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Four year old Leiliana Rose was born in a Texas prison and endured 2 years of abuse that led to her death under the eye of CPS. Instead of having a trial, the State tried to keep the matter quiet by offering a plea bargain on Wednesday July 19, 2017.

We lost the innocent Leiliana Rose Wright on March 13, 2016.

When Leili was born in 2012, her mom Jeri was in prison in Texas on burglary charges.  To be there, the State surely ran a background and knew of Jeri's prior child abuse charges.  

In 2007, Wills County, Illinois charged that Jeri beat her oldest daughter with a belt causing such serious injury that Jeri was never allowed to see her first three daughters again without supervision.

Texas gave Jeri custody of Leiliana without blinking and without advising any other parent or guardian of Jeri's history of or propensity for domestic violence.

According to Quezada’s statement, when she returned to Phifer’s home about 9:30 p.m., the two shot up heroin while Leiliana was locked in a closet with her wrists tied behind her back, a closet rod attached to the ligature to keep her from being able to sit.

Once out of the closet, Leiliana said she was hungry, but she struggled to swallow her sandwich, so Quezada slapped her on the chest and back of the head, “telling her to swallow her food.”

“She then said that Charles put on black gloves and forced the child’s mouth open while he poured Pedialyte into her mouth,” the report states.

Soon after, Leiliana said she was going to throw up and ran to the bathroom. When she came out, Quezada told police, Phifer “grabbed her by the throat and lifted her off with one hand.”

Quezada said Phifer then shoved Leiliana against a piece of drywall inside the closet, “all the while holding her by the throat with one hand,” and the two left her in there for more than 15 minutes.

When she was let out, Leiliana was allowed to take a shower. Quezada went into another room to fetch pajamas when she said she heard Phifer in the bathroom saying, “Get you some of this.” Quezada said she heard the girl fall in the shower.

The Tarrant County medical examiner ruled Leiliana’s death a homicide as a result of blunt force trauma to the abdomen and head.

A history with CPS

In her memo, Reynolds, the CPS regional director, wrote that “there is no indication that previous Child Protective Services history was reviewed” by caseworkers who had contacted Leiliana’s mother. The files would have been instantly available to any caseworker or investigator looking at the case.

In 2011, a few weeks before she went to prison for a home burglary near Dallas, Quezada became pregnant. She gave birth to Leiliana while serving her sentence, and the girl's paternal grandparents raised her until she was nearly 2.

After she was released from prison in 2013, Quezada and her daughter moved in with another boyfriend: Eduardo Soto, whose rap sheet includes a child fondling charge that he pleaded down to child injury and two convictions for tattooing children.

Soto is back in jail — accused of molesting a 5-year-old girl at the same Burleson home where he, Quezada, Leiliana and their newborn son were all living in late 2014, when CPS began to investigate again.

Within a single week in November 2014, Quezada was arrested on a drug charge, Soto was arrested for fraud, and Leiliana's paternal grandmother sued — ultimately without success — to get custody of the girl.

The state separated Quezada from her children after police pulled her over and found meth in her car. But she regained custody in February 2015 after her charge was dropped and she tested clean for drug use, according to her former lawyer. The agency officially closed its investigation in May 2015.

A year later, after Leiliana's death, the CPS memos obtained by The News referred to “previous investigations where Mr. Soto was alleged to have sexually abused Leiliana.”

Chaos in Dallas office

Problems in the Dallas CPS office are just one piece of the system-wide crisis in how Texas investigates child abuse and cares for children.

There are so few foster homes that kids are sleeping in caseworkers’ offices or being kept in psychiatric facilities longer. A federal judge in Corpus Christi declared the Texas foster care system “broken,” and Gov. Greg Abbott called for changes after high-profile deaths that occurred long before Leiliana’s.


On July 19, 2017, the State of Texas offered Jeri a plea bargain offering her parole after 25 years.  Both defense attorneys on the case indicated that the evidence of physical and sexual abuse was so severe that the State would not have a problem proving their case against either Defendant. Texas again avoided responsibility for Leiliana's death and attempted to forego publicity that would accompany a public trial.

I want to hold Texas accountable for putting my baby girl in the hands of a woman they should have known would hurt her.  

I want to hold CPS and the caseworkers who saw the bruises and left her in the home accountable for their actions so that no other innocent child dies because the person with a duty to protect them turns around and walks away.

I want to hold them accountable by way of a law suit against the State of Texas, which will cost approximately $10,000 for retainer which covers filing fees, court costs, expert fees, records, and other necessary expenses.

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