Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Grand jury to hear case of 5-year-old girl slain by custodial dad, stepmom (Chesapeake, Virginia)

The case against custodial dad JOSHUA SAWYER and the stepmom will now be heard by a grand jury. The two are accused of abusing and murdering dad's 5-year-old daughter last June. The abusive custodial dad had previously fought the little girl's mother for custody--and this is the predictable and horrifying result.

I have also posted an earlier article from June on this case for additional background, just at the bottom of this post.

Chesapeake grand jury to hear slain 5-year-old case

Chesapeake girl kept in box, denied food, warrants say
Parents fought for custody of Chesapeake girl who died

By Louis Hansen
The Virginian-Pilot
© November 25, 2009

A grand jury will hear the case of a father and stepmother accused of abusing and killing his 5-year-old daughter.

Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court Chief Judge Larry D. Willis on Tuesday certified charges of second-degree murder and felony child abuse against Joshua Sawyer.

His wife, Brandy Sawyer, this week waived her right to a preliminary hearing and faces charges of first-degree murder and felony child neglect. Both are being held without bond.

The hearing Tuesday afternoon was closed to the public. Willis rejected requests by The Virginian-Pilot and a local television station to witness the hearings. Prosecution and defense lawyers declined to comment about the testimony.

On June 10, police responded to an emergency call on the 1400 block of Oliver Ave. and found Carly Sawyer unresponsive. The girl was taken to Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters, where she died the next day.

A medical examiner determined that Carly died of blunt-force trauma. Investigators also found evidence the girl was bound, burned, starved and her medical needs neglected.

Court records say that the Sawyers kept the girl in a cardboard box as punishment.

Joshua Sawyer also told police his daughter was hit with a belt because she was not potty-trained.

Sawyer is a former corporal in the Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq. The Sawyers had custody of Carly.

Carly's mother, Jennifer Kimery, and other family and friends attended the hearing, which lasted more than an hour.

Police: Child kept in box and starved
5-year-old girl died Thursday

Updated: Thursday, 18 Jun 2009, 12:47 PM EDT
Published : Thursday, 18 Jun 2009, 12:46 PM EDT

MaryKay Mallonee

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) - Punishment for the little girl with long chesnut curls, big brown eyes and a soft little smile was taking time-out in a cardboard box with her wrists bound with mesh, according to an affidavit filed in Chesapeake Circuit Court.

Carly Sawyer, 5, was also cut, burned, whipped with a belt and starved before she was killed, according to the document.

Chesapeake paramedics rushed Carly to a hospital in Norfolk last Wednesday.

Thursday she was dead.

Blunt force trauma caused severe brain damage, according to an autopsy. Starvation and medical neglect also contributed to the child's death.

Carly's father and step-mother, Joshua and Brandy Sawyer, are in jail charged with her murder as well as felony child neglect. obtained search warrants and affidavits in court that paint a painful picture of Carly's last days.

A detective wrote in the documents that he questioned Carly's father who admitted to "disciplining" the little girl by keeping her in a cardboard box, withholding food from her and whipping her with a belt.

"How can you hurt such a beautiful child," said Carly's biological mother Jennifer Kimery at her parents' house near Baton Rouge, La. "All she wanted to do was bring love and happiness into the world."

Kimery says she lost custody of Carly to Sawyer during a vicious divorce and has not seen or spoken to her little girl for more than a year.

"That baby, she was something special, I feel lucky to have been her mother."

Kimery says her father was the one to break the news to her that little Carly was dead.

"He said, 'Your baby is coming home. Carly has passed.' I went numb," said Kimery.

Court papers indicate the paramedics who were called to the Sawyers' house last week for an "unresponsive child" saw suspicious wounds on Carly, cuts and bruises, so they immediately notified police.

Chesapeake officers arrived at the townhouse on Oliver Avenue and talked to Joshua and Brandy Sawyer, according to the affidavit.

"Their story was that Mrs. Sawyer spanked the child and then the child threw herself to the floor," Detective J.G. Thomas wrote in the document.

The affidavit goes on to say Carly was taken to Childrens Hospital of the Kings Daughters in Norfolk where doctors examined the child and found she had suffered a "severe brain injury, lacerations to her body, contusions, burns and ligature marks on her wrists."

Despite the doctors' efforts, Carly died the next day in the hospital.

Brandy Sawyer is charged with First Degree Murder and Felony Child Neglect.

Joshua Sawyer is charged with Second Degree Murder and Felony Child Neglect. was in court Monday when Brandy's parents, in from North Carolina, petitioned for temporary custody of the other two children in the home.

Detectives discovered email messages Brandy allegedly sent to her friends complaining "about how stressed she was over the children," according to the affidavit.

When police searched the Sawyers' house they say they seized pieces of evidence including: (1)Two cardboard boxes, (2) one bloody paper towel, (3) one roll of blue mesh, (4) one black belt, (5) two insurance documents for Carly Sawyer, (6) one digital video camera, (7) nine photos of Carly Sawyer.

In court Wednesday a judge denied a request by Joshua Sawyer to get out of jail on bond. Brandy Sawyer is scheduled to appear in court Thursday morning for her bond hearing.

Carly's mother and maternal grandparents say they had to fight to get custody of Carly's body to bury her. They were successful and are planning a funeral for the child in Liousiana. The details have not been finalized.

Family members declined to comment after the decision.