MAPLEWOOD, Minn. (WCCO) — A Farmington mother said her boyfriend had quietly turned into a monster.

Police charged the mother’s boyfriend, 35-year-old Mike Meak, with second-degree murder. He told officers the baby fell on the heater and that he roughed her up at his Maplewood home. He also said she had accidentally hit her head on some of his weights days before.

Genesis was just 18 months old. For the first time, her mother is talking publicly about the death.

As a single mother of five kids, Lia Lee said her boyfriend, also a single dad, would often pitch in.  As a waitress, she said she couldn’t afford regular childcare and she trusted him. Lia Lee has her hands full.

“I was working from 10:30 in the morning to 9 at night and that’s almost every single day,” she said.

She said for the past two weeks, her boyfriend, Mike, has been watching her youngest, Genesis. She said she and her other toddler had the flu and she would drop into check on the little girl.

“There was no indication at all that he was this violent monster,” she said.

Lee said he always seemed calm. Officers said he was not. They said he killed little Genesis, confessing that he had roughed her up and shook her before she stopped breathing on his bed. Lia Lee rushed to the home.

“Then the detective she came to me and said ‘I’m sorry the paramedics could not save her, your baby is gone’ and that’s when I lost it,” Lee said.

She said her baby had a quiet nature and loved to be picked up.

“Her beautiful smile, her little cute white teeth, that always gets me,” Lee said.

It’s a smile she’ll never see in action again, a smile she’ll always remember.

“I don’t want my daughter to be forgotten for what she had to go through. I don’t want her to die in vain,” Lee said.

And the way she hopes to do that is to start a charity in Genesis’ name for single working mothers. In the meantime, they’ve set up a fund to pay for Genesis’ funeral. Here’s how to donate to the fund.

Lee said Meak never showed signs of violence, had a quiet nature. They had only been dating a few months but were friends for the past five years. She said she loved him and trusted him.

She hasn’t talked with him, but said she will be in court Tuesday as he makes his first appearance.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield