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 Riley Ann Sawyer-"Baby Grace" (2) R.I.P.

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PostSubject: Riley Ann Sawyer-"Baby Grace" (2) R.I.P.   Tue Nov 03, 2009 5:45 am

Baby Grace Trial: Grandmother faces accused killer in courtroom
Thursday, October 29, 2009
By Express


Riley Ann Sawyer - Baby Grace

GALVESTON — On the two year anniversary of the discovery of Riley Ann Sawyer’s body hidden inside a blue box on an island in Galveston’s West Bay, the little girl’s grandmother faced accused killer Royce Clyde Zeigler II for the very first time.

Sheryl Sawyers, from Mentor, Ohio, appeared as a witness for the prosecution in Zeigler’s capital murder trial at the Galveston County Courthouse. But in the now two-year saga of Riley, first known as Baby Grace, Sheryl Sawyers had never seen Zeigler before.

“Today is actually the first time I’ve ever seen him in person, other than mug shots,” Sheryl Sawyers said from the witness stand.

Sawyers was called as a character witness to counter claims by Zeigler’s defense that only Kimberly Trenor-Zeigler had the motive and the demeanor to kill Riley. Sawyers, however, said the most severe punishment ever dished out while Trenor and Riley lived with her in Ohio were “timeouts” and that Trenor appeared to “tune out” any temper tantrums Riley might have.

“You don’t discipline a child with physical violence. That just creates fear. I never spanked her father or his brother and I wasn’t going to start with my grandchild,” said Sawyers

Riley was the child of Trenor and Sheryl Sawyers’ son Robert. Both Robert Sawyers and Trenor were teenagers at the time. Trenor and Riley continued to live with Sheryl Sawyers even after the romantic relationship ended between the teen couple.

“I wasn’t going to throw my granddaughter out on the street,” Sawyers said.

To show the close bond between Riley and her grandmother prosecutors entered a single email as evidence.

It was an email to Riley from her grandmother.

“I have attached a picture of your new stepbrother Braden Michael Sawyers,” Sheryl Sawyers wrote. “Hopefully your mother will let you see it. I miss you Riley, and love you very much and hope to see you soon. Love and Kisses . Grandma Sawyers.”

The email is dated October 29th 2007. Riley was found in that box on that island that very same night.

The goal of the defense in Zeigler’s capital murder trial is to prove that Zeigler’s behavior is not that of a monster who deliberately killed a child and masterminded the horrible disposal of her body as depicted in the first trial, but that he was a bewildered, confused, bumbling young man caught up in an accidental death perpetrated only by his wife Kimberly Trenor and that he took part in the cover up to protect her from judicial harm.

It’s a theory prosecutors, investigators, and Riley’s family in Ohio just do not buy.

In the timeline presented in court today prosecutors showed that Zeigler carried on his normal life, that within weeks after Riley’s death, Trenor became pregnant with his child, that Zeigler continued working and appeared unaffected to his family, co-workers and friends.

The initial cover up extended to phone conversations between Zeigler and Sheryl Sawyers. Riley was missing and Sawyers, whose family had visitation rights, wanted to know where she could find Riley.

Zeigler, in an account that has since been proven bogus, told Sawyers, other family and friends, and investigators up until his first official interview on November 23, 2007, that a CPS worker from Ohio and come to their home in Spring and kidnapped the 2 year old.

Only after Riley’s body was found and her likeness broadcast by media around the world, prosecutors sought to prove, did Zeigler’s demeanor change, even leading to a suicide attempt involving an overdose of his prescription blood pressure and anti-anxiety medication.

Prosecutors allege that is part of the evidence of a cold-hearted killer who only became worried about Riley’s death and disposal when the investigation began closing in on him.

Prosecutors seek to prove Trenor and Zeigler killed and disposed of Riley together. Defense attorneys admit Zeigler took part in the cover up and the disposal of the little girl’s body but say his web of lies are not evidence that proves he is the one responsible for Riley’s death. The Galveston County Medical Examiner determined Riley was killed by several blows that caused three skull fractures to the back of her head. At Trenor’s trial her confession was admitted as evidence. She said she and Zeigler took part in an all day discipline session July 25, 2007, that ended with Riley being thrown against a tile floor.

Kimberly Dawn Trenor-Zeigler was convicted of the same charge of capital murder February 2009 and sentenced to life in prison without parole. Zeigler faces the same sentence if convicted. SOURCE: KHOU.COM NEWS 05:44 PM CDT on Thursday, October 29, 2009


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PostSubject: Re: Riley Ann Sawyer-"Baby Grace" (2) R.I.P.   Mon Nov 30, 2009 11:12 am



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PostSubject: Re: Riley Ann Sawyer-"Baby Grace" (2) R.I.P.   Mon Nov 30, 2009 11:17 am

(CNN) -- Before dying, 2-year-old Riley Ann Sawyers was beaten with belts, picked up by her hair, thrown across the room and held under water, according to an affidavit from the Galveston County Sheriff's Office.

Police believe 2-year-old Riley Ann Sawyers is "Baby Grace."

1 of 4 The affidavit says the girl's mother, Kimberly Dawn Trenor, described to police how her daughter died and was put in a plastic storage box that Trenor and her husband, Royce Zeigler, later dumped into a Galveston waterway.

Trenor told police Zeigler tried to commit suicide the weekend before Thanksgiving, and wrote a note that said, "My wife is innocent of the sins that I committed."

The body of the then-unidentified toddler was found on October 29. A fisherman found Riley's body stuffed inside a blue storage container that washed up on an uninhabited island in Galveston's West Bay.

A medical examiner said the child's skull was fractured, and a forensic dentist estimated her age at 2 to 3 years.

Larry King Live
Riley Ann Sawyers’ father, grandmother speak to CNN’s Larry King in their first prime-time interview.
Thursday, 9 p.m. ET

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Police dubbed the child "Baby Grace." A police artist's sketch of her was widely circulated in the news media and prompted a call to Galveston police from Riley's grandmother in Ohio, who had not seen the girl in months.

On Saturday, police arrested Trenor and Zeigler on charges of injuring a child and tampering with physical evidence, the sheriff's department said. Their bonds were set at $350,000 each.

The affidavit, obtained by CNN, says when police interviewed Trenor on November 23, she "gave a voluntary statement on video with her attorney present in which she describes her involvement, with Royce Zeigler, in the physical abuse, death and disposal of the remains of her daughter, Riley Ann Sawyers."

Trenor's statement said on July 24, she and Zeigler both beat the child with leather belts and held her head under water in the bathtub. She said Zeigler picked the girl up by her hair and also threw her across the room, slamming her head into the tile floor.

After her daughter died, Trenor's statement said, she and Zeigler went to a Wal-Mart that night and bought the Sterilite container, a shovel, concrete mix, and other supplies.

The statement said the box containing the child's body was hidden in a storage shed for "one to two months." Then, Trenor said, she and Zeigler carried it to the Galveston Causeway and tossed it in, and she saw it drifting away.

Riley Ann's father, Robert Sawyers, on Monday tearfully remembered her as a "fun-loving girl ... with a big imagination." Watch Riley Ann's father describe the little girl »

Riley was "very active, very hyper, but also very well-behaved," Sawyers told reporters in Mentor, Ohio.

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She would play "with a water hose ... spraying the whole patio soaking wet until she was done with it," he said, as he sat behind two photographs of his daughter, a toddler with wispy blond curls.

Robert Sawyers' mother, Sheryl Sawyers, said the family was "devastated" to learn that police believe Riley is dead.

"It's hard to think that I'll never see her again," she said, clutching a red Elmo doll she had planned to give Riley for Christmas.

Maj. Ray Tuttoilmondo of the Galveston County Sheriff's Department said Monday that authorities are "fairly confident" that the toddler whose body was found on October 29 is Riley Ann Sawyers.

DNA analysis is still in progress to confirm the identification. The results will be available in two to three weeks, Tuttoilmondo said.

Tuttoilmondo said Riley is originally from Mentor, Ohio, a Cleveland suburb, and that "she and her mother came down to Texas earlier this year."

The toddler was last seen in Texas "three or four months ago," Tuttoilmondo said, although he did not know by whom.

Tuttoilmondo said police did investigate whether Child Protective Services had taken Riley away, something the mother had reportedly alleged. Of that report, Tuttoilmondo said, "What we believe is that is not what happened."

The affidavit said Trenor admitted that after the body was found, Zeigler had her type up a fake letter from the Ohio Department of Children's Services saying that Riley was to be taken away.

Trenor left Ohio in late May, after filing an allegation of domestic violence against Robert Sawyers and reaching a joint voluntary agreement that gave her custody of Riley and gave Robert Sawyers visitation rights, the Sawyers' family lawyer said Monday.

"She disappeared," Laura DePledge said Monday at the Ohio news conference with the Sawyers.

Sheryl Sawyers said Monday that she saw widely distributed police sketches of "Baby Grace" and contacted Galveston police in November. The girl in the police sketches strongly resembles photos of Riley.

"No, I never did think it would end up like this," Sheryl Sawyers said Monday, eyes welling. "I guess knowing is better than not knowing."

The girl's family in Ohio has been "very helpful" in this case, Tuttoilmondo said, adding that the FBI and a Galveston County police officer visited the family in Ohio on Sunday.

DePledge said Riley was the product of a "teenage pregnancy." Trenor and Robert Sawyers were together for two years as a result of the pregnancy, DePledge said, during which time they lived with Sheryl Sawyers.

DePledge said Monday that the family, whose grief she described as "simply overwhelming," wants Riley's body returned to Ohio for a memorial service. "What Riley needs is to be brought home," she said. "I think this family needs some closure."

Tuttoilmondo asked anyone who knew the child or her family to help detectives reconstruct the events of Riley's short life.

The toddler's case has touched even hardened police officers, he said. "Any way you look at it, we carry a piece of her with us, and we'll always carry a little piece of her with us," he said Monday.

He held up a small, pink-and-white shoe identical to those the child was wearing when she was found. "That says it all. A little-bitty shoe." E-mail to a friend



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PostSubject: Re: Riley Ann Sawyer-"Baby Grace" (2) R.I.P.   Mon Nov 30, 2009 11:18 am

Police Make Tentative Identification, Arrest Texas Couple
Nov. 26, 2007
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The mother and stepfather of Riley Ann Sawyers, who Texas authorities believe is "Baby Grace," tortured and beat the child on the day she died, according to an affidavit filed with Galveston County authorities in connection with the case.

(ABC)Kimberly Ann Trenor, 19, and her 24-year-old husband, Royce Clyde Zeigler, both of Spring, Texas, are being held in connection with the 2-year-old girl's death on charges of injuring a child and tampering with evidence. The two remain in custody in Galveston County jail, each on $350,000 bond.

In the affidavit, Trenor describes how she and Zeigler beat the toddler with two leather belts and held her head under water in a bathtub on the morning of July 24. Trenor also said in the affivadit that Zeigler picked the child up by her hair and threw her across the room causing her head to slam against a tile floor.

After Sawyers died, Trenor said in the affidavit to the Sheriff's Office, Zeigler covered the child in a purple towel and the pair then went to a Wal-Mart to purchase items to hide and dispose of the body, including a blue plastic container, bleach, a shovel and latex gloves.

According to the affidavit, Trenor said Zeigler hid the container with the remains in a storage shed for two months before the pair tossed the container into the water off Galveston Causeway.

Meanwhile, Sawyers' father and grandmother publicly wept Monday as they demanded justice in the child's "heinous" death.

"It's very rough," said Robert Sawyers, who was Trenor's high school sweetheart. "I'm just so stressed out through all of this ... I keep saying that 'it's hard' would be an understatement."

Texas investigators announced on Monday that they are "fairly confident" the little girl found late last month, stuffed in a plastic box, is the missing child.

"It was a few weeks ago that I held up this shoe and asked, 'Who is Baby Grace?'" Maj. Ray Tuttoilmondo, a spokesman for the Galveston County sheriff's office, said during a news conference in which he announced the weekend arrests of the girl's mother and stepfather in connection with the little girl's disappearance and death.

The pair could face additional charges, Tuttoilmondo said, including possible murder charges.

The arrests come nearly a month after a fisherman in West Galveston Bay discovered the locked box abandoned on a small island. Inside was the body of a child who had suffered a head wound. Authorities appealed to the public for help, releasing a composite sketch of a child they called Baby Grace. Hundreds of tips from around the world poured into the Galveston County sheriff's office.

One of those involved Sawyers, a little girl who was last seen in July, when Trenor reportedly gave her to someone who presented her with custody documents that appeared legitimate, ABC News' Houston affiliate KTRK first reported last week. However, the child was never reported missing to police.

Late last week, detectives requested DNA samples from eight families with missing children resembling Baby Grace. One of the samples was submitted by Robert Sawyers, who still lives in Mentor, Ohio, the town where his daughter lived until her mother left with the girl for Texas.

The tip that Baby Grace might be Sawyers originally came from her paternal grandmother, Sheryl Sawyers, who phoned investigators after she saw the Baby Grace sketch on the Internet.



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PostSubject: Re: Riley Ann Sawyer-"Baby Grace" (2) R.I.P.   Mon Nov 30, 2009 11:19 am