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State settles murder-by-abuse case for $500,000

The state of Oregon has agreed to pay $500,000 to the estate of a 5-year-old Gresham girl who was tortured and abused to death by her father in what local police called the worst case of child abuse they’d ever seen.

The wrongful death suit accused the Oregon Department of Human Services of negligence for failing to rescue Oleander “Lil Andie” Labier, 5, who was the subject of an inquiry a year before the girl died on April 13, 2010.

A state child welfare worker concluded the child was safe and that a prior report of neglect and malnutrition was unfounded.

But the caseworker never interviewed or examined Labier, and didn’t interview her grandparents, Frank and Marrian Turner of Sandy, as is required under state policies.

The medical examiner ruled the cause of death as battered child syndrome. She was just 28 pounds when she died.

The girl’s father, Christopher “Andy” Rosillo, 24, pleaded guilty to murder by abuse. He is serving a life sentence in prison with possibility of parole in 25 years.

His Sandy High School classmate and longtime girlfriend, Guadalupe “Lupé” Quintero, 24, also abused the girl — who was not her biological daughter — and did nothing to prevent her fiance from starving, torturing and abusing the child. Quintero pleaded guilty to manslaughter and criminal mistreatment and is serving a 20-year prison sentence.

A trial for the wrongful death lawsuit was scheduled to take place last week until the girl’s paternal grandparents accepted the state’s settlement offer.

Frank Turner, the girl’s grandfather, said they accepted the settlement partly out of fear that the state would have argued during the trial that another set of grandparents who witnessed the abuse and did nothing to stop it was more responsible for the girl’s death than state welfare workers.

Quintero’s parents, Melanie and Efren Quintero, reported seeing Rosillo forcing the girl to eat her own feces and hot peppers. They told police it wasn’t their place to intervene.

The Turners also discovered a wound on the girl’s shoulder caused by Rosillo beating her with his belt. They ordered him to never hurt the girl again, took pictures of the injury and took her into their home to live with them. But three months later, her father demanded her back, and rarely allowed his parents to see the girl.

After Labier was killed, the Turners said they didn’t know how extensive the abuse was, and Frank Turner said he called a national child abuse hotline twice to report his concerns.

The settlement will be placed into a trust fund for Labier’s siblings. A younger sister and brother witnessed the abuse before their parents were arrested. Labier also has siblings through her biological mother in Washington.

Frank Turner also hopes to change state law to require that all adults be required to report child abuse, not just a select group of professionals, including but not limited to doctors, teachers and clergy.