Mother Indicted In Va. Killing
Body of Girl, 13, Found in Creek
By Jonathan MummoloWashington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 4, 2009; Page B01
A Prince William County woman whose 13-year-old adopted daughter was found dead in a shallow creek has been indicted on charges of murder, lying to police and abusing the child, authorities announced yesterday.
Police said Alfreedia Gregg-Glover, 44, of the Manassas area, lied when she told them that her daughter, Alexis “Lexie” Agyepong-Glover, had run away Jan. 7, prompting a massive search. Two days later, Lexie’s body was found in a Woodbridge area creek, and an autopsy determined that she died of drowning and exposure to the cold. Her death was ruled a homicide, and police say Gregg-Glover placed her in the creek.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Paul B. Ebert said the medical examiner believes Lexie was alive when she was placed in the frigid creek, but he would not comment further on the case. He said the abuse charge stems from Gregg-Glover’s conduct on the date of Lexie’s death.
A Prince William grand jury has returned indictments against Gregg-Glover, charging her with first-degree murder, felony murder, felony child abuse and filing a false police report, authorities said. The two murder counts will give the jury the option of finding that Gregg-Glover acted with or without premeditation, they said.
At a news conference to announce the indictments, Ebert said the tragedy of Lexie’s death was compounded by the fact that Gregg-Glover lied to police, wasting the time and resources of those charged with protecting the larger community.
“A lot of expense, time and trouble went to trying to locate this child, believing it was an abduction, when all along the indications are, of course, that the mother was responsible for the disappearance and the death,” Ebert said. “The crime itself is bad enough.”
After Lexie was found in the creek, Gregg-Glover was charged with felony neglect and lying to police, but those charges were dropped by the prosecution last week. She remains free on bond and is due in court Friday, when a trial date will be set and prosecutors will move to have her held without bond, Ebert said.
A phone call to Barry A. Zweig, a court-appointed attorney who represented Gregg-Glover in court last week, was not returned yesterday.
Authorities said that Lexie had run away several times before her disappearance and that sheriff’s deputies had fitted her with a locator bracelet used to track endangered people. The bracelet was found near a Manassas library shortly after Gregg-Glover reported Lexie missing, and authorities said Gregg-Glover placed it there. She then appealed through the media for the safe return of her daughter, who she said had autism and other ailments.
Hundreds of police officers, deputies and volunteers combed the area, using search dogs and helicopters to look for Lexie as darkness descended and temperatures dropped below freezing. On Jan. 9, a man out for a walk found Lexie’s body in a creek eight miles from the library. Gregg-Glover was charged days later.
Allegations that Lexie had been previously abused by Gregg-Glover have surfaced since Lexie’s death. Ebert said yesterday that investigators had been in contact with social services officials.
Former caretakers and counselors who knew Lexie have disputed that she was “disabled,” saying she was an intelligent, affectionate girl. Last week, about 35 people signed letters to county and state officials calling for an investigation into whether Prince William County’s Department of Social Services mishandled Lexie’s case while she was alive and whether procedural changes are necessary to prevent adopted children from landing in the wrong homes.
Tragedy in Plain Sight
Why didn’t anyone come to the aid of Lexie Agyepong-Glover?
Tuesday, March 10, 2009; Page A12
ALEXIS “LEXIE” Agyepong-Glover did what she could to get help. So did the neighbors and school workers who saw signs that the 13-year-old Prince William girl was being abused and neglected. Tragically, though, the same cannot be said about the people, or the system, entrusted with guarding children from harm. The failures surrounding the death of this winsome young girl must be thoroughly investigated, with those responsible held to account and the system fixed.
Alexis was found dead from drowning and exposure in an icy creek on Jan. 9, two days after Alfreedia Gregg-Glover, her adoptive mother, reported her missing. The medical examiner’s report found evidence of old injuries, and Ms. Gregg-Glover was charged with murder, lying to police and child abuse.
The Post’s Jonathan Mummolo has recounted the girl’s desperate efforts to get help. There were multiple reports from people who said they saw signs and incidents of her mistreatment, but county police and child social workers seemed unwilling or unable to do anything about them. There were reports of the girl being put into the trunk of a car and driven away, of her not being properly clothed or fed, of suspicious marks on her body. Lexie would run away, neighbors and officials said, and tell people about her mistreatment — but again and again she was returned home.
It is unclear, because of overly strict confidentiality laws that cloak the case from needed scrutiny, whether individuals made mistakes in judgment or whether there were problems with the system — or both. Did police, social workers and school officials ever sit down to review all of the reports regarding Alexis, or did they operate in silos? Did anyone ever challenge Ms. Gregg-Glover’s assertion that her daughter’s mental condition was the cause of the problems? Why didn’t alarm bells go off when she was pulled out of school?
More also must be known about the circumstances under which Ms. Gregg-Glover was allowed to adopt the girl. Yesterday, Police Chief Charlie T. Deane called for a comprehensive review of all police actions and policies related to the case, including getting ideas for improvement from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
The Virginia Department of Social Services is also conducting a legally mandated review of the county’s handling of the case. It will, though, be up to the Prince William Board of County Supervisors to make all the findings known and to make sure that the cracks through which Lexie fell are closed.