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In Loving Memory of Jayla Beckley Murdered in Foster Care

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on Fri, 08/03/2012 - 21:19
Fight Child Protection Department Corruption: 

Man arrested in death of 11-month-old foster child

El Paso Police Department

EL PASO, Texas —

The foster parent of an 11-month-old girl was arrested Wednesday morning after a police investigation revealed he was responsible for her death, police said.


The arrest affidavit states that Antonio Lopez, 35, reportedly took Jayla Beckley out of her crib and stomped on her. The blunt force caused her organs to bleed, which led to her death.


The toddler's biological grandmother, who had the child taken away in June, said there were circumstances that caused Child Protective Service to remove the baby girl from the home. Jayla’s mother was deemed unfit.


Yet, said Beckley notified authorities that the baby showed signs of abuse.

"I knew she was being abused when I first saw her the first time. Her hair sticking up on her head, like cradle cap, no clean clothes or shoes," Mary Beckley said. A case worker should not put children right there to be abused. They let this one fall through the cracks and I'm very upset about that."

Beckley was taken to University Medical Center July 28 for breathing problems, police said. When she died, police were notified and Crimes Against Children detectives were called to investigate the suspicious circumstances surrounding Beckley's death, police said.

The desperate grandmother said she is seeking answers from CPS as to why nothing was done to remove the child.

Lopez, 27, was booked into the El Paso County Jail and charged with capital murder.


More Comments on Child Protection Corruption Government Baby Kidnapping and Murder


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EL PASO, Texas -

Child Protective Services is addressing allegations that they could have prevented the death of foster baby Jayla Beckley. Police say Jayla died last Saturday at the hands of her foster parent, Antonio Lopez.

CPS says the baby's mother could've done more to keep her child. A CPS spokesman told ABC-7 Antonio Lopez passed all the background checks and appeared trustworthy, and that they are horrified by Jayla's death. But they also said the baby never had to be in his home in the first place.

The baby's biological mother, Lachreasha Beckley, is an admitted drug user, and a CPS spokesman said her refusal to clean up gave them no choice but to remove her baby from the home. Beckley disagrees.

"Do you feel responsible for her death?" ABC 7 asked Lachreasha Beckley. "No I do not," she said.

Beckley admitted she hasn't been the best parent. Lachreasha's on-going battle with crack cocaine has forced her mother, Mary, to adopt her two sons, and take in Jayla before her death. According to Child Protective Services, Jayla was only removed from Mary Beckley's home and put in the foster system because of Lachreasha Beckley's actions.

"We worked extensively with this family to try to come up with a safe placement option to keep this child out of foster care," said CPS spokesman Paul Zimmerman. "The family would not agree. And we basically had no other option to but to put the child into foster care to guarantee her safety."

But Beckley told ABC-7 she wanted Jayla to remain in her care while she attended a rehab facility, a request she said CPS denied.

"I feel like there was no reason for them to remove that baby from the house," Beckley said. "And I feel like they just did it because they were CPS and that's what they wanted to do. And because they felt like I was not cooperating, which I was. If you go looking in the case file, you will see where I have signed paperwork because I do need help because I'm carrying another child. And I knew I needed help and I was reaching out," she said.

Court documents obtained by ABC-7 stateBeckley was breaking into her mother's home, smoking crack on the property and stealing the car. Because she is the custodial parent of Jayla, CPS feared Beckley could legally run off with the baby, putting her in harm's way.

"We did everything we could to prevent that child from going into foster care, because we knew that was a better placement," Zimmerman said.

When confronted by this information, Beckley admitted, she's partially to blame.

"I have a lot of guilt. Because the bottom line is that if I would have been handling my responsibilities, this would have never happened," she said.

While both sides are pointing fingers, the fact is a baby is dead. CPS is investigating foster parent Antonio Lopez, trying to figure out what went wrong. Police said Lopez admitted he picked the baby up, put her on the floor and stomped on her chest. The 11-mont-old died an hour after 911 was called to the house.

Beckley, currenly pregnant with baby number five, told ABC-7 she is working to be a better mother.

"I feel like I made a mistake now that's taken somebody's life. I fixin' to grow up and be a responsible adult," she said.

Beckely and her mother, Mary, claim they knew Lopez was abusing Jayla before her death. When asked if anyone had checked up on Jayla, Zimmerman said that's all part of CPS and Residential Childcare Licencing's investigation which should last 30 to 60 days.

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Mary Beckley thinks her granddaughter’s death could have been prevented.

Eleven-month-old Jayla Beckley was taken from Beckley’s home and placed with foster parent Antonio Lopez in June.

Lopez, 27, was arrested Wednesday morning and charged with capital murder after allegedly taking Jayla Beckley out of her crib last Saturday, putting her on the floor, and stomping on the baby's chest, according to court documents. She died later that day.

Beckley said she was caring for Jayla, as well as her two grandsons, when Child Protective Services found her unfit. She maintains Jayla was well cared for and there was no justification for removing her.

She also said after Jayla was removed she visited her at Lopez's home and claimed she saw signs of abuse and told CPS workers.

"That baby could have still been alive if they would of went in there on the first time they saw child abuse," Beckley said. "The second time I saw her someone had cut the hair out of the back of her head and they had braided her hair so tight. She was in pain. And I got pictures of that too. And we got pictures of where she was cigarette burned on the side. I made (caseworker) Ms. Speilman take pictures of that and I told her you will handle this. You will handle this situation. 'I'll look into it,' she said. Look into it? I want it handled!"

Beckley is raising her grandchildren because she said her daughter has a drug addiction. But she is only the legal guardian of her two grandsons, not Jayla.

After caseworkers reported concerns about Beckley, including her health, the children's behavior at school, an incident where Beckley left the children in the car for 20 minutes while she bought food and diapers, and concerns about Jayla's biological mother, Lachreasha Beckley visiting Beckley's home.

CPS removed Jayla because "...after extensively working with the family, they could not guarantee the safety of the child and had to remove her."

Beckley's claims Jayla was abused in the foster home are currently a part of the CPS on-going investigation, but Beckley said it's too late for that.

CPS officials said they are shocked by Antonio Lopez's actions, who underwent rigorous background checks and are investigating what happened before Jayla's death.


EL PASO, Texas -

By ABC-7 Reporter Ashlie Rodriguez

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Friends and family said goodbye today to baby Jayla Beckley.

The 11 month old died as a result of child abuse. El Paso police say her foster father stomped on her.

It was a tearful gathering of family and friends who say this could all have been prevented if Jayla hadn't been taken from her home and placed in foster care.

" Whenever she would meet someone she would bring their face to her lips and give them a beautiful kiss. When people would see her they would say what a beautiful angel," said Jayla's grandmother Mary Beckley.

Jayla's grandmother grieved by her granddaughter's casket. The small coffin was draped in white with flowers and a teddy bear placed on top.

" I want to see this man that murdered my child, my grand baby, she was my baby, to stomp her to death, Want him to be stomped to death too. That's what I want,"said Beckley.

Beckley says the baby had just moved to the Lopez home six weeks ago after Child Protective Services took her away from her.

"They took her out of my home because they said she wasn't safe due to the fact that I was elderly although I had two other of the siblings in the family," said Beckley.

Jayla's aunt Regina Elliot says her niece's death could have been prevented.

"They had no reason to remove her and place her in the hands of a murderer. If they didn't want her to be with Mary, than why not with us," said Elliot.

Paul Zimmerman with Child Protective Services says foster care is always the last resort.

"We had worked extensively with this family, in the past to try and find a way to keep Jayla out of foster care but ultimately the family could not reach an agreement for her to stay safely in the home that she was staying in. And we basically had our hands tied and had no choice but to put her in foster care," said Zimmerman.

CPS had tried to get Jayla's mother to sign a safety plan so that Jayla could be placed with a family member.
The agency says that Jayla's mother frequently visited Jayla and the other children,exposing them to illegal substance abuse and erratic, unsafe behavior. Elliott says there were early signs of abuse in that foster home.

"She had two black eyes, she had a bruise right here. Her lips were purple, she had hair missing from the back of her head. We've got pictures of that. Child Protective Services was aware," said Elliott.

"We'll look into establishing a timeline, of everybody who saw that child, during her stay at foster care. We're gonna ask questions like were there signs of abuse? Were they reported? Were they legitimate and what was done if that happened," said Zimmerman.

Mary Beckley wants justice for her granddaughter.

"This is a heinous crime and justice should be in order because all these little kids that are in the system, they can't speak for themselves, they cannot protect themselves, and they're being abused by the system because people want money, bloody money," said Beckley.