Air Force Sued Over Girls Death on New Jersey Base


The mother of a four-year-old girl who died while living on an Air Force Base due to abuse by her stepmother has sued the Air Force for negligence in her daughter’s death. Zakiyya Sabree has accused the Air Force of failing to inform her an abuse investigation against her daughter’s stepmother and of failing to keep track of her daughter while living on base.

The child, Nailah Sabree-Williams, was killed May 15, 2004 after severe physical abuse by her stepmother, April Williams. Williams pleaded guilty two years ago to voluntary manslaughter and is in prison until 2013. Williams husband the girl’s father, Air Force Staff Sergeant Donnyell Williams, who was living with his wife and daughter at McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey, shared custody with the girl’s mother.

The girl went to live with the Williamses on the base in October 2003, and in early November, a neighbor alerted base officials that she had been locked out of the house, naked and crying in freezing temperatures. The lawsuit claims that at that time, the base Family Maltreatment Case Management Team opened an investigation into the matter. Unaware of the abuse, because she had not been notified of the incident, the mother of the girl allowed her to stay with her father and stepmother until May 2004. When Staff Sgt. Williams was sent to Texas, he left his daughter alone with her stepmother, and the stepmother killed her.

Sabree is seeking damages in excess of $300,000 from the Air Force; Sabree also filed a wrongful death suit against the girl’s father seeking damages in excess of $200,000.