Woman gets 26-year term for leaving daughter to die in creek
By Maria Glod
A Prince William County woman who left her 13-year-old adopted daughter to die in a frigid creek was sentenced to 26 years in prison Friday, marking the end of a criminal case that revealed shortcomings in the county's policies on child abuse.
Alfreedia L. Gregg-Glover, 45, dumped her daughter, Alexis "Lexie" Agyepong-Glover, still alive, in an icy Woodbridge area creek in January 2009 and reported the girl missing. Lexie died of drowning and exposure to the cold.
Gregg-Glover did not offer any apologies or regrets during the hearing in Prince William Circuit Court and quietly answered the judge's questions. Gregg-Glover's attorney said she had instructed him not to speak on her behalf.
Gregg-Glover pleaded guilty in July to felony murder, felony child abuse and filing a false police report.
Those who attended the hearing on behalf of a girl who loved butterflies, going to school and chatting with friends about cute boys on the school bus, questioned whether the punishment was tough enough. Prosecutors had asked for the maximum 51-year sentence.
"Twenty-six years is a long time, but it's not long enough," said Brenda Taylor, a school bus attendant who was among those who went to court dressed in purple, Lexie's favorite color. "In jail, she's going to get three meals a day. She's going to get heat and a blanket. Lexie didn't get that choice."
Lexie "lived a total nightmare," said Marlene Williams, another bus driver.
Lexie's story sparked reforms to the county's handling of child abuse reports after it became clear that the she had long been abused and that people concerned about her had contacted police, social service workers and school officials.
After Lexie's death, The Washington Post found that bus drivers, neighbors and others had reported suspected abuse to county agencies. The girl was seen bruised and cut, being driven off in the trunk of a car and at bus stop wearing only a diaper.
But she was never removed from Gregg-Glover's home. Lexie was placed in Gregg-Glover's home in January 2003 and was adopted in December that year.
An internal audit conducted after Lexie's death found "deficiencies" in the county's handling of the case. The report, prepared with assistance from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, said that Gregg-Glover intentionally misled authorities by portraying herself as a loving mother and her daughter as a "severely mentally and physically challenged" liar.
Carolyn Stayman, a day-care provider who had watched Lexie for a few weeks when she was 9, remembered a charming girl who always wanted to help care for the younger children. But she said it surprised her that Lexie wouldn't snack.
"She was just a nice, little, happy girl, but she was afraid to eat," Stayman said. "When we finally got her to eat, she said, 'Please don't tell my mommy, because my mommy says you're going to make her pay for the food.' "
On the school bus, a friend would sometimes bring Lexie juice and cookies, and the drivers and attendants would also give her food, said Nancy Frederick, a bus driver who said she told officials that Lexie came to the bus bruised and in her underwear.
Commonwealth's Attorney Paul B. Ebert called the crime "horrific." "The child . . . met her death in a horrible manner because of the actions of this lady," Ebert said.
Several investigations were launched to determine whether the case had been mishandled. One county social services employee was fired, and two were disciplined. Three police employees were disciplined.
Policies were revamped. Social services supervisors now review cases after three calls, that, on their own, don't merit a site visit. And employees are being trained by police on how to better identify signs of abuse.