Homicide finally suggested in West Frankfort child’s death
WEST FRANKFORT—After days of conducting investigations into the matter of the body of an 8-year-old girl found in a crawlspace under a West Frankfort home, officials are finally using the term ‘homicide’ as a cause of death.
However, the manner of death (what it was that killed the girl) has yet to be disclosed, thanks to the somewhat secretive world of Franklin County officials, who seem to think there are no leaks in their ranks but which notion is often wrong.
The story goes that Mary Jophlin, shown here, called 911 Tuesday morning to report that her daughter, Alexus, was ‘missing.’ An ensuing search, however, found the child’s body in the crawlspace under the home at about 2:30 the next morning.
Plenty of people were speculating all week that the girl was a runaway, was playing hide-&-seek, got hurt in some way and crawled under the house subsequent to that without telling anyone, etc. For whatever reason, no one could fathom that Jophlin would do anything to harm the child…although she and her other children (two or three others; reports vary) have been the subjects of multiple DCFS cases over the years.
The drama was increased yesterday morning (07.20.11) when Franklin’s prosecutor (term used loosely) Evan Owens finally filed charges of Concealment of a Homicidal Death and Obstruction of Justice (for making false statements to the police…although in typical secretive Franklin County style, no one is saying what those statements were).
Jophlin had been held immediately upon discovery of the body on a preliminary charge of Concealment of a Death, so officials knew something was wrong early on.
It’s our understanding that this woman has some emotional, mental and functional problems, and that her children have been taken from her and placed with other relatives time and again over the years.
Given Franklin’s proclivity to randomly rip a child from one parent and give it to the other when there’s a suggestion that the other parent is sexually abusing the child (think the Wilfong/Chekevdia case), it’s a blue-eyed wonder this woman had custody/control of Alexus at all…but that’s the disparity in the world of Franklin, with former prosecutor-turned-judge Tom Dinn running the show, his buddy Owens flapping around like a headless chicken, and even Judge Melissa Drew in there conducting things in the courtroom in the exasperated way she usually does, as was the case yesterday morning when Jophlin appeared.
Franklin is a county with significant problems; the layers of these problems go so deep that it’s not just like an onion—it’s like a big, ROTTEN onion, with plenty of mold growing in it. So it’s no surprise that poor Alexus was where she was and what happened to her thus happened. And I would say we’ll ‘know more’ as things progress, but since it’s Franklin County, that’s not a sure bet….so stay tuned. At the very least, we can report on the bumbling around with the case the officials are doing and have done already.
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