Adrianna Maria Cram
August 25, 2000 - June 13, 2005
Find A Grave Memorial

How does a beautiful little girl who is living in Oregon with her mother, end up dying in Mealca, Mexico? Adrianna first got to Mexico during the Summer of 2004 and all seemed well, it was an illusion. A few blocks away from her home, Adrianna would attend school in a Government funded preschool, one story building with a play area outside for the children to have fun. Adrianna played with her cousins and it seemed like she had been sent to the right place when Child Welfare Officials removed her from her home and sent her to live in Mexico. But first impressions can sometimes be very deceiving and this time, they were.

Adrianna was born to Tausha Cram when she was only 17 years old, Tausha wouldn't even touch her daughter, saying:

"Everything I touched I made garbage"

Tausha had a rough start in life, she moved around quite often, had been sexually abused, was addicted to Meth Amphetamines by the age of the 13, dropped out of school and became pregnant at the age of 16. Tausha and Romero Marin were married and it turned out he was a violent man and their marriage lasted less than one year.  It was before she was to turn a year old that a complaint came in to a child abuse hot line saying that Adrianna was not getting medication she needed for Thyroid condition and that her mother was using drugs. Tausha denied it was true, but Adrianna was removed from her home and placed in foster care.

Adrianna was said to be an adorable little girl who at the age of 15 months could say words like hi, by and she would say ho ho ho for Santa Clause.  There were also some concerns about her development and it was said that at the age of 17 months old, her language skills were those of a much younger child and by the age of two years and seven months old, she would experience days where she refused to play or to eat anything and at times didn't want anyone to touch her even to the extent that she didn't want her diaper changed. A Doctor suggested she needed a better home situation.

Guidelines state that a permanent situation needs to be in place within 36 months, for children in foster care, even if it means that the child doesn't go back to the parent. In the first year, Adrianna had been in three different foster homes, having been removed from one home because the foster parent was abusing drugs. During this time, Tausha was in and out of drug treatment and having supervised visitation with Adrianna, though at times, she didn't even show up. In
January of 2004, Tausha was in jail when she was given notice that the state intended to take away her parental rights to Adrianna.

Romero Marin was living in Washington at the time and was shown to not be a fit parent because he had charges pending and he was in the country illegally as well as having lied to Police about who he was. At the age of four years old, Social Workers in Mexico were recommending that Adrianna be placed with Romero's sister, Elizabeth Romero Marin, Adrianna's 24 year old Aunt who was married and had two children who were close in age to Adrianna. Elizabeth and her husband, Hector de Jesus Luna owned their own home with three bedrooms, it was clean and said to have an indoor toilet. A plan was put into place and James Perillo, an Oregon Case Worker took Adrianna to Mexico with the plan that she would eventually be adopted by the family, though Oregon would be legally in charge and responsible for her welfare until the adoption became final.

James knew that there was no policy in place for handling international adoptions, but he appeared to be doing the best he could with the circumstances he was given. Adrianna's Pediatrician made her medical needs clear to the Doctors in Mexico who said they could handle and take care of her case. James called Elizabeth and talked to her about the situation, making sure they knew what they needed to know and were prepared to accept the responsibilities of this child:

"I wanted to hear that they were dedicated"

Adrianna was taken away by the state of Oregon and sent to Mexico to live with family she had never even met. Within a few short months, teachers began to notice that Adrianna was showing up not dressed properly for the weather, she was cold and often times she was hungry. Albina Cruz Guiterrez had a conversation with Romero and for a time, Adrianna was dressed properly and things seemed to improve, but it didn't last.

Soon, teachers began to notice bruises and would ask Adrianna what had happened:

"Who hit you, Adriannita? Who hit you? I won't tell anybody"
Judith Caizero Aguilar - Teacher

Adrianna would only tell people that she fell, that was a lie. For ten months Adrianna continued to be abused at the hands of those that the state of Oregon saw fit to care for her. Monitoring the situation consisted of phone calls that were mostly made to the family taking care of her with a few calls to the Welfare Workers in Mexico. Little did the state of Oregon know, but the Welfare Workers in Mexico were ignoring repeated complaints about the abuse Adrianna was suffering and they were not even doing the required checks on this little Angel.

Adrianna was at first described as a bubbly little girl, happy and healthy with a love of hats. By the time Winter came, that had all changed, she was withdrawn and very unhappy. When warm weather came around again, Adrianna showed up more often with bruises, hair pulled out and burns on her hands. Judith tried to make her feel better:

"I told her, the Angels protect you. In the night, the Angels will come and take you on a beautiful
trip. Don't have fear Adrianna. The Angels will protect you"

Teachers at her school began to document the abuse they would see, even taking pictures.

Five months after she was brought to Mexico, in December of 2004, Joel Romero Palacious, paid a visit to Desarrollo Integral de la Familiar, the Mexican child welfare agency to let them know that Adrianna was being abused in a home that was violent.

This information was share with the the state of Oregon by the Mexican Consulate. James Perillo made some phone calls to Mexico and spoke with the Psychologist and the Social Worker as well as Elizabeth. Department guide- lines state that he was supposed to make notes about their conversations, he never did. James also never talked to the teachers at Adrianna's school and he was under the assumption that Mexican Social Workers would handle things:

"What could I do? I had not choice"

James said he was getting written updates about her care and that the monthly reports stopped coming in December, he was monitoring the situation by phone and at times he he spoken to Adrianna. His notes about those calls included telling her that he was going to visit Mexico and her asking if he would visit her and he told her he was going to another part of Mexico, she said okay and he noted that she seemed to be doing fine. I am torn about this, maybe he could have done more after abuse complaints were filed. James could have spoken to the teachers, he could have called the Police to do a check on her, he could have made arrangements to visit her. I understand that he had limits, but I believe he could have done more.

Communications from the Mexican Welfare Workers were confusing and made no mention of what family members, teachers and even neighbors had said about the child, that she was being beaten daily. In May, the Principal as well as many teachers had begun actively and desperately trying to get help for this precious little girl. Pictures were taken of her body with bruises and marks all over as well as wounds in various stages of healing. The pictures were taken to the Mexican Welfare Agency and the school employees were begging for someone to help this child. Not one word of their complaints was ever given to the workers in Oregon who were still legally responsible for Adrianna's well being.

On my 19, Albina Cruz Gutierrez, the Principal of the school wrote a letter to the head of the Welfare office, his letter asked for urgent help since Adrianna was showing up to school with new bruises on a daily basis. A response was sent saying that a Social Worker had visited the school on May 23rd and found the children to be in "perfect health", though Adrianna had been absent from school that day and no one had assessed her situation. Albina made a trip to the local office and again urgently asked for a visit and she was told not to worry, that there would be an investigation. Sadly, that investigation never even started.

Albina sent two teachers to Xalapa, the states Capital, to speak with Child Welfare Officials asking for help:

"We told them that if they didn't do their jobs, we were going to the Prosecutors and going to
press charges"

Teachers were sent to the home as well to check on her after she missed several days in a row:

"She dole m Adrianna didn't behave. I told her I didn't want her to hurt Adrianna and said she
should treat her like her other children"

When Adrianna returned to school, once again, she had new bruises, cuts and burns which were photographed and documented by the teachers. Here is some of that documentation:

The school's music teachers, Jazmin Benitez spent a lot of time searching for someone to help Adrianna. Jazmin went to a Mexican Human Rights group and was told she needed to go through Child Welfare Authorities. Jazmin drove half an hour away to Cordoba where she went to the States Attorney General's office. Jazmin was told to get all of the evidence together as well as a copy of Adrianna's birth certificate and the staff at the school was called together by the Principal so they could all help this child:

"I wanted to see if we had enough evidence. We did not have enough. We were gathering it"
Albina Cruz Gutierrez

There was a discussion about kidnapping this child to keep her safe since all of their efforts to help her had failed up to that point:

"I felt Adrianna needed help urgently. I felt very handcuffed"

On Friday, Adrianna was questioned once again by the teachers and no answers were given to them. Monday, Adrianna didn't go to school and Hector told the Principal that she was sick and was going to the doctor that day. When Albina called the Doctor two hours later, she learned that Adrianna was dead.

In Oregon, e-mails were being sent and their records showed meetings took place at the Oregon Department Of Human Services, case workers there were shocked about the death of Adrianna and their hearts were broken, that was all surrounded by what was called "bureaucratic scrambling":

"Everybody and their mother and their lawyer showed up
Jerry Buzzard - States Welfare Manger

Questions came up about if Tausha could legally be told about the death of her daughter since she had no rights to her daughter after neglecting her:

"Those of us who were Social Workers were talking about our ethical responsibility"

Jerry made the decision that he would be the one to tell Tausha. When told about her death, Tausha asked if it would be possible to bring her daughter home and was told no. Adrianna was buried in a cemetery in Omealca which was surrounded by Sugar Cane fields. There was a plaque on her grave on which her name was misspelled.

James started saying he had seen no red flags which would have caused him concern in the case causing him to bring Adrianna home from Mexico, though he said he learned a painful lesson"

"What I do differently now is that I'm demanding things differently. And I'm pushing the consulate
to help me by making sure I'm getting things and reports. Because in a heartbeat, if things don't
go right, I'm going to go get a kid"

Other people dealt with her death on a less personal level and consulted with the Mexican Consulate on what they should say to reporters, rather than saying "A child was abused to death", it was suggested that they say, "It was a tragedy nobody anticipated". Why wouldn't the Oregon DHS just tell the truth, it was NOT a tragedy that was NOT anticipated, they KNEW that the child was being abused and did NOTHING to help her? Why lie to cover up for what was done?

Adrianna's autopsy found multiple contusions and hematomas all in various states of healing as well as signs of forced violence and defensive wounds. The cause of her death was listed as: A deep contusion of the abdomen with a brain hemorrhage from injuries that were three days old.

Elizabeth Romero Marin and Hector de Jesus Luna were arrested and charged with aggravated murder and they were both convicted of their crimes. A trial was held in secret to decide the punishments of these two people and a Judge decided that Elizabeth would get 45 years in prison while Hector would serve only two years for the exact same conviction:

"I don't even know what happened. Both were equally responsible for Adrianna's murder. They
had both abused and tortured her for months"
Roberto Sandoval Uribe - Prosecutor

Each November at the Preschool she attended in Mexico, Adrianna's picture is hung up for the Day Of The Dead celebration. Judith Aguilar had thought about naming her third child after Adrianna and decided that there was only one Adrianna, so she didn't do it. Social Workers in Mexico tried to forget Adrianna and when they thought her spirit was haunting the office with cries for help. A Priest was brought in to do an exorcism and they claim they have not been haunted since. It seems the records of her case have disappeared with officials claiming that the previous administrators took them when they left two years prior.

Of course it took the death of yet ANOTHER child for those in charge to stand up and take notice and promise to make changes in the way things were done:

"Since Adrianna's death, things have changed pretty dramatically with our organization.
We probe more, we question more, our home studies are more thorough. We ask a lot
more questions, we're in closer contact"
Patty Wentz - Department Of Human Services

In November of 2009, four years after the death of Adrianna, it was announced that in Oregon, there was going to be a temporary hold on sending foster children to foreign countries, that would last less than a year.

Three years after her death, Tausha went to Mexico to ask her daughter for forgiveness, she also wanted to find answers to questions about her daughters death as well as ask for permission to bring her daughters body home. The body of Adrianna was dug up and cremated, Tausha brought her ashes home in a stone urn with a silver Angel on the front. Tausha keeps the urn in her room and says she talks to her other children about their sister, all the time.

Death occurred in the Mexico
This page was created on July 14, 2014

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