A mother and two grandparents have been charged with abusing and killing a 6-year-old girl and attempting to cover up evidence, according to Page police records.
After the child's death, Page police officers entered the grandparents’ home and allege they found a room that was in the middle of a cleaning: cocaine, methamphetamine and cannabis were pushed indiscriminately into a bathroom sink, small plastic bags with drug residue were found in a toilet and broken pipes were found in a trash can.
Page police were directed toward the grandparents' home after the girl had stopped responding and was brought to Page Hospital on May 3. She was later declared dead at the hospital that same day. Reports obtained by the Arizona Daily Sun show that while the young girl tested positive for cocaine at the hospital, an autopsy found she likely died from fentanyl overdose. The accidental death was likely from illegally acquired fentanyl, the medical examiner reported.
As of last week, the grandparents, 51-year-old James Lane and 47-year-old Victoria Bizardie, have pleaded not guilty to first degree murder and child abuse.
Lane and Bizardie have also been charged with 11 drug crimes including owning and intending to sell narcotics, dangerous drugs and cannabis, tampering with evidence and owning a weapon while committing a felony. Lane is also prohibited from owning a firearm, and was charged twice for owning two handguns — a 9mm and .32 handgun.
When the two grandparents entered Coconino County Superior Court for their first hearing in shackles, the court had no record of a bond for the two suspects. Judge Cathleen Brown-Nichols and attorneys in the case agreed to a $1 million, cash-only bond for both grandparents before the hearing was over.
Attorney Bruce Griffin, representing Lane, had a representative appear for him in court and did not respond for comment after the hearing. Attorney Craig Williams, representing Bizardie, spoke on behalf of his client by phone and also did not respond for comment.
Even though the case was alleged to be an accident by the medical examiner, police say the grandparents were responsible for the young girl's safety.
“This illegal drug activity resulted in a very dangerous living condition that endangered the life of [the child], who was in the care and custody of her grandparents,” according to police records filed in court.
The mother, 30-year-old Kamaya Lane, was also charged with first degree murder and child abuse, but has not had her first day in court. At this time, not much is known about the child’s mother, who was arrested in New Mexico on Aug. 27.
The grandparents told police their grandchild had stayed with them for several weeks, and was going to move to New Mexico at the end of the school year to join her mother. But after her arrest on murder and child abuse charges in Farmington, N.M., Kamaya Lane is waiting to be extradited to Coconino County to appear in court.
If found guilty on all charges, the child’s mother faces the possibility of a 12 years in addition to life in prison. The grandparents’ drug charges mean the possibility of over 100 years in prison if found guilty on all charges, which does not include the possibility of life in prison if they're found guilty of first degree murder.
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Page Police Department officials have not responded to multiple attempts to contact the agency by phone, and declined to comment beyond information provided in preliminary press releases.
Pipes and trash bags
On the morning of her death, a babysitter found the child sound asleep in her bedroom, snoring loudly, the medical examiner explained. When the babysitter checked on the girl two hours later, she wasn’t responding.
Records show medical staff did not expect the child to live long after police arrived that afternoon. While there were no obvious signs of trauma, she tested positive for cocaine. The girl was declared dead at 1:52 p.m.
An autopsy later did not show any cocaine in her system, but did test positive for fentanyl. She had 11.8 ng/ml of fentanyl in her body, meaning her 47-pound body likely had at least three times the therapeutic amount, according to Page police records.
Medical staff explained to police that the child was brought in by Bizardie and the woman's friend. They both had left and then returned later with the grandfather.
While speaking with James Lane, vomit was found on his shirt. Officers believe the vomit matched what was found on his granddaughter’s clothes in the hospital. While the police interviewed the family, other officers obtained a search warrant and responded to the family’s home. Inside the home, officers found more vomit-stained paper towels in trash bags.
Inside the grandparents’ home and vehicle, officers found methamphetamine, fentanyl, heroin, cocaine and cannabis. They found pipes for smoking, small plastic bags with drug residue, dozens of laptops and cell phones.
On the sink in the master bathroom, officers found methamphetamine, cocaine and cannabis spread out across the bathroom counter, and cocaine and methamphetamine caught in the pipes. Officers also found $3,000 in cash in a bathroom safe and a small knife with cocaine and heroin residue on the bathroom's shelf.
The police used this evidence to establish cause and arrest the grandparents for the drug, tampering and homicide charges.
“It was found that Bizardie and Lane attempted to cover up the crimes by not calling an ambulance to the residence and cleaning up the vomit and disposing of drugs and associated paraphernalia prior to police arrival at the residence,” according to police records filed in court.
Police tested Bizardie and Lane's blood and found the grandfather tested positive for cocaine and crack cocaine, while the grandmother tested positive for cannabis and methamphetamines.