After a two-hour standoff with police in Arizona, the mother and stepfather of an eight year-old girl who was kidnapped and murdered last month have been taken into custody on drug and child endangerment charges.
Police have reason to believe that Tania Ann Grogan and Ralph Pat Leroy Folster were responsible for giving methamphetamine to their daughter’s alleged killer, 26-year-old Justin Rector. Rector had been staying with the family a couple days prior to Isabella Grogan’s disappearance.
According to MyNews3, during the SWAT team standoff, Folster refused to turn himself over to the police and tried to use the attic as a way to escape into an adjacent unit. After Folster’s escape attempt failed, he surrendered to authorities.
Police say that they received information citing that the couple was dealing and manufacturing methamphetamine as well as heroin. Grogan is currently being investigated for having her children in a “dangerous environment” filled with chemicals that could be used for meth production.
On the night of Isabella’s disappearance, Rector allegedly told police that he had been in an upstairs bedroom in the Grogan home smoking methamphetamine. Isabella’s ten-year-old sister claims to have seen the two together around 11:30 p.m. while she made her way to the restroom. Upon returning, she claims her younger sister and the older man had vanished. Isabella was reported missing the same morning at 1:30 a.m.
A day later, a volunteer search party found Isabella buried in a shallow grave. She was allegedly wearing the same green tank top from the night before, but was missing bottoms, leading authorities to investigate the possibility of sexual assault.
Rector was arrested the following day for shoplifting clothes from a local Wal-Mart. Police Chief Brian Williamson said that “unique” footprints found around the shallow grave are a match to the shoes that Rector was trying to replace.
Justin Rector has pleaded not guilty to the charge of first-degree murder, kidnapping, child abuse and abandonment of a body. In Arizona a first-degree murder conviction comes with a 35 to life sentence, on top of the 10-24 year sentence for kidnapping and assault.
Currently Rector is being held without bail while awaiting trial. Rector has a long criminal history including more than a dozen arrests during the past 10 years.