The little girl told police officers her 41-year-old stepfather and her biological mother would “whoop” her with a belt, sometimes tearing her skin, even as she screamed in pain and vomited on the floor.
Other times, the 7-year-old said, her parents forced her to sleep on the garage floor without bedding, food, or a toilet, compelling her to eat frozen food from the freezer, and to soil herself.
Authorities at Meadowridge Elementary in Kent told police they found the starving girl eating out of a garbage can and drinking out of a toilet for water. According to court papers, Auburn police found food in the home, but her parents would not let her eat it.
Last Friday, May 18, the King County Prosecutor charged Roderick Lamont Grey, 41, and his wife, Audrey Lashan Grey, 34, with second-degree child assault-domestic violence and second-degree criminal mistreatment.
Roderick Grey is in King County Jail on $500,000 bail, and Audrey Grey on $100,000 bail.
According to court papers, police booked the couple into jail this past January, but at the time the state lacked a number of medical records it needed to determine the extent of the girl’s injuries, and the abuse her parents had inflicted on her between Aug. 20, 2015 and Jan. 23, 2018.
Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Nichole Weston had the following to tell the court at Friday’s bail hearing:
“A child abuse doctor at Children’s Hospital described the girl as malnourished and the lack of nutrients contributed to her lack of growth and development along with multiple physical injuries all over her body.”
And added this poignant detail:
“There are two other young children in the home – biological children of this defendant – that had a bedroom fully equipped with toys and clothing, what one would expect to see in a little girl’s room. This is in stark contrast to the room the victim slept in, where the mattress was covered halfway by a garbage bag. There were no toys or evidence that a young, 7-year-old, little girl lived in that room,” Weston said.
Kent Police officers took the initial report but later forwarded the case to Auburn Police when they learned of the girl’s Auburn address.
In the Certification for Determination of Probable Cause, Auburn Police Detective Buie Arneson said Audrey Grey at first denied any knowledge of her daughter’s injuries, or how they got there, but when officers confronted her about her lack of knowledge as a parent, she broke down in tears, telling officers that Roderick had “whooped” the girl in the last two days and had used a belt to do so.
“After many changes in her story, Audrey finally stated that (her daughter) had been misbehaving on the day in question, and as a result Roderick was going to ‘whoop’ her with his belt. Audrey said OK and knew the belt and metal belt buckle were going to used on her daughter for being ‘disrespectful,” according to Arneson’s account.
According to the account, “Roderick admitted to spanking (the girl) with a belt 1-2 times. He was confronted about this and then admitted it was more like four-five times. Roderick was asked if the spanking was too hard, and he replied, ‘probably did it a little too hard,’ and then, ‘I’m sorry it went that far.’”
Roderick Grey has multiple prior convictions for domestic violence, misdemeanor violations of a no-contact order, malicious mischief, assault 4 and third-degree theft.