Three-Year-Old Alexis Pounder Starved, Beaten to Death by Father and Girlfriend, Say Oregon Cops

(KOIN/ personal photo)
(Clackamus County Sheriffs)
(KOIN/ personal photo)
SANDY, Ore. (CBS/AP) In a small town outside of Portland, three-year-old Alexis Pounder was found beaten to death and severely undernourished and Oregon police say her father and his girlfriend are responsible.

Photo: Alexis Pounder, 3, was found beaten and starved to death Jan. 9.

PICTURES: Alexis Pounder: A Life Cut Short
On Jan. 9, deputies responding to a disturbance call in Sandy, Ore., found Alexis Pounder's body - along with enough indicators to call in the Violent Crimes and Child Abuse teams.

Photo: Donald Cockrell, 27, and Michelle Smith, 24.

They also found four other children living there, and removed them. The dead child's father is identified as 27-year-old Donald L. Cockrell. He was staying at the home with his girlfriend, 24-year-old Michele Nicole Smith.

Cockrell and Smith were arraigned on murder by abuse charges, but did not enter pleas during Monday's Clackamas County Circuit Court hearing. They asked Judge Robert Herndon to provide them with lawyers, and are being held without bail.

Photo: Alexis Pounder and her father Donald Cockrell.

PICTURES: Alexis Pounder: A Life Cut Short
"There's really no words to explain what it's like for me. I try to find the words and I can't - my worst nightmare," the girl's biological mother, Heather Pounder, told CBS affiliate KOIN on Monday.

Heather Pounder says Alexis and their other daughter had been staying with Cockrell and Smith since October. She says they had shared custody of Alexis but that Cockrell would rarely let her see the child.

The last time she saw Alexis was Dec. 12, she said.

"She had a weight problem, I had been taking her to the doctor," Pounder said. "As far as I know so had they and the doctor talked to us about different stuff with getting her weight up. She had a problem where she didn't want to eat and her weight was really low."

"You know we were working with her, but I guess I don't know what happened over there. I don't know if one of them just snapped or what," Pounder said.

Court documents describe little Alexis Pounder's death as being due to "blunt force trauma" and "acute starvation." The Oregon state medical examiner's office says she died of physical and nutritional child abuse.

PICTURES: Alexis Pounder: A Life Cut Short