Aunt: Child's death could have been prevented

Aunt: Child's death could have been prevented  »Play Video
Mark Dixon, 4, is seen in this provided photo.
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -- "He was beautiful and very, very happy," said Rhonda Hicks as she described her nephew, 4-year-old Mark Dixon.

At least that's the way Mark was when he lived with her during the first two years of his life. Hicks said she was given temporary custody after the boy's parents were arrested on drug charges and willful cruelty to a child in 2006.

The boy was eventually returned to his father, Mark Dixon Sr., and soon thereafter she noticed a change in her nephew.

"He seemed a little different, he wasn't the same happy carefree child, and he was withdrawn," said Hicks.

On Friday, Kern County Sheriff's investigators found the boy with severe head injuries at his trailer home. The boy died the next day at Children's Hospital in Madera.

Hicks said she told Kern County Child Protective Services several times about the change she noticed in her nephew, sensing that her nephew was in danger.

"My concern was he wasn't the same person," said Hicks. She said
she tried to get CPS to investigate. "They never did. Nobody ever went to check on him."

No arrests have yet been made and the case is still under investigation.

An autopsy performed on the boy came back as inconclusive. The Kern County Coroner's office will have to do further testing to determine the cause and manner of death.

"I feel in my heart this could have been prevented," said Hicks.