Investigators ID Baby Grace, Arrest Mom and Stepdad
by: Jack Williams, November 26, 2007 12:11:00 am
Investigators say they're awaiting DNA samples for confirmation, but are convinced the young girl in a pink outfit found by a fisherman on a small island October 29th is Riley Ann Sawyers, who had moved to Texas with her mother earlier this year from a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. Galveston County Sheriff's Major Ray Tuttoilmondo says there aren't a lot of details in the investigation yet.
"What we do know is this. Riley's mother, who is 19-year-old Kimberly Dawn Trenor and her husband, who is Royce Clyde Zeigler, who's 24, both of Spring, Texas are currently in the Galveston County Jail, charged with one count each of injury to a child and tampering with physical evidence."
He says a "series of tragic events" led to Riley's death, but wouldn't elaborate and wouldn't say what exactly led to the arrests or Trenor and Zeigler early Saturday morning. Holding a small shoe like the one the girl was wearing when she was found and fighting his emotions, Tuttoilmondo says Riley has a permanent place in investigator's hearts.
"Any way you look at it, we carry a piece of her with us and will always carry a little piece of her with us. Any way you look at it, she's still our little girl. She now has a family. She has people that will care for her and make sure a box in West Galveston Bay is not where she ended her life."
Riley's father still lives in Ohio. Investigators say Trenor met Zeigler on the internet and moved to Spring earlier this year. Tips from the girl's family in Ohio who had seen an artist's sketch of "Baby Grace" led investigators to the couple. This is FBI Special Agent in Charge of the Houston office Andrew Bland.
"When you see a situation like that come about, you're left with a sense of she didn't deserve to have her life ended this way. So that which creates sadness also creates a sense of commitment on our part to ensure we're doing everything possible to work with the sheriff's office to make sure the people who perpetrated this horrible crime are brought to justice."
Dawn Davis is with the Laura Recovery Center and helped set-up a website for the public to post tips and information about the girl who was known as "Baby Grace" for almost a month.
"What happened to her should never have happened and that part is the difficult part. Also the part that she has a family that is going to have to deal with the situation and with losing a child. That will be part of their life forever now."
Investigators won't say if they think anyone else was involved in Riley's death, but do say tips in the case have led them to open investigations into 22 other missing girls, some in Texas.