She still can’t rest in peace.
More than a month after little Julissia Batties was found dead in her mother’s Bronx apartment, her body is still sitting in the city morgue as her parents argue over funeral arrangements, The Post has learned.
The abused 7-year-old girl was the subject of a heated custody battle for nearly all of her life and the fight is continuing even after her tragic death — with her mom wanting to have her cremated and her dad hoping she can be buried, according to court papers.
Mom Navasia Jones, who had custody of Julissia when the girl died, filed a petition on Friday asking a judge to grant her control over funeral arrangements and the “disposition” of the girl’s body.
Jones wants to have her daughter cremated so she “will always have something to remember [Julissia] by,” the filing in Bronx Supreme Court states.
But dad Julius Batties — whose mother Yolanda Davis tried in vain for years to gain custody of her granddaughter — wants Julissia to be buried in the same New Jersey cemetery as his father.
“I’m ready to lay my baby to rest so she can be at peace,” Batties told The Post on Tuesday.
Davis agreed, “I just want to put her to rest.”
“I never knew we would have to fight for her body,” the distraught grandmother said. “I thought we’d bury the baby and that’s it.”
Julissia’s lifeless body, with evidence of trauma all over, was discovered Aug. 10 in Jones’ apartment at NYCHA’s Mitchel Houses. Autopsy results showed the girl died of “blunt force abdominal trauma,” and the NYPD has ruled the case a homicide.
Both Julissia’s mother and her 17-year-old half-brother were questioned by detectives, law-enforcement sources said. But no arrests have been made as the investigation continues.
There was a known history of violence in the child’s home, and an alleged admission from the half-brother that he punched Julissia eight times in the face the day she died — though it was later determined those blows were not what ultimately killed her, sources have said.
The alleged assault happened while their mom took a 5 a.m. trip to the store, and hours later, Julissia, who was due to begin second-grade this month, began throwing up, prompting Jones to call 911. Jones claimed her daughter had fallen and hit her head on a desk, according to the sources. The girl was brought to Lincoln Hospital but could not be saved.
In the weeks since Julissia’s death, Jones, 35, and Batties, 37, each made arrangements with separate funeral homes in regards to their daughter’s final resting place, according to the court documents.
Because of that, the city’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said that it could not release Julissia’s body until the parents either came to an agreement or let the court decide. On Aug. 26, OCME said it had placed a “hold” on Julissia’s body until a resolution is reached, the filing states.
But the parents couldn’t come to an agreement, with Batties saying he “would never agree” to have his daughter cremated.
The dad said he had already picked out a casket in one of his little girl’s favorite color — pink — and arranged for a horse-drawn carriage at the funeral, to make sure she “goes out like a princess.”
“Because she was a princess,” he said.
Julissia’s grandmother, however, wants to bury Julissia in a white dress the girl had picked out to attend a wedding. She also wants to put her in a purple headband, since that color was also one of her granddaughter’s favorites.
“I’ve never experienced this in my life and it’s really frustrating because here she is, a baby, she is gone, she is still sitting in a morgue, you know,” Davis said.
“It’s over a month now. Can we just put her to rest?”
Jones’ attorney didn’t return requests for comment Tuesday.
A spokesperson for OCME said that disputes among claimants must be decided by a court, according to the state’s public health laws. “Consistent with the law, OCME continues to hold the remains of the decedent while the Court decides the issue.”
Additional reporting by Larry Celona