Crime

Woman Accused Of Murdering Her Daughter Returns To Court

| by Nicholas Roberts
Rachel Fryer of Sanford, FloridaRachel Fryer of Sanford, Florida

A woman from central Florida whose toddler was discovered in a shallow grave in Putnam County in 2014 was set to appear in court on Oct. 29.

Rachel Fryer of Sanford, Florida, faced murder charges at a hearing in Seminole County, Fox 35 reports.

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Her 2-year-old daughter's body was found buried in Crescent City on Feb. 11, 2014, according to the Orlando Sentinel. A medical examiner ruled that the child, Tariji Gordon, had died of blunt force trauma to the head, but noted many other injuries such as bite marks, bruises, cuts and burns.

Fryer previously admitted to burying Tariji but denied killing her, according to News 13.

Sanford detectives say that Fryer beat Tariji to death, then stuffed her body in a suitcase and buried it, WFTV reports.

Tariji, her brother and her two sisters were taken from Fryer in 2012, according to the Orlando Sentinel. This occurred after the death of 2-month-old Tavont'ae Gordon, whom Fryer allegedly accidentally suffocated while they were sleeping.

The four children were returned to Fryer's custody only months before Tariji's death.

Jonathan Irizarry was the child welfare worker assigned to make sure that Fryer's children were safe. He worked for Children's Home Society, a nonprofit contractor for the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF). He was arrested in August 2014 for falsifying records.

Fryer wrote a letter to News 13 while behind bars in July 2014, alleging that she had repeatedly reached out to DCF for help caring for her children upon their return to her custody in November 2013.

This past June, Fryer attempted to get a new attorney and asked to be released from jail on bond, which she was denied by a judge, according to WFTV.

"Because this is a life felony, it is a rare instance when the court does grant some conditions of release," said WFTV legal analyst Bill Sheaffer. "The likelihood the court would in this case is remote."

If convicted, Fryer faces the death penalty.

Sources: Fox 35, The Orlando Sentinel, News 13, WFTV / Photo Credit: SCSO/Fox 35