Grandma faults DHS in death

By Augie Frost and Randy Ellis Modified: August 23, 2007 at 8:06 am •  Published: August 23, 2007
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/> "Olivia was the life of the party,” Lola Berry said. "She was the center of attention.”

Tynia and Lola Berry last saw Olivia on Aug. 15. Scroggins "yanked” Olivia from her, Lola Berry said.

Lola Berry said Olivia did not want to go home with her mother that day. "You could see fear in the little girl's eyes,” Lola Berry said.

"We tried to keep her but her mother took her anyway,” she said. "She said she was a good mother. I knew something was wrong.”

Lola and Tynia Berry first noticed something was wrong about six weeks ago when they noticed bruising on Olivia, Lola Berry said.

Lola Berry said their fears grew when Olivia came to visit a couple of weeks ago with a bruise on her cheek, but Olivia "couldn't tell us what happened.” She said more bruising followed, to the point that she told Tynia Berry to take a camera the next time she went to pick Olivia up from her mother.

Lola Berry said she never observed signs of sexual abuse, even though she examined Olivia every time she changed her clothing.

The alleged sexual assaults may have started this past weekend, Lola Berry said. Tynia Berry said she tried to pick up Olivia Saturday from her mother but no one would answer the door.

Olivia's father
The dead girl's father is Chaz Deon Berry, 25.

He is serving a five-year federal prison term for possession of crack cocaine with intent to distribute and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Chaz Berry pleaded guilty last January to carrying a Smith & Wesson .45-caliber semi-automatic handgun while attempting to distribute 14.04 grams of cocaine.

He and 20 others, including several members of the Walnut Gangster Crips gang, were indicted by an Oklahoma City federal grand jury last October, accused of participating in a scheme to distribute more than 30 kilograms of crack cocaine and 1050 tablets of ecstasy.

Other child deaths
Olivia's death is the most recent of several child deaths that have happened in Oklahoma after DHS reportedly has received allegations of abuse or neglect.

•Lola Berry mentioned the Kelsey Smith-Briggs case, which led to changes in Oklahoma law. Kelsey, 2, died Oct. 11, 2005, at her home near Meeker after months of suffering broken bones, bruises and other injuries while DHS and the court supervised her care in response to abuse complaints.

•In March, 3-year-old William Barnard of Oklahoma City drowned in a bathtub two days after he was returned to his parent's home upon the recommendation of a DHS child welfare worker. Oklahoma City police officers had removed William and two siblings from the home just three days earlier, citing squalid living conditions.

•Police are still investigating the Aug. 11 death of Declan Stewart, 5, of Edmond. Declan died from blunt force trauma to the head suffered about a month after he was returned to his mother's home over the objections of an aunt who had been caring for him. Declan had been removed from the home a year earlier.

Contributing: Nolan Clay, Staff Writer




Olivia ScrogginsOn Monday, Olivia died at St. Anthony Hospital in Oklahoma City. It appears she had been beaten to death and sexually abused, Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater said.

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