MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) - Eleven months after her battered, torn body was found in a house in Muncie’s Whitely neighborhood, and even with her cousin now convicted of murder in her death, local authorities still know relatively little about Marie Pierre.
“We’ve tried to gather as much (information) about her as we can, but we really don’t know much about her,” Delaware County Prosecutor Jeffrey Arnold told The Star Press (http://tspne.ws/1wkukpj ). “Other than she was a healthy little 5-year-old girl who should have had the rest of her life ahead of her.”
Marie died in a house in the 1000 block of North Brady Street on the night of June 22, 2013. A pathologist later found the child’s body showed signs of long-term abuse and torture, with more than 80 scars, bruises and burns.
Beyond her remains, authorities found little in the house to reflect Marie had spent her final months there, other than two plastic bags containing her clothing. She apparently had no toys.
At the end of a two-week trial last Friday, a jury found the victim’s 30-year-old cousin, Charlene Tabb, guilty of murder and neglect charges in Marie’s death, along with other charges stemming from Tabb’s physical abuse of her younger siblings.
Arnold has been involved in prosecuting homicide cases since the 1980s and said he could not recall a single trial in which at least one representative of a slaying victim, and usually several of their family members and friends, had not attended.
At least until Tabb’s Delaware Circuit Court 5 trial this month. No one who knew Marie during her brief life was there on her behalf.
“She did not have anybody,” the prosecutor said. “(Chief Trial Deputy Prosecutor Eric Hoffman) and I were literally her only voice. We will be her only voice at sentencing.”
Jacki Clamme, victim advocate for the Muncie Police Department, sat in on much of the Tabb trial. She said Tuesday that she had tried to offer her office’s support and services to Marie’s father. Sadieufait Pierre, 41 - who reportedly divides his time between Florida and Haiti, where his daughter was born in November 2007 - never responded to messages left by the victim advocate at a family member’s Florida home.
Pierre - whose sister, Evelyn, is Charlene Tabb’s mother - came to Muncie in the immediate wake of his child’s death, and again a few months later, that time to offer his support for a significant bond reduction for Tabb.
Sadieufait Pierre was not at the trial that ended with his niece being found guilty of killing his daughter.
Muncie police Sgt. Jimmy Gibson has photos of two children on a bulletin board in his office. One is Lauren McConniel, who was 5 when she died after months of abuse by her stepmother and others in 2010.
The other photo is of Marie Pierre.
Reviewing interviews he did with relatives of Charlene Tabb and her victim in the wake of last summer’s slaying, Gibson said Tuesday that Marie apparently came to live with Tabb’s parents - and their three youngest children - in their Miami home when she was 2.
(Sadieufait Pierre last year told Muncie police that his daughter’s mother, also named Marie, lived in Haiti and was “very ill,” Gibson said.)