Grandmother Seeks Justice for her Dead Granddaughter

Monday, March 19th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TULSA - A woman wants a grand jury investigation into the drowning death of her 10-year-old granddaughter.

A prosecutor has refused to file a murder charge for the death of Rachel Clayton of Jenks, who died on Nov. 10, 1998, in a bathtub.

Tulsa District Attorney Tim Harris said that he believes Rachel Clayton was murdered, but that there was not enough evidence to file a murder charge.

Clayton's grandmother, Madge Colbert, may be able to force a grand jury investigation through a signature-gathering campaign.

Former Tulsa Assistant District Attorney Mark Collier thought the case warranted a murder charge.

``I didn't necessarily think it was going to be an easy case. But I believed it was as good as it was ever going to get,'' he said.

Rachel's mother, Cheryl Doss, reported finding her daughter dead in the bathtub after school officials called her at work to ask why the child wasn't in class.

Jenks Police Chief Don Lewis said Doss made inconsistent statements about the death, which led police to suspect her.

Harris said he and three other assistant prosecutors agreed the evidence wasn't strong enough to warrant a murder charge.

``It's not a question of winning or losing,'' he said. ``We have to believe there is a sufficiency of evidence beyond a reasonable doubt.''

Doss' attorney, Guy Fortney, said his client has cooperated fully with the investigation and should not be blamed for the death.

``She knows that she had no involvement in the death. To go dragging her through the muck about this when she has suffered a grievous loss, too, is unfortunate,'' he said.

Once a petition for a grand jury investigation is filed and a judge rules it sufficient, Colbert will have 45 days to get the 5,000 or so signatures needed to get the case to a county grand jury, court spokeswoman Carlene Voss said.