NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – First a 4-year-old North Texas girl is beaten to death, then her mother and her boyfriend are arrested and charged – now three workers with Texas Child Protective Services (CPS) are no longer on the job.
It was in mid-March when Grand Prairie paramedics tried to help little Leiliana Wright. First-responders said when they got to the child she wasn’t breathing and had severe bruising from head-to-toe. Initially, Leiliana’s mother, Jeri Quezada, said the little girl had fallen in the shower. Quezada later admitted that she and her boyfriend, Charles Phifer, hit Leiliana with a belt and a bamboo stick after they’d gotten high on heroin.
The Tarrant County Medical Examiner later determined Leiliana died from blunt force trauma.
Today, both a CPS caseworker and supervisor were fired and a special investigator with the agency resigned. The actions come after allegations that CPS workers knew of Leiliana’s abuse and did little to help her or prevent her eventual death.
Leiliana died on March 13 and two weeks later her grandparents talked with CBS 11 News about how they thought CPS had failed their granddaughter. Alisa and Craig Clakley were often overcome with emotion as they recalled seeing signs of physical abuse on Leiliana a year ago.
“She had two black eyes and a bad bruise across her face, some bruises on her back… poor thing,” Alisa Clakley said. “Their particular job is to protect children and help them [but] this didn’t happen in this case. I don’t care what anyone says. It didn’t happen.”
The couple said they and other relatives saw the bruises, took photos of them, and called CPS on several occasions, but that Leiliana remained in Quezada’s custody.
Both Quezada, 30, and Phifer, 34, have been charged with Injury to a Child. Phifer is being held on a $1 million bond, Quezada’s bond is $500,000.
No word if child pro former CPS workers will face any charges.