• Grandmother arrested in connection with 3-year-old's beating death


    LANCASTER COUNTY, S.C. - Lancaster police have made a second arrest in connection with the death of a 3-year-old girl.

    Kayla Cook was charged with homicide by child abuse in Lillian Schroeder's death on Heath Circle. Cook was arrested last month in Cleveland County.

    [PAST COVERAGE: Police investigate death of 3-year-old girl in Lancaster]

    Channel 9 learned Monday that the girl's grandmother, 48-year-old Tracy Helms Schroeder, was also charged with unlawful conduct toward a child.

    According to an arrest warrant, she's accused of lying to DSS, signing an agreement to be the main caregiver for the child then breaking that agreement by allowing the little girl to stay with her father and his girlfriend, unsupervised.

    Lancaster police said Schroeder lied to DSS, claiming she was living with Lillian and caring for her when she was not.

    Officers were called to the home in December in response to a call for an unconscious child. Police said they found the child unresponsive, on her back in the living room, with no pulse or signs of respiration.

    The arrest warrant said that Cook was caring for the little girl while the victim's dad was at work.

    Cook stated that she put the victim in the bath and when she came back and check on her, Lillian was lying face up in the tub, unresponsive but looking around and breathing, according to the arrest warrant.

    [RELATED: Students head back to class as other districts delay due to cold]

    The warrant went on to say that Cook initially told police the child “wasn’t acting right” and she wanted a neighbor to call 911.

    The document stated the 3-year-old had numerous bruises on her body. The autopsy report showed Lillian died from cerebral edema which was due to a blunt force trauma to her head and that the victim died within minutes of the head injury.

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