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Police: Mother Admits To Doing Drugs, Hitting 4-Year-Old Daughter Before Child's Death

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GRAND PRAIRIE (CBS11) - Grand Prairie Police have released graphic details in the hours leading up to the death of 4-year-old Leiliana Wright.

The arrest warrant affidavit against her mother, 30-year-old Jeri Quezada, paints a picture that this little girl was tortured.

The Tarrant County Medical Examiner says she died of blunt force trauma to the head and abdomen.

Police say when they arrived at the house late in the evening March 13, the little girl wasn't breathing and had extensive bruising from head to toe.

The affidavit says at first, Quezada told them her daughter was injured after falling in the shower.

But authorities say Quezada changed her story several times during the week, and admitted to shooting heroin and then repeatedly hitting her daughter.

According to the document, Quezada also blamed her boyfriend, 34-year-old Charles Philfer.

Charles Phifer
Charles Phifer

He was taken into custody on Friday for injury to a child on a $1 million bond. Quezada remains in the Grand Prairie Jail on a $500,000 bond, also charged with injury to a child.

Police say hours before they arrived at the house, Quezada admitted "...Both she and Charles began to hit the child with a belt, and a bamboo stick due to her drinking the 18 month old child's juice..."

That child is Quezada's son.

The affidavit says Quezada also claimed "Charles had told her that the child was tied up in the closet.. with her wrists tied behind her back..." in a position that "...prevented the child from sitting down..."

Later that evening, police say "...the defendant admitted that when the child was having trouble swallowing she began to slap the child on her chest.. She also admitted to hitting the child on the back of her head while telling her to swallow her food..."

The document says "The defendant described Charles shoving the child against a piece of drywall that was inside the closet, all the while holding her by the throat with one hand... Charles then threw the child back into the closet and closed the door..."

Police say "...the child's body created an indention in the closet wall..."

Craig and Alisa Clakley, Leiliana's grandparents, say they read the affidavit, but wished they hadn't.

On Wednesday, Mr. Clakley said, "I always called her my angel because as far as I knew, she was an angel, she was so beautiful."

The Clakleys say they took photos a year ago when they saw bruises on Leiliana and reported it to CPS multiple times.

But Mrs. Clakley says after one visit, the caseworker told them, "We checked the house out, things seem safe."

The couple say they were surprised that despite their complaints, Leiliana remained in Quezada's custody.

They say they felt helpless to do anything, and that CPS failed their grand-daughter. "You're still not going to get in there and do something and protect the child and children. What does CPS stand for? Child Protective Services. Protective."

A CPS spokeswoman, Marissa Gonzales, says the agency did investigate allegations in this case, but won't comment further.

She says CPS is looking into what happened, and should release a report within three weeks.

(©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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