SANFORD, Fla. - A report released by the Department of Children and Families on Friday shows that there were warning signs that Tariji Gordon was in danger of abuse before her mother, Rachel Fryer, allegedly killed her.
[VIDEO: Local 6's report]
One week before Tariji was killed, a guardian appointed to represent her interests in court requested a hearing the judge who had reunited the family in November. She was concerned Fryer had stopped working and going to school, was pregnant with her eighth child, had lost support from church, had withdrawn children from daycare and was staying in the home of a relative deemed unfit for the children.
Case managers on Friday could not explain why the hearing sought by the guardian ad litem on Jan. 30 was never scheduled.
Investigators say Fryer admitted to putting 2-year-old Tariji's body in a suitcase and burying her in a shallow Putnam County grave. Fryer claimed that she found her daughter unresponsive and couldn't revive her, but an autopsy revealed Tariji actually died from a blow to her head.
The report released by DCF includes a review of the case by Community Based Care Of Central Florida, which handles foster care services in Seminole County. It states in January, the toddler began to miss day care for one to two consecutive days. At one point, it was reported to day care staff that Tariji didn't come to day care that day because she had a "boo boo that mommy didn't want anyone to see."
The report states the case manager made a home visit, but neither that person nor the day care reported it to the child abuse hotline.
The report also discusses Tariji's twin brother, whose death at 2 weeks old was originally ruled an accident after the child was diagnosed with sleep apnea and was required to wear his apnea monitor at all times.
But on the night he died in 2011, the report states his "apnea monitor was not on him, nor could it be found in the general vicinity." A child relative told police the baby was initially wearing the monitor, but when it kept beeping, Fryer "told him to watch the babies while she put the monitor in the garage."
Watch Local 6 for more on this story.
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