Thursday, November 1, 2012

8 Year Old Returned to Family

Please note the statements in italics, with bold type added for analysis.  Police believe that the family was involved in their child's death, and while the investigation was ongoing, the 8 year old was removed. 

This is the original article with quotes.  The update is that he has been returned to his family.  The family reported that they took a private polygraph and passed; not the polygraph administered by police. 

Police have withdrawn the application to remove the 8 year old from his parents, and have now ruled that the child's death is "undetermined" as another medical examiner has agreed with the parents:  inconclusive death. 

The investigation is ongoing, with police still classifying the parents as suspects.  Note the few statements from the parents. 

JACKSON, Mich. (WXYZ) - A Jackson family is torn apart. First they lost their 4-year-old daughter. It was three months ago that little Birlkee Giroux went to bed, but the child never woke up. Her parents say they were devastated and shocked by what happened next.
Within days of finding their daughter dead in her bedroom, her parents, Brian and Billie Giroux, were deemed suspects. The state then removed their 8-year-old son Brody from their home while Jackson County authorities investigated the case. 
Now, three months later, no charges have been filed, but young Brody’s life is in limbo. He is still in protective custody, and experts question whether the prosecutor is using the boy as leverage to get his parents to confess to a murder they say they did not commit.

To hear his family describe him, 8-year-old Brody is like most kids his age, precocious, fun loving and curious.

Phenomenal little athlete already, and he loves and lives to be with his friends, to go outside and play soccer, to play catch,” says Brian Giroux, Brody’s father.

Brody’s grandma, Shari Rando says her grandson loved his little sister.

He was a very protective brother,” she says.

But on August 7, Brody’s life changed. That’s when his little sister was found lifeless in her bedroom that summer morning.

Basically put her to bed like every other night, Brian says. “Covered her up, said love you, and walked out. Went in to wake her up around 9:30 and I found her.

Please note the missing pronouns. 
Note that "basically" means that other things took place that is not mentioned. 
"Normal":  When someone describes something as normal, or "like every other night", it is an indication that something not-ordinary took place. 
"Covered her up" is also without the pronoun.  Please note the 'coverings' are often associated with abuse. 
"love you":  Here we have the dropped pronoun (missing) as well as term of endearment, which, when included in a statement is often indicative of a poor relationship.  

We all say, "I love you" to our loved ones (children) when putting them to bed, but we don't feel the need to say it in our statements to others.  The inclusion of it is what is of concern, not the words.

The police have suspected the parents in that the child was a victim of foul play.  This statement raises concerns but is not, by itself, enough to indicate guilt.  

Police should continue to investigate. 

Billie Giroux, Birklee’s mother, says that she was in shock when she got news of her daughter’s death.

Not understanding how she can be OK on Monday, and we’re playing outside shooting basketball, blowing bubbles…and then, after EMS workers stopped efforts to revive her, the deputy walked out and said she’s gone,” recalls Birklee’s mom, crying.

Note the missing pronoun with "not understanding."
Note that absence of the child's name. 

They say just as they were mourning the death of their little girl, came another blow. This time it was from Child Protective Services (CPS).

Brian Giroux remembers the day a CPS worker arrived, who he describes as blunt and cold.
“'Your daughter’s death has been ruled a homicide. Where is your son?' Those were the exact words when they walked in,” he recalls.

The use of "your" (2nd person) is not distancing language because he is using the language of the CPS worker (entering into the language of another) 

The state took Brody two weeks after Birklee died. He was placed in foster care with strangers. That’s where he remains to this day.

The document that turned the Giroux family upside down was the Jackson County medical examiner’s report. It says little Birklee’s death was caused by asphyxiation—and the prosecutor is pointing at the parents.

Brody didn’t lose his baby sister,” said assistant Jackson County prosecutor Kathleen Rezmierski in court on September 12, to a probate judge. “She was murdered in her bed, and either mom or dad did it. They are the only two suspects in the investigation.

Note that the subject refused to use the minimizing language of "lose"; instead using "murdered"

Not only did they take Brody away, he is not allowed to see his parents while in foster care because he is considered a potential witness in the case.

We also have, until this investigation is completed, concern, whether or not the eight-year old is a regestaewitness, and whether or not a child in that circumstance could be subject to coaching,” says the Jackson County Prosecutor Henry Zavislak.

Only Brody’s grandparents are allowed supervised visits with him once a month.

He obviously misses mom and dad, and his family, his routine, his dog…sleeping in his own bed at night,” says Bill Gannon is Brody’s granddad.

While Brody waits, the wheels of justice move slowly. The prosecutor wanted to conduct a polygraph. But the Giroux’s, on the advice of their attorney, chose a highly-respected former state police polygrapher to test them. And both parents passed.

 “We’ve done all the things they’ve asked us to do,” says Billie Grioux. “We took polygraphs; we paid for the polygraphs out of our pocket. We passed with flying colors.”

The couple also had a former pathologist review the case—and he doesn’t think it was murder. In his report, Dr. Bader Cassin writes “I was surprised to find that the manner of death was called homicide.”  Cassin also was surprised that the Jackson County medical examiner made his ruling without having the child’s medical records or the police report. Cassin report questions whether the “asphyxia” conclusion is accurate.

Brody’s parent’s suspect that their daughter’s death may have been caused by an ongoing condition called febrile seizures. Medical experts say these seizures are fairly common among kids under five and they typically stop on their own. But could such a seizure have caused little Birklee’s death? The Chief Pediatric Neurologist at Detroit’s Children’s Hospital says, “yes,” if a fever is involved.

Dr. Harry Chugani of the DMC Children’s Hospital says that having a seizure during fever is “…really a form of epilepsy that is brought out by a fever, and then that’s really epilepsy, and epilepsy can cause death in sleep, yes.”

The Giroux’s say Birkleee was treated for seizures in the past, but not in the days or hours before her death. Still, they and their attorney
believe Birklee’s brother Brody is now being held hostage to pressure the couple to confess to killing their daughter, a crime they say they didn’t commit.

“It’s horrendous, the abuse of power and authority that’s occurred here” says the Giroux’s attorney Stan Sala. ”They really don’t have anything, they’re grasping at straws. And then the threat in answer to the motion that says we’re going to keep Brody until you give us what we want is unbelievable!” 
Asked what the prosecution wants, Sala says, “They want someone to admit to a crime that didn’t occur.”
The prosecutor denies using Brody as a confession tool.

Brody’s parents insist they did not harm their daughter, and desperately want their son returned home.

Our son is with strangers,” says Billie Groux, crying. “We can’t see him. We can’t hold him. We can’t talk with him about his sister’s death. We can’t reassure him.”

While they wait for Brody to return, the Grioux’s have kept his bedroom and their daughter’s room just as they were before they were gone – except now those rooms are quiet and still.

Next week, the Giroux’s will be back in court. This time they will be going up against the Department of Human Services. Based on the medical examiner’s report that ruled Birklee’s death a homicide, the state has filed an abuse and neglect case to keep Brody from going home for good.


Tania Cadogan said...

“We’ve done all the things they’ve asked us to do,” says Billie Grioux. “We took polygraphs; we paid for the polygraphs out of our pocket. We passed with flying colors.”

I will bet their attorney polygrapher shopped, i will also bet certains questions were offlimits.
Since we do not know what questions were asked we cannot verify the fact they passed with flying colors to be completely truthful.
If they weren't asked did you kill Birlkee then we can't assume they were being truthful.
Paid polygraphers will ask what they are paid for if they want to continue getting clients.

I would hope that LE ask them to take polygraphs.

I also note with interest she was cremated.
How convenient.
In such cases of a suspicious or unexplained death cremation should be banned.
All that is left is whatever samples were taken at autopsy, further examination is now impossible.
This was a good move by the parents if guilty, the down side though is if they are charged they cannot ask for a 2nd autopsy to prove their claims, they are stck with the now incriminating evidence and will have to find a nice M.E to say it was accidental/SIDS.

The language of the parents shows deception. We have to find out why.

John Mc Gowan said...

Basically put her to bed like every other night,” Brian says. “Covered her up, said love you, and walked out.

"And walked out"

If i was putting my daughter to bed i wouldnt say i tucked her in and walked out..

To say that just seems odd,its like saying i had an argument with my wife and walked out..
Now that may be a reason to use that type of language in that context..

snow owl said...

When subject mentions 'position' in a statement (if I recall what Peter wrote on here before, different cases) it shows tension.
For example
"I was sitting on the chair , then.." , etc

So 'walking out' after tucking in- what happened during her bedtime routine, the mom and dad quarelled over something, or parent and child, etc many possibilities.

Foolsfeedonfolly said...

Putting a child to bed always involves eventually leaving the room. The fact that it was important enough for him to mention it makes it suspect. It's like telling another adult that you brushed your teeth, and then you rinsed and spit. Or telling someone that you put on one shoe first, and then the other. Because it's all part of the same event, you don't consciously think to detail out each step out, much less name them. You say, "I brushed my teeth" or "I put on my shoes", which include those usual steps.

The fact that he verbalizes each step of the bedtime at all, is disconcerting. The expected answer would be, "I put Birlkee to bed." or "I tucked her in and kissed her goodnight (and possibly, "turned off the light")." For as detailed as he's appearing, he never mentions turning off the light. So, did she always sleep with the bedroom light on? If it was a fear of the dark thing, parents generally go back and turn the lights off after the child goes to sleep. He didn't say that though.

I'd also want to know how far there room was from hers. Seizures can be loud events, involving thrashing around. Febrile seizures can result from fevers. The mother's description of that Monday allude to a well Birlkee, rather than a sick Birlkee. So, LE would want to know from her brother whether or not she was sick at the time. I'd be interested to know what kind, how many, and at what times of the day any previous seizure activity occurred.

I'm leary of a privately paid polygrapher and a privately paid Medical Examiner.

Anonymous said...

Febrile seizures occur as a result of a quickly spiking fever. My daughter has them. Because they began in infancy, anytime she was sick thereafter I treated her in advance with Motrin to ward off any fever. But once when she was 3, she fell asleep on a living room chair having had no sign of illness. I walked over to check on her and found her seizing and burning up with fever. When her lips turned blue, I called the ambulance. It was horrifying. Thankfully she began breathing on her own again within seconds. What if I had not checked her then and she had stopped breathing and not started again on her own? Even though she shook more with that seizure it was not loud.

Anonymous said...

These parents at the least, are negligent.

If I had an infant or toddler, who had a history of unexpected high fevers and seizures I would keep the child nearby at all times, particularly while sleeping. The child would be sleeping in MY room where I could watch out, look out, listen, NOT placed in a room alone, put to bed and left alone to die in their sleep.

Why would you not be checking on this child frequently during the night, as Anon above did?

This is the thing that concerns me. You don't leave your baby alone all night who could go into a seizure at any time and die.

Anonymous said...

Please help find Ayla

Brody’s grandma, Shari Rando says her grandson loved his little sister.

“He was a very protective brother,” she says.
I wonder what he protected her from.

Anonymous said...

Anon @6:14, most older children are protective of their little baby sister, especially boys. They don't need a reason, they just are.

This is one of the things that has concerned me about missing baby Lisa and six year old Isabell. Both those little girls had older brothers who would also have been protective of their little sister. OR, what strange things were going on in their household that prevented them from paying attention to the little sister?

Those little boys are/were old enough to talk and give witness to everything that went on in their homes and situations involving their sister. WHERE are their statements, why have we not heard what the brothers had to say?

Unknown said...

I'm torn on this one - the parents may be deceptive but just what are they being deceptive about? My daughter almost died at three from a febrile seizure. She was sleeping in our bed between us and we woke up to her seizing, back arched, face blue. We both grabbed her at the same time and flipped her forward and a solid piece of vomit slid from her throat and she started breathing again. It was terrifying to imagine later what would have happened had we tucked her in bed that night in her room across the house :(.

Anonymous said...

Your near fatal tragedy with your own baby at aged three brings it home Wreyeter; WHY would these parents put this baby in her own room to sleep alone, KNOWING that she is subject to having a febrile seizure?!

There is no excuse or rationale for this. Didn't they care what happened to her, and that being a situation they would have no control over if they weren't nearby to rescue the poor little thing?

IMO, they are guilty of gross negligence in the death of their baby even if there is no evidence of one of them causing her death.

Thank God you and your husband were there to save your baby Wreyeter, just as I would have been. There is NO WAY I would have left my little girl (or boy) alone to fend for themselves when they cannot.

Anonymous said...

“Basically put her to bed like every other night,” Brian says. “Covered her up, said love you, and walked out. Went in to wake her up around 9:30 and I found her.

The pronoun 'I' is used only when she was found dead. The rest of the statements are either made up, or connected to another person, not to the speaker, IMO.

Anonymous said...

I agree that the parents show sensitivity in their statements, but it doesn't mean they murdered their daughter. I have a friend who lost her daughter almost 3 years ago, at the age of 18 months to SUDC. It's like SIDS but in older children. M had been sick for weeks and back and forth to the Dr for cold/sinus symptoms. She laid down for a nap and passed in her sleep. Her poor Mama still goes through every single moment of those 2 weeks trying to figure out if she could have done more, if the doctors missed anything. The coroner ruled it SUDC though and it seemed to be another blow because there will never be a reason.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

I'm far from an expert on statement analysis, I've only been lurking a couple of months, but perhaps the father's statement, dropped pronouns etc. about putting his daughter to bed is an example of distancing because he KNOWS they were negligent to do just that knowing their daughter could suffer a seizure, distancing because of guilt of negligence?

Anonymous said...

I am on the fence here. It seems the prosecuter is dead set on it being a murder but for some reason I dont get the feeling of total guilt on the parents statements. I think maybe they knew they should have been more attentive like wreyeter said.

Lemon said...


You're on the fence three (3) times. Is there something you want to tell us? :)

katilac said...

Please do no judge quickly or harshly. Most children who have epilepsy (not just febrile seizures) sleep in their own room, in their own beds, the same as most typical children. The standard literature does not recommend sleeping with a parent, and having them sleep alone is certainly not considered negligence of any kind. This would certainly apply in this case, where the child seemed well and they had no reason to suspect a febrile seizure might occur.

For the record, the only activities that are routinely discouraged for children with epilepsy are climbing onto high places, and swimming or bathing unattended (if they shower, they generally do so unattended).

Anonymous said...

I am not certain if it is common knowledge but I happen to know someone who was a friend of BJ's from high school who happens to be a federal criminal investigator who believes to this day she killed her daughter.
Possibly not widely known she left a voicemail for a divorce attorney the morning they found their daughter dead.
Other friends were very disturbed at the way the mother spoke of their daughter after her death was made known. These friends sat at her home with her and listened to her the days following Birklee's death.
I think someone needs to investigate this further. How often are autopsy conclusions changed once a medical examiner makes that determination, statistically?