Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Baby Grace, Riley Sawyers: Mother's Grim Tale of Abuse and Death

Major Ray Tuttoilmondo, Galveston County
Sheriff's Department (James Nielson: Chronicle)

The grim details of the last days of little Riley "Baby Grace" Sawyers life have begun to emerge.

From today's Galveston County Daily News:
In an interview, Kimberly Dawn Trenor, 19, of Spring, told investigators that she and her husband, Royce Clyde Zeigler, 24, beat her daughter with two leather belts the morning of July 24, an affidavit says.

They also held her head underwater in the bathtub and Zeigler picked her up by her hair and threw her across the room, slamming her head into tile floor, the affidavit says.

An autopsy on Oct. 30 found that the child had three skull fractures on the back of her head.

The pair also smothered the girl by pushing her face into a pillow in her room and into the cushions of a couch, the affidavit says.

Trenor told investigators that, during the beating, her husband gave the girl child’s pain medication and covered her with a purple towel after she was dead, the affidavit says. [1]
Kimberly and Royce went to Walmart for the specific purpose of picking out a "suitable" container to dispose of little Riley's dead body. One can imagine the two walking the fluorescent lit aisles, looking at various sized plastic containers until choosing the "right" one.

They then wrapped her in plastic and placed her in a blue plastic tote. They put the tote out in a storage shed in the backyard of their Spring home. The authorities are not quite sure how long little Riley's body was kept there, anywhere from one to two months.

One could see Kimberly looking out the kitchen window to the storage shed where her daughter's body lay while she washed the dishes or cooked dinner. Of Royce mowing the lawn or waving to the neighbors, the children who played in the yards next door. Of Kimberly and Royce talking in quiet whispers, discussing where they could take Riley, where no one would ever find the evidence of what they had done.

The couple took the remains in their car and tossed them into the water near the Galveston Causeway, the affidavit says.

On Oct. 29, a fisherman found the plastic bin with the little girl inside.[1]
When the plastic storage tote containing Riley's body was found resting on a sand bar the Galveston County Sheriff's Department took over the investigation. They found her wrapped in plastic, she wore a little pink skirt and matching blouse, little tennis shoes that flashed bright lights from the heels. No one had reported a little girl missing. No one knew who this little girl in the plastic tote was. They released a composite sketch of Riley and dubbed her "Baby Grace." [2]

Did Kimberly and Royce see the newspaper and media reports about the unidentified "Baby Grace" case? Did they discuss the case with neighbors? Did they believe that dumping Riley's body into Galveston Bay would be the end, that somehow, they would be in the clear?

They both sit in Galveston County Jail. One wonders what possible defense their attorney's will present. Bets are, they'll soon point the finger of blame at each other.

[1] - Galveston County Daily News
[2] - Baby Grace and the Little Lost Girl, Riley Sawyers



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