Child Restored To Mother's Custody After Beating Dies Of New Injuries
Apr. 22, 1986
CHICAGO (AP) _ A 3-year-old girl who was taken from her mother's custody after saying the woman's boyfriend beat her has died of injuries after being returned to her mother, and the boyfriend is charged with murder.
Eleticia Asbury suffered injuries that were ''too many to count,'' said Detective James Gildea. An autopsy revealed broken ribs, internal bleeding and burns and bruises over most of her body, authorities said Monday.
Elijah Stanciel, 25, who had been charged with breaking the girl's leg in 1984, was being held without bond and prosecutors said they plan to seek the death penalty. The girl's mother, Violeta Burgos, 22, was not charged, police said.
Gildea said Stanciel became angry Saturday because Eleticia wet her pants and spit up her food in his apartment. He said said Stanciel later admitted to police that he punched the child to discipline her.
Ms. Burgos carried her daughter about two blocks to her own apartment. But by the time she called an ambulance and Eleticia arrived at St. Francis Hospital in Evanston, she had been dead for half an hour, authorities say.
Eleticia's father and his family said others must share the blame for the killing. They pointed to the state Department of Children and Family Services, which last month lifted a supervision order after restoring Eleticia to Ms. Burgos' custody.
The department took Eleticia away from Ms. Burgos and put her in foster care in December 1984 after the youngster suffered a spiral fracture of the leg, caused by twisting, said Assistant State's Attorney Gregory Girote.
The child told a doctor that Stanciel had hurt her, Gildea said, but ''2- year-olds can't sign,'' so Ms. Burgos signed a criminal complaint against him. However, when the case came to court, she dropped the charges.
The state took custody of Eleticia and Ms. Burgos received individual and family counseling and parenting classes, said Jo Warfield, department spokeswoman. She ''appeared to be making progress and insisted to us she had nothing to do with Elijah Stanciel anymore.''
Caseworkers made 20 visits to Ms. Burgos' home and saw no sign of Stanciel between Oct. 18, when she resumed custody, and March 26, when a judge said department supervision was no longer necessary, the spokeswoman said.
Eleticia's father, Andre Asbury, and his mother, Carolyn Smith, said the state should have been more careful.
''I just know somebody messed up,'' said Andre, who had tried to gain custody of the child.
''We knew they (Stanciel and Ms. Burgos) were seeing each other. We just couldn't prove it,'' Smith said.