Malaikye Thomas Payne

The following was written by Rachel Rodriguez on behalf of her grandchild Malaikye Thomas Payne.


March 29,2010, Malaikye Thomas Payne was born, I received the most blessed gift ever imaginable; my first grandson.

My son, Daniel, is his father. The day Malaikye entered our lives, all of our worlds changed. My son, being a first time father, was beaming from ear-to-ear from the warmth and love he had in holding his little boy in his arms. His heart is bound to Kye – in a love that only a father could know. I remember the day as if it were yesterday. I cried for what seemed like forever. How I so looked forward to spoiling that little one!

Any time throughout his life that I was blessed to hold my grandson, and spend time with him, has been priceless for me. What a feeling of being blessed beyond measure. To see my Malaikye laugh and smile; it moved my heart. To see how much he resembled my son was overwhelming and it brings me to tears just thinking of how fast my sons grew up.


After a year and a break up with the baby’s mom, my son was being kept away from his son – A pain many fathers experience in today’s world; A pain that we all felt to our core. The last time we saw Malakiye, he had turned one; what a reunion we had with him. He so loved his daddy. Our very last memory of him alive he was riding on a pony with his dad guiding and protecting him. Those are pictures we will always cherish. He was happy, playful, exited to play with the animals that were brought in for his party. He smashed the birthday cake and had it all over his face. I remember him feeding cake to his daddy and having the biggest smile on his face.

Seven months would pass and his absence would continue in our lives. Time and time, week after week, we would try to see our little one, but the barriers that separated us never ceased. We were in the process of fighting for visitation when tragedy struck our family.


August 15, 2011

We said “goodbye for now” to our little Malaikye Thomas Gray ( Choose to change to Gray for that’s my sons last name). Malaikye was a mere 17 months old – Gone way too soon – I cannot explain the pain I feel in my heart; there are just no words.

To stand at his crib-side and look at his lifeless little body was an experience one could never ever prepare to have happen. My hopes and dreams for him in that moment. He never learned to ride a bike, throw a baseball, go to kindergarten, or many other countless activities that he should’ve had the chance to experience. Jesse and I were at his side, after he passed, and I held his hand, Jesse his little foot – A moment of reflection and a slap of reality before us – our hands tied not a thing to change our situation. All we could do was continue to pray and hold steadfast to God’s Promises to us to never leave us nor forsake us. The last 10 months have been a true testament to those words.

As we experienced the death of our grandchild, we also grieve as we try to help Daniel cope with the loss of his son.

It is a sorrow that cuts to the core of one’s being. An upwelling of suffering that has brought frustration, helplessness and anger. It was the death of my child’s child, my grandchild. It’s unbearable because it is two-sided—bringing with it the pain of Malaikye’s death and the innate urge as a parent to protect my son from the pain of grief.

As we stood there I watched my Daniel deal with the loss of his little one with strength, dignity and integrity. Daniel was an incredible father; no one, no matter how cold-hearted they could be, could deny the fact that he was a devoted and loving father. We were denied time with our Malaikye for reasons God knows. Nonetheless we stood in the gap in prayer on Kye’s behalf. I missed so much of his life, but what I was allowed to share with him, I loved him to my fullest, unconditionally and spent many hours on my knees in prayer for his protection and prayer to break down the walls that were separating us from him.


Tonight I come to you, accepting of the fact that God has a reason for returning Malaikye to His Presence. And that brings me peace knowing that he is in the arms of such a loving Father. He is playing in the Gardens of Heaven, never to be hurt by the hands of those entrusted to care for him.

These days have been difficult for us knowing that this was no accident – this was intentional. Our precious Malaikye was murdered! What type of person could do such a horrifying thing to an innocent little boy? This trial, by far, has been the toughest I have ever experienced in life – It is the toughest because every ounce of my being wants to scream foul to the persons who were the last to see my Kye alive.

Going through the process of saying goodbye to him and knowing that people in the same room, who caused his horrific death, who turned the other cheek time and time again during his life, were sharing in the experience of the unplugging of the machines, just infuriated us. Nonetheless our powerful and merciful God controlled our rage and frustration that an arrest has not been made as of today. God knows our hearts and thoughts of pain. We cry out to Him for understanding. Maybe it is not for us to understand as of yet.


On March 12 the murderer of my grandson was finally arrested and today sits in the LA County Jail facing two charges which hold 25-to-life sentences for each charge. This young man is the boyfriend of the baby’s mom. Malalikye passed from blunt force trauma to the head. A repeated beating that lasted about 12 hours, we have been told. The baby’s mom continues to stand by her boyfriend through all this.

We are assured that in time God will reveal all that happened and all who turned a blind eye to his abuse will also be held accountable. The fact that after the murderer beat Malalikye, he took a picture of him and sent to the mom, is horrendous. But the fact that neither one called 911 till eight hours later is even more devastating!

Currently he is awaiting a preliminary trial and we wait anxiously for Justice to be served. We have come face to face with the murderer numerous times at which he comes out smiling and whispering “I Love You” to the baby’s mother. I am grateful my family has God in our lives because at times it’s much to bear and in a moment of insanity we could break. I am grateful that my son is who he is for this is a tough burden to bear.


On August 15, 2011 our little Malaikye was given over to the staff at USC medical for transplantation of his organs. He gave the ultimate gift of life to seven people ranging from ages three months to 65-years-old. How amazing is our powerful God. These families will not have to experience the agonizing pain of having to lay their child or loved one to rest as we will endure. I praise God that through this tragedy, He answered the prayers of these families for their children. We took the ultimate sacrifice in this ordeal. But when it is all said and done God will reveal, that’s a guarantee, in His time all will be revealed as to what truly happened the final hours of our little boogers life.


We will never forget our child nor should we. Sure, we would give anything to have our child back again, but that will not happen. It is up to us now to go forward and create a new normal, which we can do. We have the assurance that we will one day see him once again. Praise God.


On the day Malaikye was born, he alone cried and the world rejoiced. On the day he died, We all cried, yet we all rejoiced knowing that he would never suffer at the hands of those were entrusted to him to protect him.

We rest assured that he is being a little kid, running around, climbing, laughing, smiling, enjoying the life he is living in Paradise. Oh how I long to just have a small glimpse of him experiencing this. But until Christ calls me home, I will forever have a hole in my heart. I miss him already with every ounce of my being.


God give us the strength to patiently wait on you. Our faith remains stronger as ever. People have asked me how I can be so strong. I give all honor and glory to my heavenly Father. My heart is filled with gratitude for all those who have been fervently praying for us. My son remains strong. He’s an amazing young man and I am honored to call him son. We could have never done this alone. We know we are never alone. Thank you for those who have sent prayers, emails, phone calls, texts, donations and your encouragement. We are overwhelmed with gratitude.


Malaikye, I often wonder if you can hear me say goodnight to you every night when I lay my head on my pillow and hold your blanket. I see your smile when I close my eyes. I dream you back here with us. Holding you, kissing you, cuddling you, playing with you and taking pictures of you. Oh, how I wish I could take a picture of your life now that’s filled with Joy, Peace, Love and Security. Watch over us all little one.

I held a baby today and all I could think about was you. The little boy’s mom was struggling to get the little one in the shopping cart and he was screaming. She had her hands full with three kids. When the little one I held was in my arms, he stopped crying….but that’s when I began tearing up myself. The mom asked, “You’re so good with kids, you have any little ones?” I told her “Yes, my grandson is an Angel.” She chuckled and replied….”well, mine is a little devil.” She had no idea you literally are an Angel.

I miss you Baby, I miss you. Rest in Paradise our Precious Angel….. Mi Amor….Mi Vida..Mi Corazon….Por Vida.


52 responses to “Malaikye Thomas Payne

  1. Hi. I want to say I felt your pain while reading your story. I pray that God will continue to heal you and your son heart..
    My daughter Carmen passed from bacteria meningitis at the age of 17. I place a status on my Angel Wings site…thank you so much for liking my page and & your family will be in my prayers….let’s keep in touch, you can also find me on fb.
    God blessed.

    • Thank you for your Love and Support. I am so sorry for the loss of your daughter Carmen. Your website has brought me and many comfort in our grief journey. God will see us both through..for sure.

  2. they should bash and whip and cut this bastard up while he is alive and the mum is susposter protect their babies not let evil ones near them or hurt them , i am so sad in my heart for you ,never to see him grow up and have a full life ,at least i got to see my 2 boys grow before they were taken from me ,i know i will see them when it is my time to leave, and you will to but that is a long and painful wait, my heart breaks for you and your beautiful little man and hugs for dad

    • Thank you Shirley for your support. This has been a tough life trial for our family, but we have been consistent with the people we are….Followers of God first and foremost. We serve a Mighty and Just God who is capable of doing All things. God has His Hand on all of this and place our trust in Him to serve justice. We can never see him, in original form grow up, but through his organ recipients, we pray we might have that opportunity to see their lives be blessed by his ultimate gifts. I am so sorry for the loss of your two sons Shirley. I cannot even imagine the pain you live with. Know you are in my prayers and may God comfort your heart in time. You are definitely right, we WILL see our loved ones again. ((((HUGS)))))

  3. so sorry that an innocent child had 2 suffer like that. it just breaks my heart. i hope this lady never has anymore kids.

    • Thank you Lori for your support. I believe God intervened on Malaikye’s behalf. I have to admit, I didn’t understand why this had to happen to him. Such a loving, happy, priceless little bundle. God has revealed to us the life that he was enduring and that was hidden from our family. This is why I cannot and will not be quieted any longer. We pray all who turned a blind eye in his abuse be held accountable. We have a Just God who judge those according to their works. God Bless Lori.

  4. We love you and your family! You and your family are always in our prayers! May God continue to work wonders on your hearts and bring justice to your family!

  5. No words can explain fully the depth of our loss. Malaikye will be honored in our hearts forever. His body alive in the bodies of others, he remains even in the physical form, somewhat, still here. I was there the night he took his first breath. I helped to finger print his chubby feet, the day he took his last. So it seems, some things, are yet to be understood, and maybe only after we pass ourselves, will we know the real story, the why of it all. I’ll never forget the feeling of, how could this beautiful gorgeous healthy strong baby boys body, not have life. And that feeling of how wrong it was. In the lowest deepest darkest corners of my soul, I felt that feeling, how wrong this was. I prayed to God for forgiveness, for my mind had visions of animal type responses. Even I knew, even God was offended by this. Not that our baby was any more special than any other human being, but that he was, our baby, and Gods baby. There’s just another level of wrong that exists, when it comes to the taking of a babies life. Accidents and disease cause mountains of painful sorrow, when a child’s life is shortened, but when it’s intentional, and deliberate with extreme malice, there’s a unique level of rage to its response. In my own carnal existence I fall short by way of torturous mental reflections of “justice” and a proper response. And yet my God forgives me, and loves me still. I have yet to have the proper response, other than keeping my physical distance. I have yet to find a place of spiritual balance amidst my resentful existence. And maybe I’ve just resolved in apathy, the true manifestation and hope of jailhouse justice. I doubt that any life sentence, or multiples could administer the pain equal to that pain that this baby killer feels in his gut. I believe in the same moment he took our grandsons life, he relinquished his own, and in a moments stupidity and demonic sensation, his life and anything that would ever resemble “normalcy” was removed forever more. I will never understand what would be considered fare in the administering of justice in this regard, because nothing will bring our baby back. I’m convinced that our only proper response to all of this would be to walk hand in hand with our creator and the assurance that the “bigger scheme of things” makes sense to our all mighty. For now, in all my humanity, none of it makes sense. None of it justified. Nor ryme or reason. But I will take comfort knowing that God is in control, even when it feels to the contrary, God remains God. His justice will be our justice, because even through all of this, I chose to believe, nothing, absolutely nothing happens in Gods world by mistake. Even when a truckload of feelings scream foul, God remains in control. I walk in confidence that God will administer justice accordingly. But for a moment, I was his grandfather. Never will I be the same, since his passing. To walk with Christ like integrity, seems impossible, of my own finite intellect. I pray to my God that I remain the man he would have me be, even through all of this. My love for you my baby Malaikye remains constant and forever. Thank you for a God smile and eye contact that I will cherish forever. In your honor, we will seek the truth. For you, we will walk in Gods grace. Your facial expressions, that little old man you looked like, that hard face, that loving face, that sweet gentle smile. The numerous facial expressions that had our hearts over flowing with joy. Thank you for your presence, even as swift as it had been. Thank you for all you gave, and continue to give. Forever loving you, Grandpa Jesse.

    • Your powerful still today 4 years later. One sweet day we will see our Grandson Kye. I Love you Sweetheart for walking this journey alongside me…it hasn’t been easy. ((((Hugs))))

  6. I am a mother of 6 kids and I could never walk side by side with a man that had taken 1 of my precious babies away. Does the mother even have a heart and I think she should be on trial as well for turning a blind eye. My heart and prayers goes out to the family of this sweet little angel. I find it very inspiring that at your lowest point in life you put all your faith in God. Your family is a real inspiration to others out there that have experienced heartache like yours that justice will prevail if not only from our justice system but also our Fathers and that you have found peace in your heart knowing this….I’m sorry for your loss and may God be with you every step of the way.

    • Thanks Amanda. Sorry it took years to respond…I never go on here and today I got notified of a new comment.
      After a long 2 1\2 year Fight for Justice…Justice came in the form of 25yrs to Life for the person responsible in 2014. That part of this long painful journey is over. Today, I continue to tell Malaikye’s story, but today I choose to only focus on the Gifts of Life he gave.
      Our Faith definitely remains unshaken. God bless. 😉

  7. There are no words sufficient to comfort you in this terrible loss. I am so happy you have a deep faith, may God comfort you always until you are reunited with your little angel. We do not know why these things happen, and it is so hard to come to terms with death of a child of any age. All I can offer is my love and prayers and the knowledge that we are all supporting one another in this often too painful journey.
    All my love and prayers for you xxxxx

    • Thank you Susan for your response. It was definitely a long and painful journey but thankfully the court part of this journey ended in 2014 with a 25-Life sentence for the person responsible. Grateful the Justice was served! God bless.

  8. Thinking of baby Malaikye a precious angel, his daddy, his grama and grandpa today. May the strength of God carry all of you through this tragedy and hold you close to your baby in spirit. I am holding you very much in my heart.
    Patti May (Adam’s mom)

    • God bless you Patti. God saw us through this journey every step of the way for sure! Justice came in 2014 for Malaikye and our family. We serve a Powerful God for sure. 😉

  9. I am speechless but my heart hurts so deeply for you. There is nothing i can do or say to make this better but please know i will pray for your family. Hoping justice will be served an more… from Indiana may god bless you all:)

    • Thank you Holly for your prayers. Justice was served in 2014.
      The person responsible is serving 25years to Life. God bless.

  10. The strength and courage you have is amazing my god bless Ur family … I shared your story with friends and family on facebook … I am so sorry for your loss .. I know how if feels me and my family in a year’s time have lost my step dad my dad my grandpa my hubbys step dad and uncle then my step brother its hard but only god knows why ….

    • Thank you for your comment and for sharing Malaikye’s story. I am so sorry for your losses Rachel. Compound grief is difficult to endure for sure. God bless you.

  11. Wow this is very sad. I would never understand how someone can hurt a child this is horrible.. I would have be dead to let anybody to beat my kids!!! I hope justice is served for Malaikye he was a cute little boy. God bless you and give you the strenght to go through all the process.

    • Thank you Cindy. Justice was served in 2014. The person responsible is serving 25 yrs to Life. Grateful God saw us through Justice for Angel Kye.

  12. He is so handsome! I will pray for you, your son, and your family, and will say a prayer to Malaikye to honor him for being such a strong little soul to keep your family going at this time. Most of all I will pray to God that both the Mother and her Boyfriend are held accountable for what they have done and get what they deserve. I remember when my Brother died, and my Mommom who is a devout Catholic, for the first time in her life, doubted God. I am so happy to hear that your faith has kept you going and given you strength. No Parent should ever have to bury a child, and to bury a Grandchild is just that much more unimaginable. My brother was murdered as well, I always tell people, its not like what you see on tv with law and order and all those; they don’t really investigate as well as they are able to, or as they should. Thank you for sharing his story, although it is sad; it’s an honor to hear of Malaikyes life, how well loved he was by you and your family, and to know he is in Heaven with all the other angels.

    • Thank you Alysa. Justice came after a long and emotional 2 1\2 year Fight for Justice! It’s DEFINITELY not as it is portrayed on TV. I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your Brother to Homicide. I pray Justice was served in his case. Thank you for your prayers. My prayers go out to you and yours. God bless.

  13. Thank you for sharing with us. We know your pain and also know that together we can lean on each other in times when it seems like there isn’t a person in this world to talk to, sit with, etc… but know, anyone of the way to many bereaved parents will listen. Your little bundle of joy is still sending out his giggles and hugs, feel them. Your love continues for all eternity.

    • Thanks Debiszone. I have come to know many wonderful people through this journey. Many who share a similar loss. Sorry for your loss. God bless you and yours.

  14. Thank you for sharing your story. It takes strength and grace to walk in this situation as you have done. I will pray for justice for your grandson here on this earth and again when his killer faces God. This should never ever happen in today´s world. People need to look out and protect our children not let evil monsters kill them. His mother should also be on trial. I hope the trial part is over soon for you and that you can spend your time thinking of the good times with your grandson!!He is so beautiful!!Your family will be in my prayers!!

    • Thank you Arwen for your comment. This journey through the court system ended in 2014. The Fight for Justice was a long 2 1\2 year journey. The person responsible was sentenced to 25 years to Life! In our hearts others should be also held accountable, but they will one day have to answer to God directly! God blessed us with Malaikye’s little brother in 2013. A beautiful Gift from God. Malaikye will always live in our hearts and the lives of his Organ recipients. God bless you and yours!

  15. Hi, I found you from the prayer registry and followed the link. Your story makes me so sad. Life is so unfair. I hope you meet again when the time is right. He will always be with you just like my little boy is always with me – just in a different way. We started a project called the butterfly project, I hope it can give others a little peace Ps I prayed for your wee grandson last night. Our timezones are different but I hope you felt it 🙂

    • Thank you Rebekah. Prayers definitely got me through that trial. Justice was served in 2014.
      I will look at the link you sent. What a beautiful way to honor your son. So sorry for your loss. . I became an Ambassador with Donate Life to honor Malaikye. I embrace the platform I am given to spread his story of Hope after Tragedy. God bless you and yours!

  16. We lost our grandson Kamden July 13, 2012 to Shaken Baby Syndrome. His father, my son, is in jail awaiting trial. Your story touched my heart and I can relate in so many ways. Standing beside that hospital bed knowing that all of the dreams we had for that sweet baby were gone. Knowing that his father was standing beside us as though he had done no wrong. These sweet babies deserved so much more. I will keep you and your family in my prayers as we continue our journeys.
    The last paragraph I so totally understand. I cherish every second that I get to look into the eyes of an innocent child and see such trust. Love them. Treasure every second you get to be with them. I never imagined not having the rest of my life to see him grow into the man God called him to be.

    • Oh Connie. I am so sorry for you loss. I apologize for not responding sooner. I don’t come on this site very often.
      There’s some just unnatural about burying our Grand babies. It’s so heartbreaking. My prayers are with you and yours. God bless you dear. ((((Hugs))))

  17. I have had the pleasure to know this little angel while he was here, I have also have the misfortune of knowing the accused. I was shocked to here of his death but unaware of the details. This sickens me to know the horror of this tragedy. My prayers to u and ur family, I hope the idiot gets what he deserves!!!

    • Thank you. If you knew Malaikye than you know Justice was served in 2014. I miss his little face…everything about him. God bless.

  18. We will never know why things happen the way they do. I admire your faith despite all the mixed emotions you have experienced. Trust that we will all rejoice in the Kingdom of Heaven blessed with eternal peace and happiness. I will pray for you and your family.

  19. Too bad you didn’t get to spend more time with your grandson before his passing. His family is amazing and didn’t stand by while he was abused. I hope he knows who you are when you get called to heavens gate.

    • Since you decided to come off as “unknown” that makes me wonder! TRUST…God knows all, God saw all. All who turned a blind eye in his abuse will one day be held accountable!! Also know that for certain….Malaikye will know me and his paternal family that sweet day we are reunited in Heaven! One day the world will know the complete truth.

  20. Your beautiful words about your beautiful grandson has touched my heart. I will forever remember your grandson and his legacy. I will remember to hug my children daily… Thank you for sharing your story.

  21. the list on the right side of this page is heart breaking it should have never have gotten that big all these precious babies id die to have and all of them killed by someone who claimed to have loved them :*( it breaks my heart i see this day in day out and the same question always comes back to why

    • Too many children die due to Child Abuse. 😦 Instead of protecting their child they do the horrific. We live in a wicked world for sure. God bless you Brandy

  22. Sorry for your loss I too have felt that pain I lost a son do to his father hitting me when I was pregnate it thrugh in to labor and my son died shortly after he was born he was injured do to his father I miss him buti know he,s in a better place , after several years my ex hung him self knowing he left his family 2girls and 1 year old son my second son is the one who passed away ,and my 1 year old would see other babies and say my baby I would hold my tears back and say gently to him our baby is in heaven.

    • My heart goes out to you Amanda. I am so sorry for your losses. One day we will e reunited with our loved ones. ((((Hugs)))) God bless you and your kids.

  23. I know your grandson Danielito and his family. I can definitely say how loved your grandson is so loved👪! I read about your son and your family tragedy of YOUR PRECIOUS GRANDSON AND SON MALIAKYE THOMAS GRAY
    and I have seen his baby pictures. He looks so much like his DAD AND BABY BROTHER.

    • Thank you Mary for your loving words. God truly blessed our families with Danielito. He has our hearts for sure. We see Malaikye in him and only wished they could’ve been able to grow up together. Two little “traviesos” I am certain they would have been! LOL. Danielito is surrounded by so much family and love as it should be. I am so grateful my son found Happiness with Olivia. To see him happy despite all he’s been through I am forever grateful. I will always share Malaikye’s story of Hope after Tragedy till my last breath. God bless you. 🙂

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