5-year-old girl tortured and killed, grandparents say she could have been saved
GRESHAM, Ore. (KATU) Oleander Labier was only 5 years old when she was tortured and killed by her father and his girlfriend.
She suffered horrific abuse for years in her short life. She was forced to kneel on rice and bricks, beaten bloody with a belt, and she would get thrown into an icy bathtub. In 2010 the abuse got so bad that it killed her.
Her father, Christopher Rosillo, is currently serving life in prison for murder by abuse. His girlfriend, Guadalupe Quintero, is serving a 20-year sentence for manslaughter.
There were other adults living in the house, too: Quintero's parents. And now Oleander's grandparents are pointing the finger at them. They say the Quinteros witnessed the horrific abuse and told no one about it.
The Quinteros were never charged with a crime.
Now, Oleander's grandparents are fighting for changes to a system that they say is not working. Right now, Oregon's mandatory child abuse reporting law only applies to people with certain jobs, like doctors, teachers, and child care workers. If someone in those professions even suspects a child is suffering abuse, they have to report it.
Oleander's paternal grandmother and step-grandfather, Frank and Marrian Turner, want to expand that law so that it applies to all adults. Marrian said she believes Oleander would still be alive today with the expanded law.
"I feel that she would, and I feel also that if DHS had did their job she would still be alive today," Marrian said.
The Turners settled a lawsuit with the state of Oregon for $500,000 after what they called major lapses by the Department of Human Services.
"Supposedly they're there to help us, and they turned on us," said Frank. "They just forgot about us. It's incredible how, you know, it's just like a thief."
DHS claimed the Turners could have done more to stop the abuse of Oleander. Frank and Marrian said they did all they could, and that DHS never interviewed them.
"Nobody wants to lose their child, especially the way this happened," Frank said. "We need to do everything possible so we don't have another dead child from neglect, abuse, and everyone turning their head and act like they don't see it."
State Sen. Sara Gelser has been weighing the issue of mandatory reporting for all adults. She feels it's a tough mountain to climb and has its faults. But she wouldn't mind seeing those who know something is happening to be held accountable.
"What I'm talking about is -- in Oleander's case -- if adults in her life that knew that she was beaten, that knew that terrible things were happening to her, and they were watching it happen -- they physically saw that happen, it wasn't something they suspected, it wasn't something they were concerned about, it was something they actually knew, I think that's a different thing than our mandatory threshold, which is if you have a concern, you need to make the report," she said.
KATU asked DHS for comment. It said in part, "Last year, there were 10,402 victims of child abuse and neglect in Oregon. We want everyone who suspects child abuse or neglect to call and make a report."
KATU was unable to reach the Quintero family for comment.