Va. Mother Pleads Guilty to Leaving Girl, 13, for Dead in Creek
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
A Prince William County woman pleaded guilty yesterday to charges of leaving her adopted 13-year-old daughter for dead in a frigid creek in January, and county police acknowledged that they could have responded better to numerous reports that the girl was being abused and neglected.
Despite reports made to several county agencies over six years, the girl, Alexis "Lexie" Agyepong-Glover, was not removed from the home, and the case has highlighted shortcomings in the county's policies on child abuse and runaways.
Yesterday, Alfreedia Leona Gregg-Glover, 45, of the Manassas area pleaded guilty to felony murder, felony child abuse and filing a false police report in Prince William County Circuit Court. She faces a maximum of 51 years in prison, which the county's chief prosecutor called "an effective life sentence." She will be sentenced in October.
Court testimony yesterday and comments by authorities tell a long, sad tale of abuse, during which Gregg-Glover was able to persuade authorities to discount Lexie as a disabled, dishonest, habitual runaway.
After the hearing, Prince William Commonwealth's Attorney Paul B. Ebert called the case "a true horror story" and said he hopes that a judge will impose the maximum sentence.
"There's no question a lot of mistakes were made in this case, by both the Department of Social Services and the police department," Ebert said, adding that both agencies are taking steps to change their practices to prevent a repeat of the case.
Calls for comment to Gregg-Glover's attorney, John V. Notarianni, were not returned after the hearing.
After the plea, county police released the findings of an internal audit that found "deficiencies" in their response to reports concerning Lexie over the years. The audit called for reforms in how officers train, respond to abuse reports and communicate with other agencies.
The report, compiled with the help of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, said Gregg-Glover intentionally misled authorities, portraying herself as a "loving and caring mother" and Lexie as a "severely mentally and physically challenged" liar.
It also found inadequate communication between DSS and police and inconsistent practices by police when responding to abuse reports.
Police Chief Charlie T. Deane said three employees -- two detectives and a police officer -- were disciplined for failing to follow departmental policy. He said one person was given a written reprimand and two were suspended but declined to say which employees received which punishment, citing confidentiality in personnel matters.
"Part of our responsibility is to safeguard children from harm, and it is deeply disturbing to me that we failed to do so in Lexie Glover's case," Deane said in a statement. "While there is only one person who caused her death, and that is her mother, Alfreedia Glover, I would be remiss in not stating that there are some things we could have, and should have, done differently in prior investigations with this family."