Mother of Henryetta girl charged with abuse and rape

Thursday, November 10th 2005, 6:23 am
By: News On 6

It was a brutal, unthinkable crime, now 3 years later, a former Henryetta woman has been charged with the rape and sexual abuse of her infant daughter.

Authorities accuse 25-year-old Jennifer Lay of using a hairbrush or some other device to molest her baby, fracturing the girl's pelvis, ankles and palate in the process. News on 6 reporter Steve Berg went to Henryetta to talk with the police who pursued the case and with the child's grandmother.

“We’ve just been waiting for this day, we’ve been waiting three years, and it’s taken." Regina Lay found out her daughter-in-law had been charged from a local newspaper, which she kept close in her hands. "Now we're hoping that it's going to be proven and that it's convicted, not just warranted, not giving her warrants, but we're wanting a conviction."

Henryetta Police Chief Audie Cole says the crime gnawed at him more than anything in his nearly 40-year career. "It sure has, it sure has. And y'know its tough when it's a little baby, the baby couldn't tell us what happened and being a grandfather myself, a little 8-month-old baby, yes it really bothered me."

Among other things, he says new witness interviews, in particular one with Jennifer's Lay's recent boyfriend, gave the District Attorney's office the evidence they needed for charges.

In a statement to police, the boyfriend said Jennifer Lay told him she had hurt the child. Katelyn is now 4-years-old and adopted by another family. Her grandparents haven't seen her since the crime except for pictures. Regina Lay: "She's a beautiful little girl. We won't ever get her back. We know this. But we know she's taken care of, she's taken care of and we've got a college fund for her when she's goes to college, we've got a college fund for her."

Chief Cole was worried he would end his career with a question mark. "Y'know I feel good that I can go home now and retire when I want to retire and know that that's behind me and know that I and the officers have done the best we could."

Regina Lay: "We're elated about it, we really are, we’re glad, we're glad." The grandparents say they were interested in getting custody of Katelyn, but they say they didn't have the money for an attorney.

Jennifer Lay remains in the Tulsa County jail on an unrelated charge. She's due to be returned to Okmulgee County next month.