Girlfriend, Grandmother Arrested in Connection With 3-Year-Old Carolina Girl’s Death

January 8, 2018 Updated: January 8, 2018

A woman was arrested in Cleveland County, North Carolina, earlier this month for the slaying of a young child, according to local reports.

Last month, police responded to a call about an unresponsive and unconscious 3-year-old girl in Lancaster County, South Carolina, according to the Shelby Star newspaper. They found a child lying on her back in the living room with no pulse.

The girl, identified as Lillian Schroeder, was then taken to Springs Memorial Hospital where she died. Cook was identified in a report from the South Carolina Herald as the girlfriend of the girl’s father.

Kayla Marie Cook told officials that she had been babysitting the child since 7 a.m. while the father was working. According to the report, she said that she put the child in a bathtub, but when she came back to check on Lillian, she was unresponsive.

Epoch Times Photo
(Michelle Bigham/Facebook)

An autopsy report found that the girl died of blunt-force trauma to the head, according to police.

A judge then issued a warrant for the arrest of Cook, 25, but she was nowhere to be found, according to the Star. She was arrested 10 days later by sheriff’s deputies.

She was then sent back to South Carolina last Tuesday, Jan. 2.

“This tragic incident has taken a heavy toll on the families involved. It has touched a lot of people including the community, first responders, officers and investigators involved as well,” Lancaster Police Chief Scott Grant told the Star. “We will continue to speak for the young victim in this case as it moves forward through the judicial process.”

Cook told her neighbor that the girl was “not acting right” and asked them to tell the authorities, the South Carolina Herald reported.

On Monday, WSOC-TV reported that the slain girl’s grandmother, 48-year-old Tracy Helms Schroeder, was arrested in the case. She was charged with unlawful conduct toward a child.

She is being accused of lying to officials and breaking an agreement to be the main caregiver of the child by allowing the girl to stay with her father and his girlfriend without supervision, according to WSOC.

Lillian’s mother, Michelle Bigham, had shared a meme in a Facebook post about not holding onto to “pent up anger, hurt, sadness, and holding grudges,” reported. Bigham frequently has posted about missing her daughter.


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