updates will be listed first
January 14, 2015 (Thank you Cat For This Update)
In October of 2013
reports said that a hearing for sentencing in the case of Candice
Lassiter had been postponed Candice had already plead guilty to three
counts of forgery and was facing 45 months in prison. The trial for
Craig Smith was postponed at the same time.
April 16, 2013
In April of 2013, it
was reported that Candice Lassiter, 30 years old
at the time, was being charged with three counts of
obstruction of justice and forgery, connected to the death of Aubrey
and Craig Smith, 28 years old at the time, was being charged with three
counts of obstruction of justice. Prosecutors were charging that after
Aubrey died, Candice told
Craig to change the records in Aubrey's case so it would appear
that the Department Of Social Services had done
all that they could do for her when it was reported that she had
is a case where
social workers are accused of falsifying documents and
the fact. They're
not being prosecuted for failure to take care
of this little girl while
she was alive. They're
prosecuted for what they did after
she died to protect themselves"
Expert In Children's Law - Duke University
Craig had resigned
from his job after Aubrey's death and had his own
landscaping business. Rodney
Hasty, his lawyer
would only say that he was working hard and was trying to get
through things as best as he could. A lawyer who
represented the estate for Aubrey
filed two lawsuits, one which
named the county DSS as a defendant and naming
and Craig as well as at least five other Social Workers, and
was asking for more than
$10,000. claming they
had not done enough for Native American Children who needed
APRIL 17, 2012:
On February 3, 2012,
Lady Bird Powell was arrested
and charged with second degree murder, first degree
extortion, possession of Meth Amphetamine, possession of
drug paraphernalia and two counts of
child abuse. In jail with bail set at $1 million dollars, she
was scheduled to be on court on February 7, 2012:
"This has been one of
the hardest cases that we have to investigate. As a parent,
it is hard
any child being taken away at such an early age. The law enforcement
community is committed
to the pursuit of justice and assisting those who cannot help
themselves. There has
been a great expression of concern from Aubrey's family members
want everyone in
Swain County to know that we have never stopped working
on this case.
Detective Carolyn Posey,
of the Swain County Sheriff's Office, is the lead
detective and I have
great confidence in
her and all of the offices of the Swain County
Sheriff's Office. I want
to thank each officer that
has played a part in this investigation
for their hard work and
were the caseworker assigned to Aubrey's case at the time, Craig Smith,
was arrested on
February 7, 2012 and was charged with three counts of obstruction of
justice. Craig was being held on $25,000.
unsecured bond. Candice Lassiter who was a supervisor with the Swain
County Department Of Social Services
at the time of Aubrey's death, was arrested on the same day and charged
with three counts of obstructing justice
as well as three counts of forgery after telling Craig to change
documents dealing with Aubrey's death.
Department of Social Services board deadlocks; dead toddler's mom
speaks out. March
CITY — Swain
County social services leaders on Tuesday failed to reach a consensus
on suspending four social workers despite meeting in closed session for
nearly three hours.
The board met after county commissioners requested
it suspend workers named in the police investigation into the death of
a toddler who died while in DSS care.
The family of the dead child, Aubrey Littlejohn,
told board members they were disappointed they couldn't reach an
agreement on suspending the workers.
died Jan. 10 at the Cherokee Indian Hospital the night after she was
kept in a car seat for 12 hours and given only bites of a hot dog and
sips of a soda, police have said in court papers.
“We lost a 15-month old baby,” said Ruth McCoy,
Aubrey Littlejohn's great-aunt. “She didn't just die. There was neglect
here. All of them need to be removed.”
Also on Tuesday, Aubrey's mother, Jasmine Littlejohn
spoke publicly for the first time about the death of her daughter.
The mother of a toddler who died in Swain County
while in the care of social workers wants changes in the system so that
other children are not harmed.
The family members caring for her at the time deny
“I just want something to be done about it so that
people will know children are safe,” Jasmine Littlejohn said in an
interview at the Cherokee County jail. She was in jail when her
daughter died and remains there awaiting sentencing in a federal drug
kids will know they are safe. They won't have to worry about this. If a
report goes in, something is going to be done about it. Something is
going to happen.”
Littlejohn said she gave Aubrey to her aunt Lady
Bird Powell when the child was only a few months old because she
couldn't care for her. She was a single mother and already had a
She said the arrangement seemed good, at first.
Powell, she said, was excited to have the baby and lived in a good home
in on the Cherokee Indian Reservation.
Littlejohn said something changed months later.
Powell moved to Bryson City, and Social Services started getting
reports that Aubrey wasn't being cared for, she said.
in an interview with the Citizen-Times, said she took good care of
Aubrey and that the child was fed and allowed out of her car seat the
day before she died.
The death has divided the family.
“I don't see how she could do something like this to
another mother,” Littlejohn said. “Especially not her family. I'm her
The Swain County Department of Social Services board
on Tuesday spent more than two hours in a closed session discussing
whether to suspend workers involved in the case with pay pending the
outcome of the investigation.
DSS Director Tammy Cagle was among those under
consideration for suspension.
Agents with the State Bureau of Investigation on
Feb. 22 seized records and computer hard drives from the DSS office in
Bryson City as part of a probe into the child's death.
Powell, said she discovered the toddler wasn't
breathing about 3 a.m. Jan. 10 and took her to the hospital. She called
911 on the way and tried to perform CPR.
Social worker Craig Smith visited Powell's house
five months before Aubrey died to investigate a complaint that she had
fallen down a set of stairs. He found no evidence of abuse but asked
Powell to have the child examined at the hospital, according to police
Investigators in court papers said Smith falsified
his records after the child's death to show that he had called the
hospital to make sure the child was seen by a doctor. The child,
according to court papers, was never examined.
told investigators he was instructed to falsify his records by his
supervisor, according to court papers.
Aubrey had a broken arm that had healed at the time
of her death, investigators said in a warrant.
No one has been charged in the case.