Two Illinois grandparents have been arrested and charged with first-degree murder after they allegedly whipped their 5-year-old granddaughter to death for defecating on herself, police said.
According to NBC Chicago, the deceased minor, identified as Jada Moore, had been staying with her grandparents after her mother entrusted the 5-year-old in their care because she had “fallen on hard times” and was yet to get a job, a bond proffer said.
The accused couple, identified as Klent Elwoods, 62, and 57-year-old Lisa Jones, got to know about their daughter’s predicament after they visited her in Georgia in March. Following the visit, they returned to their Illinois home with little Jada.
But authorities later established the accused couple had been physically assaulting the minor prior to her death. Authorities said that on July 14, Elwoods called 911 and informed the operator his “little granddaughter” was “out of it” after he beat her.
The proffer said that officers who responded to the scene found Jada “lying on the couch completely nude.” Paramedics at the home subsequently executed life-saving measures on the minor before she was later pronounced dead at a children’s hospital.
The proffer added that officers who went back to the home retrieved a “belt, a pair of children’s shorts with underwear inside (both of which were soiled), and a notarized letter from [Jada’s mother] giving the [grandparents] custody for school and medical decisions.”
Prosecutors also said that a calendar that was seen on a refrigerator marked four dates that the deceased 5-year-old had defecated on herself, NBC Chicago reported.
The report stated that Jones informed police Jada “has a history of ‘pooping’ on herself.” “The last time [Jada] defecated on herself, Elwoods told her that he was going to punish her by whipping her with a belt,” the report added.
After discovering their granddaughter had once again defecated on herself on the night of July 14, the report said the accused couple asked the minor about her actions. “Elwoods then reminded [Jada] what he would do if she defecated on herself again. Elwoods then grabbed a belt and had [Jada] bend over. Elwoods then proceeded to strike [Jada] on her buttocks between 10 and 12 times,” the report stated.
Jones allegedly told police her granddaughter fell on the ground each time she was whipped, adding that she did not get up after the last hit, Law&Crime reported. Prosecutors also said the accused couple said they usually punished their granddaughter by using a belt, shoe, and their hands to hit her.
Jones “admitted that both defendants had been beating [Jada] as early as one month after [she] came to reside with them,” a prosecutor reportedly said.
An autopsy report also revealed the minor suffered multiple injuries from the beatings meted out to her. Officials ruled her cause of death as a homicide by multiple injuries due to child abuse.