Dad, stepmom charged in girl's death
Meika Jordan's dad Spencer Jordan and stepmom Marie Magoon, are walked into Alberta Processing Unit by police Sunday, October 7. (Brendan Miller/Special to QMI Agency)
CALGARY -- After an 11-month investigation, police have charged the father and stepmother of six-year-old Meika Jordan with her murder.
Spencer Lee Jordan, 26, was arrested in a south Calgary hotel room and Marie Eve Magoon, 22, was picked up downtown Sunday night. Each are charged with second-degree murder.
Meika was in their care when she was injured Nov. 13, 2011, and died in hospital the next day with her mom, Kyla Guttman, by her side.
An autopsy revealed Meika died of blunt force trauma injuries to her head and abdomen, inconsistent with initial claims she fell down the stairs.
Last Wednesday, police said they believe Meika also sustained a third-degree burn that covered the palm of her hand and fingers.
The updated medical evidence and timeline of the injuries were enough for police to make an arrest and lay charges, homicide Staff Sgt. Doug Andrus said Monday.
When reached, Guttman and common-law spouse Brian Woodhouse said they were happy arrests were made but declined to comment further until a later time.
Meika's grandmother, Donna Guttman, expressed relief at the arrests.
"We're definitely happy we are finally getting justice -- I think the Calgary police have done a fantastic job and I don't think any one of them will get over this, probably the same as our family," she said, adding it brings some closure.
"We are ecstatic, they are where they should have been 10 months ago."
In a December interview with QMI Agency, Kyla Guttman was left searching for answers, questioning what her daughter could have possibly done to deserve such horrific harm.
Andrus was not able to comment on a possible motive as the matter is before the courts.
"Caregivers do not harm their children for reasons typically found in adult sudden death investigations such as revenge or greed or robbery -- caregivers harm their children for reasons such as crying, bed-wetting, or out of frustration or resentment," he said.
"One of the reasons these investigations are so complex is that caregivers are either reluctant or embarrassed to discuss those reasons with our investigators."
The accused did not co-operate with the investigation.
Police and partnering agencies working together was key to solving the case, which was rewarding.
"Of course infant deaths tend to strike a special chord with our investigators, an emotional chord, some of whom have children of their own and I think this investigation also struck an emotional chord with the community," Andrus said.
The accused will appear in court Tuesday.
THE MEIKA JORDAN INVESTIGATION:
- Nov. 13, 2011: Police go to a Temple Dr. N.E. home for a child with undetermined injuries.
- Nov. 14, 2011: Meika Jordan, 6, dies in hospital.
- Nov. 16, 2011: Autopsy shows the child died of blunt force trauma and police deem her death a homicide.
- Oct. 3, 2012: Police reveal Meika's biological father and stepmother are the sole suspects in the case and the girl sustained prior injuries, including severe burns to a hand and fingers.
- Oct. 7, 2012: Spencer Lee Jordan and Marie Eve Magoon are arrested.
- Oct. 8, 2012: Police reveal Jordan and Magoon have been charged with second-degree murder in Meika's death.
RECENT CHILD DEATHS IN CALGARY:
- Dec. 27, 2004: 10-month-old Sean Fewer killed by mom Stacey Joy Bourdeaux, who was given a four-year term for manslaughter. In May 2010, Bourdeaux attempted to kill a second son, whom QMI Agency is not naming, and was five years old at the time. She was handed the equivalent of a 13-year prison term in June 2012. Her sentence has been appealed.
- Feb. 2007: Aminat Magomadova, 14, is strangled. Her mom, Aset Magomadova, is accused in her death. A five-week hearing has been set for April 14, 2013. Aset Magomadov had been convicted of manslaughter after a judge rejected her claim of self-defence when she strangled her daughter with a scarf. That ruling was overturned by the Alberta Court of Appeal in 2011.
- Aug. 5, 2007: Baby Emelia Matwiy, 4 1/2 months old, died from injuries Daniel Berge, her mom's then-fiance, caused days earlier when he shook her after finding she wasn't breathing. Berge was handed three years in prison for manslaughter earlier this month.
- Jan. 18, 2010: Brittney McInnes, 17, is found dead, stuffed into a box spring in her Canyon Meadows home. Stepfather Bradley Rietze pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in February 2012.
- May 2, 2010: 14-month-old Elizabeth Velasquez dies of asphyxia and her death has been ruled a homicide. Before she was killed, her grandparents made failed bids to convince child-welfare officials the toddler, who already suffered broken bones, was in peril. At the time, Elizabeth was in the care of her mother, Sarvia Velazquez, and her boyfriend, Arnaldo Rodriguez. No charges have been laid.
- Aug. 25, 2010: Daniel Herchak, 26 days old, dies of blunt force trauma. His mom, Shelby Anna Herchak, 21, is charged with second-degree murder. She was released on bail last month and will have her trial set later this week.