Foster-care mom gets 25-to-life for girl's death

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Date: 2009-08-21
Source: sacbee.com

Andy Furillo

Tamekca Walker told the court today she was sorry for the death of a 17-month-old girl in her foster care home two years ago, but she still received a 25-to-life prison term for child abuse that resulted in death.

Jurors last month also convicted Walker of second-degree murder in the Oct. 22, 2007, death of Tamaihya Moore, a girl who was born with cocaine in her system and placed in the foster care system a month before her death, after her father was arrested.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Greta Curtis Fall gave the defendant a 15-to-life term for the murder conviction, but stayed that term because the offense took place in the course of the same act that resulted in the child abuse count.

In a brief and tearful address to the court, Walker said that "not a day goes by that I don't think about" Moore, who was placed in her care by Sacramento County Child Protective Services.

Walker had been in the foster care business about two years before CPS placed Moore in her Meadowview home, according to the defendant's probation report.

The report said Walker told police the little girl had been "restless" and that she "would put her hand over (the toddler's) face to keep her quiet, which she had done before. She held her hand on the victim's face but did not know for how long. The victim stopped crying and then the defendant wrapped her in a blanket. She stated she tried to give the victim CPR and then put her 'in the corner.'"

Sacramento police investigators later developed information that Walker "expressed frustration" over caring for Tamaihya Moore "due to the amount of attention she required, which was affecting her ability to care for the other children," the probation report said.

A coroner's autopsy never conclusively established the girl's cause of death, although it suggested that the fatality resulted from "asphyxiation, probably by smothering."

The girl's relatives have since filed a lawsuit against Sacramento County over the CPS placement of the girl in Walker's home and the agency's failure to remove the child despite pleas from her relatives.

The civil case had been suspended until the conclusion of the criminal matter. Bruce G. Fagel, the Beverly Hills attorney who is representing the Moore family, said the civil case will resume in Sacramento Superior Court on Sept. 24.

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