Questioning of siblings reveal little in mom's murder


by By WENDY HUNDLEY / The Dallas Morning News

Posted on August 15, 2009 at 4:49 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 16 at 12:34 PM

Darla Miles reports
September 30, 2008

Roanoke police said Tuesday that they still don't know what prompted the slaying of a 43-year-old woman whose teenage daughter and son, along with the girl's boyfriend, have been arrested in the crime.

Jennifer Bailey, 17, her 14-year-old brother, and a 16-year-old boy are suspects in the stabbing death of Susan Bailey, whose body was found by police Sunday at her Roanoke home. The three were taken into custody in South Dakota on Sunday morning, after being stopped for curfew violation. At the time, they were driving Ms. Bailey's 2002 Saturn.

Police said Jennifer Bailey declined to make any statements about the incident to law enforcement officials who had traveled from Texas to Sioux Falls, S.D., where the three teens have been held in a juvenile detention center since Sunday.

"There was nothing in their exchange that would be helpful in the investigation," Roanoke police Sgt. Chris Almonrode said of the interview.

The other two teenagers, both students at Northwest High School, were not interviewed. Under Texas law, 17-year-olds are considered adults in criminal proceedings, but in South Dakota, youths under age 18 are considered juveniles.

All three suspects, who are accused of capital murder, have waived extradition and are expected back in North Texas today, officials said.

Jennifer Bailey will be booked into the Denton County Jail as an adult. The other two suspects will be held at the Denton County Juvenile Center. The Dallas Morning News is not naming those two youngsters because they are still considered juveniles.

After the suspects arrive back in Texas, detectives will seek a magistrate's permission to interview the two younger teens, Sgt. Almonrode said.

The sergeant said that as part of the investigation, authorities would look into a Fort Worth case in which a 15-year-old Northwest High School student was arrested Sept. 23 for attempting to rob her mother at knifepoint. According to police reports, the woman said she woke up about 7 a.m. and saw her daughter standing over her holding a knife.

Authorities have determined that Ms. Bailey died of stab wounds to her neck, but Sgt. Almonrode said they have not linked the Fort Worth teen - who, he said, is a friend of one of the Roanoke suspects - to Ms. Bailey's death.

Although police say they still don't have a motive for the slaying, friends and family members have said that Ms. Bailey disapproved of her daughter's relationship with the 16-year-old suspect and that Jennifer had run away several times.

The 16-year-old's father said this week that his son had been dating Jennifer for about a year but that he didn't think the boy sparked the problems between the girl and her mother.

"He was just a normal teenager," he said of his son, whom he reported missing on Sept. 23.

The father said his son was shaken when he spoke with him Monday, and he relayed information about the day Ms. Bailey was killed. The father would not disclose that information, but he said what the boy told him convinced him of his son's innocence.

"I don't think he was involved in this," his father said of the capital murder charges.

The man added that Jennifer and her 14-year-old brother had troubled pasts that included run-ins with their mother.

Court records indicate that Ms. Bailey had been raising her two children as a single parent since May 9, 2006, when she and her husband separated. Richard and Susan Bailey were married in 1988 and divorced in late 2006, records show. Both of the children were born in California.

Mr. Bailey, who did not appear in court when the divorce was finalized on Dec. 27, 2006, was allowed to have only supervised visits with the children under the terms of the divorce.

Standard visitation was not applicable in this case "due to prior involvement with and recommendation by Child Protective Services," according to the divorce papers.

Marissa Gonzales, a spokeswoman for CPS, said she could not comment on the information in the court documents, but she said the Bailey children have never been in the agency's custody.

Mr. Bailey could not be reached for comment. His sister, Jodie Medlock, declined to comment Tuesday on the terms of her brother's divorce or the charges against her niece and nephew.

"This is devastating to all of us," said Ms. Medlock, reached by phone at her home near Los Angeles. "We're a close and loving family and we will get through this."

DMN writer Dan X. McGraw contributed to this story