Richard Larsen painted a stark picture Tuesday of the world his daughter lived in for six short years before her body was found in a remote Glenn County field last month.
He and Jadianna’s mother, Tanecia Clark, were homeless when Jadianna was born, Larsen said. He had drug problems. Clark, he said, had “mental disabilities.” The baby was taken by Child Protective Services while still in the hospital and spent her first year in foster care, he said.
Her birth was the last time Larsen would see Jadianna alive. Jailed at Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center in Elk Grove for petty theft and narcotics, Larsen is to be released next month and hopes to attend her funeral. Authorities believe Jadianna was killed by Juan Rivera, Clark’s current boyfriend. Clark left Rivera, 25, to care for the child after she checked into a mental health facility for psychological issues, according to her family.
When CPS took Jadianna for reasons Larsen says likely included their homelessness, “my world just collapsed.”
Larsen, 33, said he returned to drugs, specifically methamphetamine. He told Clark to return to her family and urged her to get her life together so she could regain custody of Jadianna. They had dated for nearly three years before breaking up.
“I grew up in the system. I didn’t want that for my daughter,” Larsen said.
Clark, it seemed, was getting back on track. She regained custody of Jadianna after passing parenting classes and moved into the Martin Luther King Jr. Village in south Sacramento, an apartment complex for disabled and formerly homeless people.
Meanwhile, Larsen, whose drug problem got worse, lost contact with Clark and Jadianna.
“I’m so proud Tanecia could step up to the plate,” Larsen said. “There’s no doubt I would have been a decent dad, but I was doing drugs and drinking alcohol. I do feel that guilt.”
Larsen said Clark occasionally smoked marijuana, but did not take other drugs. Her problems, he said, were more emotional.
“She’s smart and able to learn, but sometimes she’s more a teenager than an adult,” Larsen said.
Larsen, who has “Tanecia” tattooed on his neck, said he doesn’t blame Clark for the tragedy. He plans to get a tattoo of Jadianna’s face once he is released.
“I have no doubt she was a great mother,” he said.
He learned Jadianna was missing when detectives came to the jail and asked for a DNA sample. It was used to confirm the child’s identity.
Larsen said counseling from other inmates has helped, but he struggles with the pain of his daughter’s death.
“I pray for her,” he said.