gone outside. That was until I watched my surveillance camera, which showed someone taking him out.’
A police report reveals Sherrod called 911 at 11am. The footage reveals Cash was taken at 5am.
Sherrod said: ‘I know Darrilyn. He is the brother of a friend of my other older sons.’
She arrived at the makeshift shrine with her mother, Lezlee Pinkerton, an unidentified man, and her two teenage boys.
Surveillance camera footage from the home shows Cash was kidnapped around 5am Saturday
The group clung to each other sobbing at the scene after putting a large dinosaur toy belonging to Cash with other tributes that were already there.
‘This is the first time Monica and us have been to where Cash was found,’ the man, who was not named, told DailyMail.com.
‘Monica was talking care of the children, Cash, and his brother, by herself because their dad left them. He just left them behind. He was her former boyfriend.’
Police have not named Cash’s father. Meanwhile, his biological mother, Melinda Seagroves was reported to have ‘been conducting an extensive search for her sons for an extended amount of time,’ police said.
She and Carter have since been reunited and are in Houston.
Brown was alleged to be in the surveillance footage from Sherrod’s home, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.
He was arrested at his home and remains in behind bars on kidnapping and burglary charges in lieu of $1.5million bail.
Brown had been wearing an ankle monitor from a prior charge for evading arrest in late April, the Dallas Morning News reported.
Assistant police chief Albert Martinez said: ‘We are shocked, we are very angry about what has happened to this small child.’