Tot's Dead Body Abused
ADELANTO - Two employees of a company that
transports bodies for the county Coroner's Office were arrested Friday
afternoon after a 4-year-old Adelanto girl's body was used for sex,
All-County Transportation employees Donald Luis Cooper Jr., 32, and Chaunee
Marie Helm, 30, both of Hesperia, were arrested on suspicion of mutilation
of human remains, authorities said.
The 4-year-old, Robyn Gillette, suffered a seizure Wednesday night and died
at Victor Valley Community Hospital in Victorville, authorities said.
On Friday night, the girl's mother, Kathleen Jones, 36, of Adelanto, said
that when she learned Wednesday what authorities say happened to her
daughter's body, it "was the longest day from hell.'
"She was a loving child, always hugging and kissing, always smiling,' Jones
said. "She had the greatest little personality. She was happy all the time,
always singing and dancing.'
Sheriff's spokeswoman Cindy Beavers said the charge was mutilation only
because the alleged assault occurred after the girl died, not because there
had been any other injury to the body.
County Coroner Brian McCormick described the incident as "horrendous and
"What has been described constitutes the grossest violation of trust and
decency imaginable,' he said in a written statement. "Our hearts go out to
the family and we share their anger.'
Coroner's officials said they immediately suspended use of All County
Transportation pending a review of the case. Transportation of bodies now
will be conducted by coroner's officials, they said.
Riverside County sheriff's officials said they also use the company to
transport bodies and were looking into any possible improprieties.
According to the family, the girl suffered a seizure Wednesday night and had
stopped breathing. She was taken by paramedics to the hospital and died at
9:22 a.m., coroner's officials said. Her body was taken to the county morgue
in San Bernardino for examination, they said.
The girl's body then was taken to the Inland Eye and Tissue Bank so her
corneas could be harvested. At 7:50 p.m., a technician conducting the
operation noticed the girl's body had been sexually assaulted and notified
the Coroner's Office, sheriff's officials said.
Coroner's officials then contacted the Sheriff's Department.
Investigators with the sheriff's homicide and crimes against children
details interviewed the girl's family and determined the assault did not
occur at her home, authorities said.
Jones said her five other children were put in the custody of county Child
Protective Services for more than 12 hours Thursday during the
Investigators interviewed coroner's personnel and other county employees and
determined none were suspects, Beavers said.
They then focused on employees of All County Transportation, she said.
Cooper and Helm were arrested at 4:30 p.m Friday at the Budget Inn Motel in
Victorville, deputies said.