Verna Carol Tobicoe, 5, May 7, 2015, Chicago, Cook County, IL
Verna Carol Tobicoe was born September 26, 2009, and at just five years old, her life was taken from her, by her stepmother.
On May 7, 2015 at Verna's residence on the 8300 block of South Brandon Avenue in Chicago first responders arrived to find Verna unresponsive in a bathtub. She was taken to the South Shore Hospital where she died shortly after.
When police questioned twenty-seven-year-old stepmother Lisamarie Villasana, she said that Verna had fallen. Investigators, however, found bruises and cigarette burns on her body. The cause of death was a result of multiple blunt force impacts, and her death was ruled a homicide. Verna suffered a lacerated liver, a subdural hemotoma on the back of the head, lacerated intestines, multiple skull fractures and had 'fresh and older bruising', cigarette burns, and a wound on the tip of her right index finger which proved to be consistent with a bite.
Villasana was charged with first degree murder.
The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services had been reported to back in 2014 for abuse and neglect allegations against Verna's real mother.
DCFS were investigating Verna's father and stepmother for allegations of abuse and neglect, but those findings were never publicized to our knowledge.
Verna's two siblings were not given forensic interviews until after Verna's death. They both said in separate interviews that they were kicked, whipped and abused by the stepmother and other adults.
It is difficult to understand what happened to Verna, and little to no information was ever reported.
Villasana reportedly told police that Verna had slipped on some juice and hit the back of her head, then urinating on herself. She put Verna in the bathtub then got on the phone with a relative, saying that she kept checking on Verna who was left in the bathtub by herself. She then said she heart a 'thump. When she went to check on Verna she found her face up under the water with her eyes open. She said she grabbed Verna and took her in to the living room where she and Verna's grandfather called 911 and attempted CPR.
When Verna's grandfather arrived at the house to help with the kids, the grandfather said he noticed the floor had been recently mopped. Villasana told the grandfather that Verna was taking a bath. The adults both spoke together for about a half hour before the grandfather noticed that the bathroom door was closed. When Villasana opened the door she told Verna to keep it open but Verna did not reply. Another 45 minutes of them talking and Villasana went back in the bathroom then yelled for the grandfather. He then saw Verna in a partially filled bathtub laying face up and not submerged in water.
Verna now rests at the Oakland Memory Lanes in Dolton, Cook County, Illinois
Villasana now resides at the Logan Correctional Center as of 03/21/2018
She was charged with one count of murder and was found guilty.
Her projected parole date is 10/22/2038 (just 20 years, while Verna couldn't live more than 5)
The projected discharge date is 10/22/2041
It is unknown what happened to Verna's father or if he knew about the abuse, or was ever charged.