Girl's Cries For Help 'Fell on Deaf Ears'
Monday, March 9, 2009
Prince William County police, social services and school officials received numerous reports from people who saw firsthand that 13-year-old Alexis "Lexie" Agyepong-Glover was being abused and neglected by her adoptive mother in the two years before the woman allegedly killed her.
But Lexie was not removed from the home.
Lexie's school bus driver said she made several reports, the first when she saw marks on Lexie's wrists and forearms that looked as if she'd been tied up. She also told authorities that Lexie had a large welt on her head and tried to board the bus in her underwear. Another bus driver and her attendant told police that they saw Lexie's mother driving off with her in the trunk of her car.
In the weeks before Lexie was found dead Jan. 9 in an icy creek, neighbors said they reported finding Lexie hungry, wandering the streets wearing only a barbecue grill cover, physically injured and, above all, terrified of her mother, Alfreedia Gregg-Glover.
"We thought by making a police report, the police would get her out" of the home, said Marlene Williams, the school bus driver who, along with her attendant, Brenda Taylor, told police and Lexie's principal that they saw Lexie's mother drive off with her in the trunk.
"We don't know how much that little girl suffered," Taylor said. "Her cries fell on deaf ears."
Prince William police Maj. Ray Colgan said police would have taken action if they had found Lexie to be in danger. He said that when police were called about the trunk incident and the injuries seen by the neighbor, Social Services was notified and the incidents were investigated. He said the pending criminal case and privacy laws prevented him from giving too many details.
"As far as I know, I think we've done everything properly we could have done," Colgan said. "We will continue to review it, and if we need to make some changes, we will."
Jack Ledden, director of Prince William's Department of Social Services, and a school system spokesman declined to comment, citing confidentiality rules and the ongoing investigation. Gregg-Glover's court appointed attorney, John V. Notarianni, did not return calls for comment.
The Prince William Board of County Supervisors announced Friday that it has requested that the Virginia Department of Social Services review the county's response. The review will include all child welfare programs, including child protective services, prevention and treatment, foster care and adoption. Such a review is required by state law, but the board requested that the state accelerate the process. It is expected to take three months.
Gregg-Glover, 44, was indicted last week on charges of murdering her daughter and lying to police. She told police Jan. 7 that Lexie had run away, which sparked a massive search. Police say they later learned that she had dumped Lexie in the shallow creek in the Woodbridge area, still alive. Lexie was found dead two days later from drowning and exposure to the cold. Gregg-Glover was also charged with child abuse, the county's chief prosecutor said.
Prince William Commonwealth's Attorney Paul B. Ebert said the medical examiner's report "showed there were recent injuries and old injuries" to Lexie's body. "The recent injuries, coupled with the cause of death, certainly indicated it was a horrible death," he said.