Former cops provide gravestone for little Laila

Two former police officers have provided a gravestone for the little girl who authorities say was killed by her foster mother.

The men said they read the story on 2-year-old Laila Marie Daniel in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and were heartbroken that her final resting place had no headstone.

One of the men carves gravestones for a living, so they obtained a 120-pound stone marker, etched in the appropriate birth and death information, and placed it at the head of Laila’s grave in Berea Cemetery, a small graveyard in Hampton.

“We did this at our own expense and will absolutely accept no payment for it. We did it solely for Laila,” said an email one of the men sent the AJC.

The stone includes a carving of a little girl on her knees in prayer, beside the saying, “In God’s care.”

The men have declined to be identified beyond their first names, Alan and Grady, saying they don’t want any credit or exposure.

Laila had only been in state foster care four months when she died Nov. 17. Police say the girl was beaten to death by her foster mother, Jennifer Rosenbaum, who has been charged with murder and child cruelty. Her husband, Joseph Rosenbaum, has been charged with child cruelty.

The arrest warrant for Jennifer Rosenbaum said she killed the girl by striking the child in the abdomen “with such force the child’s pancreas was transected. The child was believed to enter shock due to the blood loss resulting from the injury.”

Rosenbaum’s attorney, Corinne Mull, said the couple never abused the child. She said Laila died after Jennifer Rosenbaum performed the Heimlich maneuver and CPR when the child was choking on a chicken tender. The force of the compressions may have caused the injury to the pancreas, Mull said.

The girl’s death has cast a harsh light on the state Division of Family and Children Services, which placed her with Rosenbaum.

Laila’s family said they were surprised and grateful when they learned about the gravestone.

The girl’s great-grandmother, Peggy Banks, sent the men an email thanking them.

“I am Laila’s great-grandmother and a lover of policemen everywhere,” Banks said. “I am greatly appreciative of what you have done. That our family tragedy touched you to this extent really touches me.”

She added, “Words cannot express how much your kindness is appreciated.”

More coverage:

The short, tragic life of Laila Marie Daniel: http://www.myajc.com/news/news/local/lailas-short-life/nqBCs/

Autopsy challenges foster mom’s account of child’s death: http://www.myajc.com/news/news/local/autopsy-challenges-foster-moms-account-of-girls-de/npyBG/

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