Day care owner charged with Child
Abuse after allegedly hiding 26 children
behind false wall
Colorado Springs, CO – Earlier this week, Colorado Springs, Colorado, day care owner Carla Faith, 58, was charged with child abuse and attempt to influence a public servant after 26 toddlers were found behind a false wall at Faith’s day care facility last month.
The day care attached as a secondary building from Faith’s home underwent a welfare check on Nov. 13 when authorities came across two adults and more than 20 children under the age of three. The search began after a series of complaints that Faith “was housing more children in their care than their licensed allowed,” the City of Colorado Springs said in a statement.
Colorado Springs officer Janel Langdon-Issac discovered the children and two adults in the basement of Faith’s home after hearing children’s music, despite Faith denying of having a lower ground floor, according to ABC affiliate KRDO.
During the search, Officer Jordan Parker bumped into a wall and felt it move, KRDO reported. When Officer Parker pushed against the wall, authorities discovered a stairwell leading to a finished basement area.
“I spend a minute or two in my car with a tear in my eye because I’m trusting somebody else,” said Ethan Steinberg, an uncle of an enrolled child, in an interview with KRDO. “ It took about an hour until [police] realized where the kids were and that breaks my heart because I don’t know if my niece was down there.”
KRDO also reports that Faith was caught in a similar situation during the late ’90s but in California.
“It’s just not something that’s part of our application process, nor do we really have the authority to require that information,” said Erin Mewhinney, the Division Director Of Early Childhood Care and Learning, in an interview with KRDO. “We’re working with the state board of human services to allow the department the authority to require child abuse and neglect records from other states of an applicant is coming in from another state.”
Faith’s day care license only permitted her to care for up to six children between the ages of zero and 13, more specifically, only two of these children could be under the age of two, according to an affidavit obtained by KRDO.
“It’s so hard to trust your children with people and we felt we could really trust them,” said parent Jeanette Conde to KRDO. “ I’m completely betrayed, every parent that I’ve talked to, we all feel completely betrayed.”
Dismissed jurors discuss Kenneth Robert Davis’ felony Child Abuse case
GREENE COUNTY, MO – A Greene County jury is deliberating the fate of an accused child abuser.
Robert Davis is charged with 7 felonies for brutally beating and torturing his then, 8 year-old daughter last year.
Attorneys for both sides stated their cases to the jury one last time Thursday morning.
The prosecution declares that Davis severely beat his daughter and that they proved their case beyond a reasonable doubt.
The defense argued that the state tried to make Davis look bad. They insist that he did not abuse her.
We spoke to two alternate jurors after they were dismissed from the case.
“I felt like I’d ran a race and never got to cross the finish line. I feel glad because I don’t have to be a part of it but I also wish I was able to finish out what we started. I think he was, can I say, a big fat liar? I thought he was a big fat liar,” said Julie Kennedy.
Heather Hutson was also dismissed from the case.
She said, “The defense just seemed kind of almost lost. They weren’t really sure where to go. This guy was guilty. The defense didn’t seem to put up too much of a fight. There was nothing to prove his innocence or to defend his innocence I should say.”
Davis is also charged in the beating death of two year-old Kinzlea Kilgore.
He’ll be in front of a Dallas County, Missouri judge for that case next week.
WYOMING, MI – A Wyoming man was arrested after he allegedly tried to set up a meeting to sexually assault children, state police say.
Alexander Joseph Piscitelli, 22, was arraigned on two counts of child sexually abusive activity and two counts of using a computer to commit a crime.
The Michigan State Police Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force says Piscitelli arranged online to pay someone to have sexual contact with a 5 and 8-year-old child. But the person he was communicating with was an undercover detective.
MSP says it found more evidence against Piscitelli when officers searched his home after the arrest.
Online records show Piscitelli was booked into the Kent County jail Thursday and that he was being held on a $100,000 bond.
Tips about exploitation of a child online can be submitted to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children®. CyberTipline 1-800-843-5678
Information on talking to your kids about online safety can be found on MSP’s website
Leiliana was beaten with a bamboo switch and belts and thrown against a wall. Her mother, 33-year-old Jeri Quezada, pleaded guilty to felony injury to a child as part of a plea agreement that will lock her behind bars for 50 years.
State District Judge Robert Burns told Phifer that life behind bars was insufficient for what Leiliana suffered.
“I think this is the worst case I’ve ever seen,” Burns told Phifer.
“Hanging a little girl in a locked closet was savage. You should die in a locked closet,” the judge said.
Jurors deliberated for about four hours before delivering the guilty verdict.
Many were visibly shaken during the three days of testimony, during which they were shown photos of Leiliana’s battered body.
The little girl was covered from head to toe in bruises and had at least 30 bruises on her back from where she was whipped.
Defense attorneys John Tatum and Stephen Miller argued that Quezada is a liar who was trying to save herself by blaming Phifer for her daughter’s death.
“She set Charles up because that was the only way to get out of this,” Miller said.
Leiliana’s death exposed a staffing crisis in Child Protective Services. The girl’s paternal grandparents reported possible abuse to the state agency months before she was killed.
Quezada was a known drug user and had run-ins with child protection authorities in Texas and Illinois, where she received probation for hitting her stepson.
Quezada had five children, including Leiliana, with three different men. The surviving four children are living with relatives.
“Charles Phifer does not have any motive to hurt or do anything to this child,” Miller said. “He’s living in a house rent free with no obligations. Why would he screw that up?”
“She’s the one who keeps having kids she doesn’t want,” he said.
A medical report presented by defense attorneys shows that Leiliana had bruises on her body at least a month before her death. Defense counsel argued that the prior abuse shows Quezada was responsible for her girl’s death.
During trial, Quezada admitted that she would sometimes hit her daughter. She said she used a switch made from bamboo to strike the little girl’s legs.
Prosecutors Eren Price and Travis Wiles argued that Quezada and Phifer were responsible for Leiliana’s death but that Phifer was the one who was alone with the child for hours the day of her deadly beating.
Price disputed the defense counsel’s accusation that Quezada was simply saving herself by pinning Leiliana’s death on Phifer.
“I’m not sure the next 50 years in prison can be considered saving your own skin,” Price argued.
The prosecutor said someone needed to shed light on what happened to Leiliana, and Quezada’s story was backed up by evidence.
A strand of the girl’s hair was found embedded in the wall where Quezada said Phifer threw the girl. Leiliana’s DNA was also found on gloves used by Phifer, a DNA expert testified during the trial.
Quezada said she saw her daughter vomit in the living room and then Phifer put on gloves, grab the girl by her cheeks, lift her from the ground and pour Pedialyte down the child’s throat.
The mother also said Phifer showed her where he had tied up Leiliana in a dark, tiny closet in the living room. Leiliana’s wrists were bound behind her body and she was “strung up” so she couldn’t sit.
“There’s nothing warm and fuzzy about this story,” Wiles said during closing arguments. “The last loving arms that reached out for Leiliana Wright were the strong, loving arms of a stranger.”
During the trial, a paramedic who tried to save Leiliana cried recounting how badly bruised the little girl was.
Wiles said Quezada’s story about the 48 hours or so before Leiliana’s death is corroborated by cellphone records.
Those records showed Quezada was away with her youngest child for much of the day. She testified she went with her family to eat at an Arlington steakhouse that night. Quezada’s mother confirmed.
Leiliana stayed with Phifer.
“This man was trusted not just with her care but her life, and he took it,” Wiles argued.
Quezada returned to the Grand Prairie home after 9 p.m. She said that when she got there, her first concern was using heroin with Phifer.
She later asked about Leiliana, and that’s when she discovered her daughter was in the closet.
“In life, Leiliana Wright deserved peace. In her death, she deserves justice,” Wiles said.