Sarvia Elizabeth Velasquez

February 10, 2009 - May 2, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial

I can't imagine what it must feel like to be a grandparent concerned for the welfare of a grandchild and do all you can do to protect that grandchild and have no one listen to you. Bruce and Francisca Anderson know that feeling better than they would like to. Bruce and Francisca ahd made several attempts to get help for their granddaughter, Sarvia, by calling the Alberta Children And Youth Services Ministry and letting them know that they had serious concerns about the safety of their granddaughter being neglected and possibly being abused. Elizabeth was their son, Reinier Jimenez's, daughter, he shared custody with her mother who was also named Sarvia Velasquez. Bruce and Francisca took Elizabeth on trips to the mountains and were elated to have her in their lives.

In March of 2009, they could tell that something was not right with Elizabeth who was usually a very happy child. Elizabeth didn't like to be touched any more and was edgy all the time, she also had bad diaper rashes that showed she was not being changed enough. Then Elizabeth suffered a broken leg and sadly, while she was just learning to stand up and talk, Elizabeth suffered a second broken leg, less than a week later. In fact, Elizabeth had suffered at least four broken bones while living with her mother and her mother's boyfriend.

On March 15, Bruce called CYS to report what they were sure was abuse and the next day, Francisca called them with an update:

"She had two broken legs, so why didn't remove her"
Reinier Jimenez

A family friend even called Crime Stoppers who said they would pass on the information, Alaida Rubio said that she could tell Francisca was frantic and fearful for Elizabeth's safety. Bruce and Francisca were able to spend a lot of time with her since their son had her part of the time. These loving grandparents say that if their concerns had been looked at in a serious way, their granddaughter would be alive.

On the morning of May 2, 2010, Paramedics were called the home of Elizabeth's mother. Elizabeth was only 14 months old when she was taken to the hospital where an autopsy was at first inconclusive though a later autopsy, done in December, showed that she had died of asphyxia and her death was not accidental. Sarvia and her boyfriend were questioned and neither could be ruled out as a suspect in her death. Reports said that three other children living in the home at the time, were taken into CYS protective custody.

CYS Minister, Yvonne Fritz, said that while she couldn't go in to details, her department was doing an internal review of the case:

"We did receive a call from the child's grandparents in mid March and we were
seriously concerned"

It was reported that a case filed was started and Police and child welfare officials were sharing information as well as concerns, related to the case. Bruce was told that the case would be a high priority:

"We were told it was being treated as an emergency. It was acknowledged"

Bruce said they never heard another word from any officials and by the time they did, Elizabeth was already dead.

"This is our worst nightmare come true, but we're not totally surprised with the outcome
but we were hoping that it would come out that, you know, she had Sudden Infants
Death Syndrome or a brain aneurysm something with natural causes. But the longer
the autopsy took, the worse it was looking"
Bruce Anderson

"She was my little princess. I can't explain the pain in my heart. I will do whatever I can

to help find this monster"
Francisca Anderson

These distraught grandparents were hopeful that at least now that the CYS was involved, answers might be found:

"We know that it's going somewhere, that it's not just, she's gone. Let's just hope
justice is served"
Bruce Anderson

By May of 2011, no charges had been filed and Reinier was upset and wanting answers saying that when he thinks about what his daughter must have gone through in the weeks before she died, it hurts him. Reinier also wanted to know why nothing was done to protect his daughter when complaints had been made, he felt like any action taken  had not been enough:

"It's hard. I thought it was an accident. Some babies, they die, in my mind, I wasn't expecting
this. I want them to find out who did this to my daughter. She's a baby, why would someone do
this to a baby? Sometimes I don't want to think about it, poor little baby"

Reinier said that he had met Sarvia at a New Years Eve party after which they spent six or seven months living together before an ex boyfriends managed to break them up. Sarvia was pregnant by the time they broke up and he moved out. Reinier was happy that he was going to be a father, however, it was hard on him when Sarvia did all she could to make sure he didn't see her very often, he just wanted to be a part of her life. Sarvia had physical custody and she was the one who decided if Reinier and his parents got to spend time with Elizabeth:

"I paid child support, it was hard to even get a hold of Sarvia. I tried to be in her life but
the mom wouldn't let me see her, only when she wanted. There was a lot of problems in
that house. My mom called child welfare and nothing was done"

In August of 2011, it came out that concerns had been voiced when Elizabeth had gone to ACH several times over a 61 day period. Two weeks passed before an assessment with a Pediatric Child Abuse specialist could be done and it took another two weeks to confirm that Elizabeth was being abused:

"There wasn't any one specific breakdown. It was a series of gaps and delays
and miscommunications"
Gayla Rogers - Social Work Expert

A joint meeting too place between a case worker, the Police and health officials, oddly, no one was taking notes though a Pediatric reported was handed out. Police starting urging that Elizabeth be taken out of the home, but it never happened:

"I think timeliness in access to care is something we're going to examine a little bit deeper"
Dr Francois Belanger - Health Services

"We have learned that the way we speak and the way Child And family Services speaks and
Alberta Health Services, there's maybe a difference in how we speak or how we express our
concerns. Perhaps we could have been more clear in expressing our concerns"
Police Chief - Rick Hanson

As of today's date, June 25, 2014, I am unable to find any information about anyone being held accountable for the death of this precious, little Angel.

Return To Elizabeth's Story
Read A Timeline Of Elizabeth's Life
This page was created on June 25, 2014
Death occurred in Canada

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