Most recent updates will be listed first

UPDATE: 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.

UPDATE: 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 been abused:

"This is a case where social workers are accused of falsifying documents and
obstruction justice after the fact. They're not being prosecuted for failure to take care
of this little girl while she was alive.
They're being prosecuted for what they did after
she died to protect themselves"

Doriane Coleman - 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 Candice 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 protection.

UPDATE- APRIL 17, 2012:

On February 3, 2012, Lady Bird Powell was arrested and charged with second degree murder, first degree
kidnapping, extortion, possession of Meth Amphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia and two counts of
felony 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 to
imagine 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
 and we 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 dedication"

Sheriff Curtis Cochran

Also arrested 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.


Swain Department of Social Services board deadlocks; dead toddler's mom speaks out. March 8,

2011BRYSON 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.

Aubrey 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 that allegation.

“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 case.

“So 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 3-year-old.

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.

Powell, 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 blood.”

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 records.

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.

Smith 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.





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