State Tried to Remove Mich. Girl From Mom Before Death

8:23 AM, Jan 3, 2013   |    comments
Teacher Laquita Turner places a Bunche Elementary School T-shirt on the doorstep of the home where Tameria Greene lived. (Photo: Andre Jackson, Detroit Free Press)
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By Gina Damron and Elisha Anderson, Detroit Free Press 

DETROIT -- An unsuccessful two-year effort to remove 8-year-old Tameria Greene and her brothers from their mother's care by the Michigan Department of Human Services ended with the girl's fatal stabbing.

The agency had petitioned the court as recently as November, but on Sunday, authorities say Tameria's mother, Semeria Aminita Greene, stabbed her to death. Greene is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday on charges of felony murder and first-degree child abuse.

DHS Director Maura Corrigan said in a statement Wednesday that she has ordered an expedited, comprehensive review of the case from the Office of Family Advocate, a unit that reviews complaints about the handling of child welfare cases.

"DHS acted on the concerns reported by Tameria's family, friends and neighbors, including petitioning the court for removal of the children from the home dating back to 2010," Corrigan's statement said.

Corrigan said the agency petitioned the court on Nov. 28 to remove Tameria and her siblings from Greene's care but was unsuccessful. It wasn't immediately clear why the court made that decision.

The agency also continued to provide court-ordered counseling services to the family and conducted an in-home visit just two days before Tameria's death.

"We share the grief felt by her loved ones and her community," Corrigan said.

Greene, 26, is expected to be arraigned in Detroit's 36th District Court. If convicted of murder, she faces life in prison.

Tameria -- who would have turned 9 on Wednesday -- was found stabbed and unresponsive in her home on the city's east side at 2:42 a.m. Sunday, the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office said.

Details about the stabbing and prior contacts with authorities emerged in police reports obtained by the Free Press earlier this week.

According to a report, police had contact with Greene over child abuse allegations, and there was a history of contact with Children's Protective Services. Greene had taken Tameria to Children's Hospital of Michigan in October with bruises on her body and told hospital officials an incident had occurred at school, a report said.

Police reports also reference prior contact with Greene on neglect allegations.

Neighbors have said the mother would leave her children alone at times. One neighbor told police the mother was abusive.

Court records indicate that at one point in 2007, a family member -- Greene's sister, a relative confirmed -- was given guardianship of Tameria and her younger brother. They were returned to their mother in January 2008, according to court records.

According to a police report, when officers arrived at the home Sunday morning, the children were wearing dirty clothes, and their hair was matted to their heads.

Greene's four sons -- ages 7, 4, 2 and 1 -- are in foster care, and relatives were seeking custody, a family member told the Free Press earlier this week.

According to police reports, after the stabbing, Tameria was found to have bruises, possible bite marks and scratches on her face, based on information given to police from Children's Hospital.

"This is only the second day of the year, and we are charging a parent with a child homicide," Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said in a news release Wednesday. The case "is made even more profoundly sad because today would have been Tameria's ninth birthday."

Another sister of Greene, Latisha Greene, said the family has received support and love, but she declined to say whether Semeria Greene has an attorney and would not talk about the case.

"I don't want to taint anything," Latisha Greene said. "I don't want to do anything that might harm or hurt any situation at this point."

Semeria Greene told police her daughter had been making sandwiches in the kitchen when she heard a knock at the door. It's unclear what happened next, but Greene said she then saw Tameria lying on the living room floor, lifeless. A report says there was no evidence of sandwiches being made.

The girl's mother had blood smear marks on her shirt and blood drop stains on her sock and was giving her daughter CPR when police arrived, according to reports.

Police reported that Semeria Greene was uncooperative after her arrest. She "refused to walk, pretended to fall asleep, changed ailments throughout arrest and smelled of metabolizing alcohol on her breath," a report said.

According to reports, police found a bloody knife by the sink in the house, a folding knife on top of the refrigerator and a butcher knife between couch cushions, as well as a dried blood shoe print in the dining room and dried blood in the living room.

Greene also had minor injuries when police arrived at her home early Sunday, including a bruise under her eye. It's unclear how she received the injuries. Her sister told the Free Press that Semeria Greene was in a violent relationship.

Minister Craig Fuqua Bey, who will be conducting Tameria's funeral service next week, said Semeria Greene was in an abusive relationship and at one point had checked herself into a mental health facility. He said her family does not believe she killed Tameria. "She loved her children," he said, "and her children loved her."


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