Family remembers child killed in fire; charges filed in death - WSMV Channel 4

Family remembers child killed in fire; charges filed in death

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Travis S. Wright Travis S. Wright
Cortaviz Green Cortaviz Green

A few unopened presents underneath the Christmas tree highlight the horror of the past two days for Sandra Green.

"It's like, 'Oh God!'" said Green.

Green said she was at work yesterday morning when she got a call at about 7:00 from LaToya Ussery screaming "Tay!" - that's short for Cortaviz, Ussery's son and Green's grandson. Her daughter called back.

"She called and said, 'Momma Toya's house is on fire,'" said Green. "I said, 'What about Tay?' And she said, 'The phone hung up before I could ask her.'"

It turns out the Kirkpatrick Elementary first grader was home alone in his East Nashville house when a couch that Nashville firefighters said was too close to a wall heater caught fire, and the child died from smoke inhalation.

Now, there are memories.

"His smile," said Green. "Like last night, I closed my eyes and I heard him say, 'Granny, Granny.' He's truly going to be missed."

Today, Metro police charged 29-year-old Travis Wright with criminal homicide in connection with the death.

The child's mother told police she left her son with Wright while she stood in line to get toys at the Last Minute Toy Store. Police said Wright went to work and Cortaviz was left alone for a minimum of 30 minutes.

Now, as the family prepares to bury Cortaviz, they are also wondering why this happened to a little boy everyone believed had so much more living to do.

"He was just, you know, a well-loved little boy," said Green. "Everybody loved him."

The child's father is Green's son. He's the biological father of Cortaviz and his 4-year-old brother, who was staying with family the morning of the fire.

Firefighters said there were no working smoke detectors in the living section of the house.

They said they're not sure if the child would have known what to do if he had heard smoke detectors. Firefighters suggest you have a fire drill with your family so children know what to do if the worst happens.

The Nashville Fire Department gives away smoke detectors for free.

Wright, who has previous convictions for cocaine possession and theft, is being held on $100,000 bond.

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