Failed to Death: Jocilynn Graham

5:49 PM, Nov 11, 2012   |    comments
Jocilynn Graham
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Age: 13 mos.
Born: Oct 21, 2010
Died: Dec 9, 2011
Location: Colorado Springs
Suspect in death: Melissa Alexander, father's girlfriend

Melissa Alexander, a live-in nanny and girlfriend of the father, pleaded guilty to child abuse resulting in death and was sentenced to 36 years in prison. The prosecution said Alexander brutally shook the child once, left the room and returned to shake the child again. The injuries sustained during the shaking put the baby into a coma on Nov. 9.

Alexander gave police several explanations for what occurred, including a statement that she threw a cup at the child.

At the time of the fatal injuries, Jocilynn's father, Fort Carson soldier Matthew Strickland, was training in Louisiana and preparing for deployment, The Gazette newspaper in Colorado Springs reported.

The state's review of Jocilynn's death found three prior referrals to the El Paso County Department of Human Services.

In March of 2011, child protective staffers were told her mother, Kayla Graham, was seen screaming at Jocilynn, who had a red mark on her face. A caseworker determined the allegations were unfounded, and the family was referred to the Family Advocacy Program on Fort Carson.

A little over five months later, another individual reported to the El Paso County Department of Human Services that the mother was not cleaning the baby's bottles and formula was caked in the bottle. That person also alleged the child had a bruise on a cheek. Another allegation was lodged accusing the father of picking up Jocilynn without having the necessities needed to care for her and of having a home without the proper conditions for a child.

In September of 2011, the father was given custody of the Jocilynn. The child died a little over two months later.

Read the Fatality Review

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