Testimony continues in 'Baby Grace' trial

January 29, 2009 9:32:01 AM PST
The trial for Kimberly Trenor continued Wednesday. She's on trial for the death of her two-year-old daughter, Riley Ann Sawyers. [TRIAL BLOG: Deborah Wrigley is blogging from the courthourse]

After Tuesday's graphic video evidence involving the statement Trenor gave police about the death of her daughter, her attorney is trying to make that statement work to her advantage.

Sawyers was known as "Baby Grace" until her remains were identified. A fisherman found the remains in a plastic container in Galveston Bay in October 2007. We would eventually learn that Sawyers had died months earlier in July at her family's home in Spring. Her mother and stepfather are charged with capital murder in her beating death.

On the stand Wednesday morning was the detective who interviewed Trenor in her statement to police. He testified that Trenor said what he expected. She pointed the blame at her husband, Royce Zeigler, who is not Sawyers' biological father.

He also said he heard nothing from Trenor to indicate she mourned the death of her child before she and Zeigler went to Wal-Mart to buy the plastic box in which the girl's remains were later found.

Attorney Tom Stickler attempted to get the detective to concede he wouldn't have had much of a case without Trenor's information.

When Sawyers' body was found in the plastic container in Galveston Bay, she had to be given a name -- 'Baby Grace - until her identity was found. It took weeks for her to be identifed. In the end, it was Sawyers' paternal grandmother who recognized the description of the child.

Trenor never reported her daughter missing. When confronted by police, she claimed an Ohio CPS worker had forcibly taken the child as part of a custody dispute.

Wednesday in Trenor's trial, an Ohio CPS worker refuted that. Tony Coder told the jury that the paperwork Trenor and her husband claimed came from the agency was obviously "fake." The phone numbers and the address were wrong. In addition, he testified CPS workers don't go alone to houses ad forcibly seize children.

The fisherman who found the box containing Sawyers' body in Galveston Bay also testified Wednesday. He said at frst thought it might have contained someone's pet. Instead, a pink tennis shoe inside signaled it was a child.

Another officer who was investigating leads said he belived Trenor's claim that her child had been taken back to Ohio by CPS. Later, doubts began to set in about Trenor's story because he said she was reluctant to cooperate.

Zeigler awaits his own trial on capital murder charges. As in Trenor's case, prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty. Instead, they're asking for life in prison without the possibility of parole.

An attorney representing Zeigler was in the courtroom as a spectator today and called Trenor's defense that her husband beat the little girl to death is a 'fantasy' on the little girl's mother.

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