Leb Mike Meak always looked for Genesis Xiong when he went to his girlfriend’s home. When he spotted her, he’d scoop her up and carry her “all over the place,” eventually sprawling across the couch with the 18-month-old in his arms.
Meak was at the home every weekend after his five-year friendship with Genesis’ mother, Lia Lee, turned romantic in August 2014.
He was good with Genesis, Lee said Wednesday, good with the toddler’s siblings and good with his two sons from another relationship.
“He loved her,” Lee said. “It got to the point where Genesis would call him ‘Dad.’ ”
But in a turn of events Lee can’t fathom and that authorities have described as “unspeakable horror,” Meak allegedly killed Genesis in his Maplewood home last week while the girl was in his care.
A second-degree murder charge filed against Meak, 35, in Ramsey County District Court shows that Genesis suffered multiple internal and external injuries, and may have also been sexually assaulted. Her injuries indicated a pattern of abuse, authorities said.
Lee, reeling from her loss, is trying to reconcile the emerging picture of Meak as a violent man.
Reports from the Maplewood police department reveal alarming encounters police had with Meak in 2009 and 2010 involving the mother of his two sons — details Lee said she was not familiar with.
In September 2009, police responded to the home Meak shared with his parents and sister in the 2500 block of Barclay Street after Meak became suicidal. His then-girlfriend, who is the mother of his children, told police that she had suffered “a series of ever worsening domestic disputes” with Meak, and had told him she was leaving.
“Meak then went and got a knife and walked around the house with it and threatened to kill himself,” a police report said.
Police took Meak to Regions Hospital for evaluation. He didn’t threaten anyone in that incident, but in August 2010, he strangled the same girlfriend after she said she wanted to break up.
“Meak then went outside and she took her kids and hid in the bathroom with the door locked,” the police report said.
Meak pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in the case.
According to the murder charge filed last week, Genesis was found unresponsive Feb. 12 in the same home. Meak allegedly told police that he had been caring for her for 2 1/2 weeks and may have “roughed her up a little bit” while changing her diaper or telling her to stay put.
“He’s always been a very subtle, quiet-mannered person,” Lee said. “I never knew he could be like this.”
She said Meak disappointed and failed her, but declined to comment further on the allegations against him.
Meak was caring for Genesis because several members of Lee’s household had the flu, Lee said. Lee stayed at her south metro home with three of her other four children.
“We didn’t want her to get sick,” Lee said.
Lee and Meak talked and texted daily, she said, and Meak called every morning.
On Saturday, Feb. 7, Lee stopped by Meak’s home with some takeout food. Lee said she didn’t see any signs that her daughter had been abused.
“She was fine,” Lee said. “He seemed very normal.”
It was the last time Lee saw her daughter alive.
The memory of the day her daughter died is too much for Lee, who said she tries to focus, instead, on her daughter’s life.
“She’s a beautiful child,” Lee said. “She was always very loving and always wanted to cuddle.”
Genesis danced to music, her mother said, sounded out more and more words and hummed the alphabet because she couldn’t say all the letters.
“I no longer hear her say anything at all,” Lee said. “I remember she used to fight me for my phone … She would put it up to her ear and say, ‘Hello? Hello?’ ”
Funeral services for Genesis are pending as the family works out details. A gofundme account, http://www.gofundme.com/mdgcz8, was started to help cover the costs.
Meak is being held at the Ramsey County jail on $1.5 million bail. His next court hearing is March 10.