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Foster mom charged in death of Cedar Springs girl

A foster mother in Gaines Township has been charged in the murder of a 5-year-old Cedar Springs girl.

Joy Ann Heaven

According to the Kent County Sheriff’s Department, Joy Ann Heaven, 30, of Gaines Township, called 911 on Thursday, July 15 and reported that her 5-year-old foster child, Emily Meno, of Cedar Springs, was unresponsive. Emily was transported to Spectrum Butterworth and put on life support. She died two days later.

An autopsy determined that the cause of death was a sub-dural hematoma with bi-lateral retina hemorrhaging, and was ruled a homicide.

Heaven originally told investigators that she was with Emily the entire time day on July 15, and believed that she had a seizure. After the autopsy, she admitted to police that she was frustrated with Emily for wetting her pants and being in her way, and that at about 8 p.m. she shoved Emily really hard. She told them that Emily flew through the air with her feet off the ground and landed on her head in the kitchen. She was unconscious for several seconds, but she was able to get Emily to wake up and sent her to bed. Around 10 p.m., Emily got out of bed and threw up, and then fell to the ground unresponsive. Heaven tried to revive her and called 911 when Emily wouldn’t wake up.

Heaven was arraigned Wednesday on a felony murder charge in 63rd District Court with a bond set at $10,000 cash/surety.

Emily and her twin sister, Tiffany, were removed from their Cedar Springs home in February and put into foster care. Heaven reportedly worked with Bethany Christian Services.

Funeral services for Emily will be held today (Thursday) at 11 a.m. at Rockford Springs Community Church, 5815 14 Mile Road, Rockford, with Pastor David VanderMeer officiating. Emily is survived by her mother, Lori Meno of Cedar Springs, her father, Carl F. Meno of Sand Lake; her twin sister, Tiffany; her brother, Matthew Meno; and grandparents, Hendrik “Hank” and Geraldine “Gerri” Schriever of Cedar Springs, and Betty and Donald Meno of Sand Lake. She was preceded in death by her sister, April who was killed by a drunk driver on August 17, 2008.

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