Stepdad LESTER "CASEY" GRIFFIN is in jail on charges of murdering his 2-year-old stepson. Stepdad was arrested in April 2008 on child abuse charges, but got out of jail on a $500 bond. Of course, there was no follow up by the authorities. Stepdad also had a baby with the child's mother.
Family speaks out about toddler's death
Posted: Jul 01, 2009 4:15 PM CDT
Updated: Jul 03, 2009 8:45 AM CDT
By Michelle Paynter - bio email
SPRINGFIELD, GA (WTOC) - There's new information about the Springfield man charged with murdering his 2-year-old stepson.
Lester "Casey" Griffin has been in jail since Tuesday afternoon and now we know he's has been there before. He was arrested a year ago for child abuse.
Wednesday, the little boy's great aunt Crystal Houston, is speaking out about the nightmare she and her family are going through.
Houston said she now cherishes the few pictures she has of her nephew, Dylan Helmey. She took some photos of him on her cell phone on Easter. That was the last time she saw Dylan alive.
"Heartbroken, heartbroken. He's such a precious little boy," she said. "He's a boy in every sense of the word, just a little cutie pie."
Houston is still struggling to accept that Dylan is gone and that his stepfather is charged with murder.
"It's just like anybody you know, you don't expect it," she said of Griffin. "I'm shocked."
Neighbors were also still in shock and continued to question what happened to Dylan at the Spring Hallow apartment complex in Springfield.
Neighbors said they haven't seen any sign of the family since the little boy was found dead in an apartment on Sunday.
They now know Griffin is in the county jail. And it turns out he's been there before. In April 2008, he was arrested for child abuse.
The charge was cruelty to a child in the first degree. A judge let him out of jail on a $500 bond.
Houston said she doesn't know anything about that arrest and never saw Dylan with any injuries. She said she's just now hearing that there may have been prior abuse.
"If there was abuse then everyone is at fault because everyone, someone should have stepped up and done something," she said.
Houston said maybe then the family would be celebrating Dylan's third birthday next week. Instead they are laying him to rest on Friday.
"Abuse usually doesn't end very well, it never has in any story I've ever read and if that were true, why didn't someone call DFACS, call somebody," she said.
Now Houston said the only thing she can do to is make sure Dylan is not forgotten and hopes his tragic story may prevent other children from being abused.
Dylan's mother is Ciara Helmey. Houston said she hasn't seen her since Sunday and so far, Helmey is not facing any charges.
Helmey and Griffin have a child together, an infant son. Houston said he is now in the state's custody.