"There are days when you feel like you are going to lose your mind"
In an interview with ABC 13 Sheryl Sawyers' grief was raw. Sheryl said she felt as if she were in a bad dream, that this was something that only happened to other people. Both Sheryl and Robert's love for their little Riley was apparent.
Robert and Sheryl came to Galveston, Texas, the little city that sits on an island east of the giant metropolis of Houston. A place where the green-blue waves of the Gulf of Mexico roll up to sandy beaches that stretch for 32 miles. Where the seagulls chase after the shrimp boats and ships come to port from all over the world.
A city that seems old fashioned with trolleys and quaint architecture. A place to come to unwind and relax. Where one can sit on the beach and watch the sun sparkle and dance across the waves. Where on the late afternoon of October 29th a fisherman made a gruesome discovery. A plastic storage tote which had come to rest on a sand bar. Inside, the decomposing body of a little girl.
Sheryl and Robert came to Galveston to trace the route of Riley's last journey. They took a boat out to the place where Riley was found. With them they carried a little purse, because Sheryl said Riley was a real "girly girl". Along with the purse, a stuffed teddy bear, for Riley.
Riley's father, Robert and mother, Kimberly Trenor, were high school sweethearts back in Mentor, Ohio. When Kimberly became pregnant she moved in with Robert and his family. After Kimberly had Riley they continued to live with the Sawyers.
Sheryl was there every step of the way for little Riley. She watched her little granddaughter grow: from a little baby to a toddler, to a tiny little girl who loved her grandmother's makeup.
Kimberly had been in a long-term online relationship with a man from Texas, Royce Zeigler. In June Kimberly moved to be with Royce taking Riley with her. Within a month Kimberly and Royce were married. A few weeks later Riley was dead. Her tiny body wrapped in plastic, stored in a storage tote in a shed in the back yard of a house in Spring, Texas, 74 miles northwest of Galveston.
Riley's body remained in the shed, one month--maybe two--no one is quite sure. Kimberly and Royce drove the 70 plus miles to the Galveston Causeway and set the storage tote adrift with Riley's body inside.
Robert and Sheryl plan on going to the neighborhood in Spring to talk with the neighbors; to the last place Riley was alive. Riley's body remains with the Galveston County Coroner.
Royce Zeigler's attorney has made a motion to allow an expert to perform an independent exam on Riley's body. No cause of death has been released by the Galveston County Prosecutor's office.
Initial findings indicate that Riley had 3 skull fractures to the back of her head. Both Kimberly and Royce have been charged with Capital Murder and remain in jail on $350,000 bond.
Kimberly is now pregnant with her second child.
Sheryl said in the ABC interview that she is haunted by Riley's last hours: of the precious little girl being tortured by Kimberly and Royce.
"I think of that night and I get that picture of her crying and screaming for somebody to help her and there was nobody, nobody not even her mother," Sheryl said. [abc13.com]Grief has no expiration date. It is our sincerest hope that some day Sheryl's nightmares of Riley's last hours are replaced by the other happier memories of her little Riley. We never knew Riley, but we grieve for her family: for their loss, for their pain.
Riley's storage tote came to rest near the island of Galveston on the Gulf of Mexico. For the most part, the gulf is tranquil where the blue sky and white puffy clouds meet the blue green sea. Where one can look out over the eastern horizon and feel the warm gulf breezes blow, smell the salty air watch the gentle waves that wash upon the shore.
A place of meditation, a place of solace, but also a playful place: where at times dolphins frolic near the shore and pesky seagulls keep watch for morsels to steal.
Riley's no longer here but her memory is now carried in the hearts of those who love her, who mourn her. Her journey here on Earth was a short one; Robert and Sheryl's has just begun.
A journey of grief, of mourning, of questioning, and someday, of acceptance.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Riley's family.
Source - ABC13.com
Source - DBPK - Baby Grace Timeline
Source - DBKP - Baby Grace, Riley Sawyers: Mother's Grim Tale of Abuse and Death
Source - DBKP - Riley Sawyers: Mom, Stepfather Claim Their Innocence
DBKP.com - Bigger, Better!.
Death by 1000 Papercuts Front Page