Neighbors frustrated child’s death wasn’t prevented

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JACKSON TOWNSHIP, YORK COUNTY, Pa. -- Friends and neighbors are disgusted as they believe more could have been done to save a three-year-old Jackson Township girl's life.

Police said Isabel Rose Godfrey was pronounced dead at York Hospital 7 o'clock Wednesday night. Officers found her to have bruising all over her body and several deep bite marks on her torso.

Godfrey's mother Regina Lester is charged with her death.

The disturbing details have people who knew and loved the little girl nicknamed Bella, asking how a child ends up dead, allegedly at the hands of her own mother.

Neighbor Ashley Beers said "Children and Youth knew what was going on. Children and Youth was investigating it, they dropped the ball. They left these children in the home, when numerous
people told them that Regina was dangerous to be with her child."

After Godfrey's death, York County communications director Carl Lindquist explained an investigation into what happened at this home begins with the entire child welfare network.

"Not just the Office of Children Youth and Families, whether mandated reporters did their job, and reported any signs of abuse and neglect, or whether additional services should have been provided and by whom," Lindquist said.

Regina Lester is charged with the death of her own daughter. Some in the community blame synthetic drugs. Lindquist confirmed Lester submitted to regular drug testing, but he couldn't say for which drugs.

Family friend Andrew Day said "Children and Youth, from what Regina and Ryan told me, all Children and Youth did is they came in, and they drug tested them both, and they were out the door."

Day often babysat for Bella and wants everyone to do their part to help prevent the loss of another child.

"People need to wake up. These children, our youth, they need us," Day said.

"Protecting children is a community wide responsibility. It doesn't just come down to one agency, it comes down to friends, neighbors, teachers, doctors. We really all as individuals have a responsibility, if we have a concern, to make a report," Lindquist said.

Meanwhile, the community is frustrated that may not be enough.

"There are a lot of emotions, so our hearts go out to both to those folks who loved that little girl, to all of her family members, all of her friends. It's a very challenging situation," Lindquist said.

Lester was arraigned on homicide charges at York Hospital.

She had blood samples taken for testing, as well as dental impressions made for the bite marks found on her daughter.

Police state that when officers arrived at the home with a search warrant, they found synthetic marijuana and a smoking pipe out in the open on the kitchen table.

Godfrey's autopsy results are pending.

The York County Office of Child Youth and Families will follow standard protocol in a child death case. It will form a committee of six experts to review the case to determine what happened and what if anything under Pennsylvania child abuse protection laws could have prevented Godfrey's death.