Note: we are republishing this story in light of recent reports that show child abuse has significantly increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. More on this here: https://www.usnews.com/news/health-news/articles/2021-10-08/study-confirms-rise-in-child-abuse-during-covid-pandemic
A couple was convicted of multiple charges in the death of their infant son after his body was recovered from a well.
39-year-old Jessica Groves was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in the death of two-month-old Dylan Groves. Following several hours of deliberation, the jury found her guilty of aggravated murder, abuse of a corpse, and other charges.
41-year-old Daniel Grovers was found guilty of murder, abuse of a corpse, and other charges. He was acquitted of aggravated murder. He was sentenced to life in prison with possibility of parole after serving 47 years.
The couple stated that they respected the jury’s decision, but their attorneys said that they planned to appeal.
Daniel Groves testified that in late March, his wife aggressively picked up their son from his crib. He stated that he saw her hit Dylan in the head multiple times.
A coroner testified that the infant had suffered skull fractures, broken ribs, a broken arm, and a broken shin bone.
“The path of drug abuse led to this,” Robert Stratton, Jessica’s attorney, said. “That's not an excuse, but the one defining change in her life was drug use. It's why she went from a loving supportive mother of a 14-year-old to a convicted murderer of her second child.”
When Dylan tested positive for methamphetamine at birth in January 2019, Scioto County Children Services took formal custody of him. He was placed with his father, and Jessica was allowed to visit the family's home but was forbidden from living there.
Jessica testified that Dylan was killed during one of her visits in late March, but the infant’s body was not found until June.
Daniel told authorities that they put Dylan’s body in a makeshift coffin and dumped it in a well located in a field across the road from a church camp in Otway, roughly 85 miles (137 kilometers) east of downtown Cincinnati.
An investigation was launched after the couple didn’t show up for a custody hearing, for Dylan's medical appointments, and a county case worker couldn’t make a home visit.
State officials concluded that Scioto County Children Services had mishandled Dylan's case and failed to follow required procedures.
Daniel Groves declined to give a statement before sentencing, while Jessica Groves stated, “No matter what you do to me, I have to live with this every day for the rest of my life. I'm sorry. I have failed as a mother.”
Sources: The Columbus Dispatch