COWETA COUNTY, Ga. - Two Coweta County parents have been charged in connection to their toddler’s murder, months after they regained custody of their six children.
Daniel and Elizabeth Lee are being held in the Coweta County jail without bond following the death of their 2-year-old daughter, Aleigha. Daniel “DJ” Lee has been charged with second-degree child cruelty, and Elizabeth Lee faces cruelty, murder and aggravated battery charges.
Daniel Lee, 28, called 911 around 6:30 a.m. on Sunday, reporting a medical emergency. He made the call from his grandparents' Senoia home, where the couple lived, along with their six children.
Investigators say all 10 people were home when emergency medical services arrived to find the child’s unresponsive body. She was transported to the hospital, where she was declared dead.
Initially, the Lees both faced the child cruelty charges. Charges were added for Elizabeth Lee after taped interviews she and her husband offered.
While investigators would not detail what they found, Channel 2 investigative reporter Nicole Carr filed an open records request for warrant applications and found warrants that detail trauma to the child’s body from head to toe.
Many of the details are too graphic to report on television, but a Georgia Bureau of Investigation autopsy found blunt force trauma to the child’s stomach leading to liver lacerations, a swollen brain and dehydration.
Burns from a hair tool and cigarettes were also observed by investigators, who interviewed both parents. Elizabeth Lee provided some sort of explanation for each injury, which she said dated back to late October.
She told investigators she had not sought treatment for the injuries because she did not have insurance, according to the warrants.
Daniel Lee was charged for not reporting the injuries earlier, according to the warrant.
The coroner has not yet released a cause of death.
Carr interviewed a man who identified himself as Daniel Lee’s grandfather on Thursday.
“What happened on Sunday?” Carr asked.
“I’m not supposed to talk about it,” he told her, adding that Lee had recently failed to meet probation terms.
“And since he didn’t turn her in, they got him, too,” the man said.
The man’s wife then asked Channel 2 Action News to leave the property before Carr had a chance to ask whether they’d observed the injuries and alleged abuse.
The couple would not offer their names.
A SECOND CHANCE
The charges come a little more than four months after the Lees successfully completed programming through a new Coweta County Family Treatment Court.
They were profiled in the local paper as former methamphetamine addicts who had turned their lives around through the program, regaining custody of the kids.
“Had you all responded to them recently? Responded to their home?” Carr asked a Coweta investigator.
“Not while they were receiving services from DFCS and within the drug court and while they were completing their classes, no,” said Lt. Elaine Jordan. “This was the first call that we’d had.”
Carr reached out to an administrator with the FTC. She did not immediately return a phone message left Thursday afternoon.
The Lees’ five other children are back in state custody.
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