"That was the last thing she ever said to me," said the grieving grandfather during a phone interview. "I will never forget that."
Downing and his family now only have the memories of 4-year-old Samiah, because she was allegedly killed at the hands of her own father, Ronald Greer, 21, his 19-year-old girlfriend, Bianca Stanch and her cousin, Rayshawn Stanch, 26, all of Adelanto.
"She loved Dora and she loved to go to Chuck E. Cheese just like any 4- year-old," Downing said of the little girl with round cheeks.
On the morning of Dec. 28, Downing and his family learned the terrible news.
Greer and his girlfriend were arrested a day earlier in connection with Samiah's death after a concerned person hadn't seen the child for a few days and contacted the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department.
Investigators were eventually led to a shallow grave south of Baker.
There they found little Samiah's remains.
"I still don't understand," Downing said. "There is nothing in the world a baby could do to deserve even a part of this."
Downing and several other family members were in court Thursday when Greer, Bianca Stanch and Rayshawn Stanch, who has a history of child cruelty, pleaded not guilty to charges of murder.
Downing was not only dealing with the loss of his granddaughter, but still grappling with the idea her own father may have had something to do with her death.
"If I thought any of this would've happened, if I thought she was in any danger, she would've been with me," he said. "She was just like any other little girl visiting her father."
Downing recalled how the little girl loved to play with other children on their many Papa-granddaughter dates at Chuck E. Cheese.
"She was a loving child," he said.
Samiah was named after Downing's mother Christine Downing, who died in a tragic accident six years before the little girl was born.
"She was even born close to my mother's birthday," he said. Samiah was
Downing's "Valentine's Day baby" and his mother was born on Feb. 11.
While he struggles with the loss of his granddaughter, he said he's received a lot of support after he set up a Facebook memorial page for the little girl.
"It really does help," he said.
Downing and several family members posted photos and videos of the smiling little girl.
Since the page was established, dozens of people have posted words of encouragement and condolence to Samiah's family.
Downing has also posted a link on the Facebook page to a website where he is trying to raise money to help with the 4-year-old's funeral.
"It does bring me comfort. I would like to thank everybody that posted and donated. I really appreciate it," he said.
Greer, Biana Stanch and Rayshawn Stanch are scheduled to be back in Victorville Superior Court on Thursday.
Reach Beatriz via email, call her at 909-386-3921, or find her on Twitter @IEBeatriz.