Monday, December 24, 2012

3-year-old Alexis Pounder died from child abuse


Pictures of Alexis Pounder and Donald Cockrell show happier times


Police were called out to Cottontail Lane in Sandy Saturday night to find the body of 3-year-old Alexis ‘Lexi’ Marie Pounder. We all watched in horror as mug shots of Donald Cockrell and Michelle Smith were blasted on every news station in the Portland Metro Area. It’s horrible to think that a stranger would kill a child, but to hear that the very people responsible for nurturing and raising her were to blame broke our hearts.

Autopsy reports show that the little girl was severely starved and beaten.

There are some extremely disturbing facts about this case, and although I can’t begin to know anything about the investigation, the things that have been shared with the public continue to make my skin crawl.

The couple lived in a house with many people, including Michelle Smith’s parents who lived upstairs. Realistically, 4 adults were quite possibly witness to the abuse. Smith’s parents deny knowing anything was wrong, and although I can neither confirm nor deny the truth in that, I have to wonder what kind of grandparents live in the same building and don’t see their children or grand children on at least a semi-regular basis? Acute starvation isn’t something you don’t notice.

There were five children in the couple’s custody. Two belonged to Cockrell, the others were Smith’s.

Additional charges were filed due to the assault and torture of another child in their care, Alexis’ 2-year-old sister.

Neither of the children that were being abused were biologically Michelle Smith’s children.

According to autopsy records, Alexis Pounder died from ‘blunt force trauma’ and ‘acute starvation.’

Alexis’ mother’s family hasn’t been allowed to see the little girl since November, and feared that there was something very wrong.

Photos of the couple are disturbing to say the least. After a little bit of research, older pictures of the couple showed healthy, happy people. Donald proudly posted pictures of his daughters and boasted about how cute they were. There were no signs that he was abusive, or he wouldn’t have been awarded custody of his children. Michelle’s neighbors are shocked that the little girl they used to watch pitch for Sandy High School’s softball team is now accused of murdering a 3-year-old girl and torturing her 2-year-old sister. Pictures now show Michelle with poc marks on her face, and un unshaven and hobo-ish Donald.

Donald’s remaining child has not been placed with their mother, Heather Marie Pounder due to circumstances in her life that are preventing her from being able to provide a safe home, according to DHS.

The fathers of Smith’s children are all being tracked down, and there is no word on if any of them have been found or are fit or willing to take custody of their children.

I can’t even begin to speculate what happened in their lives to drive them to do something so horrific, but it was physically evident in photos that something very big did indeed change.

What makes a man fight for his children only to take part in her murder and abuse of his other daughter?

The grand jury results will be brought to court on January 19th, and the preliminary hearing is set for February 11th.

We will have to wait and see as the events unfold to learn more, but my heart aches for the children left behind. God bless the people in the shelter who have been given the charge of being the first healers into the lives of the four remaining children in this tragedy as they all undergo medical exams. I fear what the results of those examinations will be.

The families are in the prayers of many people tonight. It’s hard to stuff the anger down as I watch my own 3-year-old gallop around the room like a horse, laughing and playing. Trying to imagine the look on her face if she was deprived of food and hungry, or after being beaten, wondering why the people she loved the most in the world were hurting her. Wondering how a person can take something as wonderful as a three-year-old girl and hurt her in any way. My heart aches for her, and I can’t imagine the kind of thing that would drive a person to beat and starve such a beautiful baby and her little sister.

We’re all hugging our children a little tighter tonight as we tuck them into bed and kiss their little foreheads as they look up at us and ask for ice cream, or tell us that they love us back, and we’re all thinking of little Lexi, and wishing that she could have had the same affections.

Please, if you or some one you know is being hurt, do something about it. Abuse has got to stop. If you feel that you may hurt a child, or have already, it’s not too late to get help. If drugs have taken over your life, and you find yourself unable to provide a safe home, please, call friends, family, or the authorities and find some one who can.

For information on prevention, research, and where to find help, go to and learn how to break the cycle.


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