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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, authorities said.
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 tragic."
"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 investigation.
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.


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