Prosecutors: Abuse in Lexie case dates back to 2004

Relates to:
Date: 2009-07-06

By Amanda Stewart

Alfreedia Gregg-Glover said she drove her 13-year-old adopted daughter to Prince William Hospital on Jan. 7, but did not take her inside.

Instead, Gregg-Glover kept driving, with 13-year-old Alexis “Lexie” Glover in the backseat, unconscious and suffering from an apparent sickle cell anemia crisis.

Gregg-Glover drove out of the hospital parking lot, onto the Prince William County Parkway, and then to Asdee Lane in Woodbridge.

There she took Lexie out of the car, and placed her in a freezing creek.

And there Lexie was found, two days later, dead of drowning and exposure to cold.

Speaking in a barely audible voice, Gregg-Glover, 45, pleaded guilty in Prince William Circuit Court Monday to charges of felony murder, felony child abuse and misdemeanor filing a false police report for the girl’s death. Prosecutors dropped a charge of first-degree murder.

Lexie was already dead when Gregg-Glover reported her missing from Central Community Library in Manassas around noon on Jan. 7, sparking a massive search for the girl.

“At first she said she ran away, she ran away,” Prince William County police Officer Carole Tyrrell testified Monday.

But later, when confronted with the conflicting evidence during a police interview on Jan. 13, Gregg-Glover changed her story, Tyrrell said.

“She said that never happened,” Tyrrell said.

Search in vain
When Lexie was reported missing, more than 300 police officers and volunteers, as well as helicopters and bloodhounds fanned out across the area in a search effort that cost over $100,000, Tyrrell said.

During the Jan. 13 interview, Gregg-Glover told police that Lexie had woken her up at around 1 a.m. on Jan. 7, complaining of being sick. Gregg-Glover said the girl’s sickness was related to her sickle cell anemia.

Gregg-Glover told her to go back to sleep. Lexie again complained about being sick at around 7 a.m. that morning.

A short time after that, Gregg-Glover took a shower. When she got out of the shower, Lexie was gone, she said.

Gregg-Glover told police she next found Lexie unconscious in the backyard.
She said she put her in the car and drove to the hospital, but did not go in.

She then drove to Asdee Lane, where she left Lexie in a creek.

Gregg-Glover said she gave the Lexie Tylenol with codeine when she complained of being sick, but no evidence of the drug was found in Lexie’s body, Prince William County Commonwealth Attorney Paul Ebert said.

The medical examiner also identified injuries to Lexie’s head, which Gregg-Glover did not explain.

During the plea hearing Monday, police described more than a dozen reports of Lexie being abused dating back to 2004.

Various people reported the incidents to the Department of Social Services and police department, but Lexie, who was adopted in 2003, was never removed from Gregg-Glover’s care.

Mistakes were made
In the aftermath of Lexie’s death, a Prince William social worker was fired and two more were disciplined. In addition, a state investigation into county social services revealed low morale and inadequate staffing in the department.

Prince William County police announced Monday that three police officers were also disciplined. The police department conducted an internal investigation of their handling of Lexie’s case and is implementing some changes based on that report. Read more about the police review here.

“There’s no question a lot of mistakes were made in this case, both by the Department of Social Services and the police department,” Ebert said following the hearing.

Ebert pointed to one incident in particular, in December 2008, when a neighbor called the police after finding Lexie in his driveway wearing nothing but a tarp and with a cut on the back of her head.

That time, police responded and took Lexie to the hospital, but she was released back into her mother’s care.

If charges had been filed then, Lexie’s story likely would have ended differently, Ebert said.

“If we had known then what we know now, [Gregg-Glover] should have been behind bars already and Alexis would be alive,” Ebert said.

Ebert said he believes the Department of Social Services and the police department are making the necessary changes to keep something like this from happening again.

Part of the problem, Ebert said, was that Gregg-Glover told authorities that Lexie was severely autistic and suffered from other psychological disorders.

“I think too many people were willing to accept the mother’s statements and believe the child was not credible,” Ebert said.

Authorities now believe that Lexie was not autistic, but suffered from reactive attachment disorder.

Through the cracks
Four Prince William County Schools transportation employees who reported their suspicions that Lexie was being abused attended Monday’s hearing, wearing purple ribbons bearing Lexie’s name.

Bus driver Nancy Frederick and her attendant Liset Romero reported seeing Lexie come to the bus stop wearing nothing but a diaper on three days in October, 2008.

Bus driver Marlene Williams and her attendant Brenda Taylor reported seeing Lexie get into the trunk of Gregg-Glover’s car in October 2007.

“We made reports and nothing happened,” Taylor said. “You always hear about children falling through the cracks. Lexie fell through a gaping hole that social services made for her.”

Frederick said Lexie was a bright and talkative girl, but she was afraid of her mother and was sometimes withdrawn out of fear.

“She was so afraid of her mother. She did everything she said because she thought she was going to kill her,” Frederick said. “She was right.”

Ebert said prosecutors will ask for the maximum sentence of 51 years in prison—“an effective life sentence,” Ebert said—when Gregg-Glover is sentenced on Oct. 2.

0

Pound Pup Legacy