Couple Collecting Signatures To Impanel Grand Jury In Daughter's Drowning

Monday, September 23rd 2013, 6:02 pm
By: News On 6

A Tulsa County couple must get 10,000 signatures on a petition in order to get a grand jury to investigate the death of their 19-month-old daughter, Gracie.

The couple had taken Gracie to an aunt's house in Sand Springs, while they went to work.

As they were on their way to pick her up that evening, they got the phone call that is every parent's worst nightmare--their little girl was dead. She had drowned in a koi pond in the aunt's front yard.

Gracie was the light of her parents' lives, the center of their universe. They said she loved animals. She rode a camel at the fair and an elephant at the zoo.

9/16/2013 Related Story: Tulsa Grand Jury Investigation Sought In 2012 Drowning Death

They said her laugh made others laugh, too.

"She would always laugh. She loved Minnie Mouse. I don't care who you were, she put a smile on your face," said her father, Gary Schooley.

Now, Schooley and Tiffany Martin visit Gracie's grave, every day. They said, if she was here, they would see her every day, so her death isn't going to change that.

What they miss most is her very presence.

"Just knowing that, no matter what happens throughout the day, at the end of the day, you still get to see your daughter," Schooley said.

Schooley's aunt, Nita Teague, was watching Gracie at her home in Sand Springs on March 27, 2012, like she had done many times before.

But, that day, Schooley's grandma called to say something horrible had happened--Gracie had drowned in the aunt's front yard koi pond.

They said they've heard different stories about how it happened, but none from their aunt personally.

"The basis is, she was in the bathroom with Gracie, opened the front door, closed the front door, and by the time they realized she was gone, she was in the water, drowned," Schooley said.

The medical examiner said Gracie died from drowning and listed it as accidental, but Schooley and Martin believe it was neglect, and wanted his aunt charged with a crime. But the District Attorney's office wouldn't prosecute.

So, now they want a grand jury to investigate.

Read the petition to impanel grand jury

"I do believe kids get away from you like that and accidents happen, but she just wasn't being watched. If you're watching her and she falls in the pond, you pull her out and we're not sitting here," Schooley said.

They said the aunt has apologized and reached out to them, but they're not interested.

We left her a message, but didn't hear back.

Gary Schooley and Tiffany Martin will be at the fair each day when it starts Thursday, trying to get those 10,000 signatures. They'll be walking around wearing Gracie t-shirts.

Find out where else they will be on the Justice for "GG" Facebook page.