CPS workers fired after 4-year-old Grand Prairie girl's death
A Child Protective Services caseworker, supervisor and special investigators are no longer with the agency following the death of a 4-year-old girl in Grand Prairie.
CPS confirmed the caseworker and supervisor working on the Leiliana Wright case were fired. The special investigator who worked on the case resigned.
Police said Leiliana’s life ended because her mother and her mother’s boyfriend shot up heroin, then beat and tortured her for drinking her brother’s juice. Jeri Quezada and Charles Phifer are now locked up and both charged with felony injury of a child.
The girl’s grandparents said they tried to get help from CPS after seeing signs of possible abuse. They say they sent CPS several pictures from November 2014 of Leiliana with a busted lip, bruising on her cheek and green circles under her eyes.
“Those that failed her for the last year, year and a half, those agencies who should have listened to us. Maybe this wouldn't have happened,” said Alisa Clakley, her grandmother.
At one point, Aisa recalled asking Leiliana if her bruising was really from falling off a swing. Alisa said the 4-year-old shook her head and got watery-eyed.
Jerry Clakley says he'd promised his granddaughter he'd always protect her, but had no idea he'd have to try to save her from her own mother and others who were supposed to look out for her.
"I wasn't there," Jerry said. "I wonder if she was asking for me when she was being beaten."
Her biological father also told FOX 4 he saw the warning signs but couldn’t prove it and couldn’t get help because of what he called legal and CPS red tape.
“The last memory I have of seeing her face, she was crying in terror for me not to send her back to her mamma. She was begging me and all I could do was sit there and watch. She had custody, what was I supposed to do,” said Brian Maker, Leiliana’s father.
Even though Quezada was a felon and known drug user, the family claims a judge still gave her custody of Leiliana. They now hope Leiliana’s legacy will live on in the form of policy change and the protection of other kids.
CPS said it is working on a report that will detail all previous contact with the girl’s mother and which, if any, policies were not followed.