Birth mom blames adoptive mom for murder

Date: 2009-03-11

Carol Ferguson
Eyewitness News

Adoptive mother Gloria Grayson is facing first-degree murder charges for the death of 5-year-old Kevin Michael King.

The birth mother, Kawanna Adkins, is now demanding answers and leveling serious allegations against Grayson. Adkins said Wednesday that she was worried about the care the boy was getting.

"He was a sweet kid, (and) I don't know why she killed him," Adkins said. "It really makes me mad."

Adkins said the child, who she named Daniel, was put into protective custody in 2004 when he was 9 months old. Adkins said she and the child's father hadn't been getting along.

Two years later, the boy was placed into Grayson's foster home, and Grayson adopted him later that year.

On Sunday, police say the child was found unresponsive on the bathroom floor of Grayson's home on the 5900 block of Spokane Avenue. Grayson called 911, and the boy was taken to the hospital, where he died.

The Kern County Coroner ruled that the child's death was caused by "blunt force trauma to the chest and abdomen," and the manner of death was homicide.

Bakersfield police Sgt. Greg Terry said Grayson was the only adult home at the time of the child's injury. Police say Grayson had three foster children in the home, and they were taken into protective custody.

Grayson's foster home is certified through Kern Bridges Youth Homes, a family foster agency.

"Everyone here is very devastated, shaken (and) can't believe it — still hoping the coroner made a mistake and it's not what they're saying it is," Executive Director John Bacon said.

Bacon only said Grayson has been a foster parent through his organization for "quite a few years." Bacon said all foster parents get FBI background checks and a child-abuse-index check. References are checked, and parents must get CPR training.

Bacon said Grayson had CPR certification, and her home had regular visits by social workers.

"We visited that home on a weekly basis," Bacon said. "There was nothing ever awry. To us, there were no flags."

Kern Bridges Youth Homes and other agencies are licensed through the state, and the office of Community Care Licensing reviews the facilities. Spokesman Oscar Ramirez said Grayson had no complaints or violations on file with his department.

Birth mother Adkins, however, said she had concerns for the child.

Adkins said her 10-year-old daughter stayed with her brother last summer at Grayson's home.

"She'd been beating on him, like slamming his hands to the car, giving him a bloody nose and black eye," Adkins said. "She (had) been telling me a lot of stuff that went on."

Adkins said she tried to call Grayson about the alleged abuse, but never got through to her. The birth mother said she never reported the claims.

Adkins said Grayson is a distant relative on her mother's side of the family. Adkins also dated Grayson's son several years ago.

The family also said Grayson kept the boy away from them. Adkins said at her mother's funeral last spring, Grayson "controlled" the child the whole time.

"There were tell-tale signs that I should have paid attention to," said Sekenna Adkins, the birth mother's sister.

Sekenna Adkins said she has lots of regrets and she wants justice now that Grayson has been arrested for the boy's murder.

"I want her to pay for what's she's done," Sekenna Adkins said.

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