Manny Crisostomo / mcrisostomo@sacbee.com

Lilly Manning's injuries are detailed in documents and medical records used in the abuse trial against her stepfather, Joe Horvath.

More Information

Lilly Manning's calls for help

Published: Sunday, Jul. 31, 2011 - 12:00 am | Page 13A
Last Modified: Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012 - 9:49 pm

Documents show authorities had opportunities to prevent the abuse of Lilly Manning before she escaped from a closet Oct. 31, 2007. Here is a sampling:

From school

May 6, 2002

Details: A friend of Lilly's oldest sister, Natasha, then 13, tells Don Julio Junior High personnel that Natasha was hit by her adoptive mother with a stick, injuring her ear, and has scarred arms and old bruises. Lillian Manning-Horvath tells CPS that Natasha had been stung by a bee.

Conclusion: CPS determines the physical abuse allegation is "unfounded." The social worker writes: "Lillian is committed to raising the children free from abuse and neglect."

Dangerous home

Feb. 10, 2003

Details: A caller tells CPS that a prostitute living with Lillian Manning-Horvath has been murdered, and that the prostitute's baby may be neglected in the home. CPS discovers that Manning-Horvath is caring for the 3 1/2-month-old baby, her great-granddaughter, as well as five adoptive children – including 11-year-old Lilly. The caller is concerned that the baby's father has an extensive criminal history. Manning-Horvath tells CPS her grandson "is incarcerated."

Conclusion: CPS finds the neglect allegation to be "inconclusive" and advises Manning-Horvath "to obtain temporary and permanent custody of the baby." Following a similar complaint in April, CPS checks the history and says "the home was found to be safe. … No specific acts or behaviors indicative of abuse or neglect at this time." Following another complaint May 22, 2003, CPS says: "Case is closed as the situation is stabilized."

Police visit

July 10, 2003

Details: A 911 hang-up call leads a Sacramento police officer to a Casa Linda Court home regarding alleged abuse of 11-year-old Lilly by her adoptive mother. The officer finds scars on the girl's back "from old injuries." The officer reports that both mother and child said the incident occurred several years earlier in Texas, while Lilly supposedly was in her biological mother's care.

Conclusion: The officer recommends that CPS "make routine follow-up to the residence." Two weeks later, CPS declines to open a case "as law enforcement has addressed the issue."

Three calls

Dec. 10-11, 2006

Details, first call: A caller identifying herself as Natasha tells CPS that her mom "beats on" Lilly with sticks, rulers and belts and locks her in the closet. Later, during a home visit, Natasha denies making the call.

Details, second call: Another call comes into CPS at 12:58 a.m. Dec. 11 from a caller identifying herself as "Lillian," "whispering she was scared to talk to law enforcement, when can CPS come out and mom does whoop her and locks her in the closet."

Details, third call: Sheriff's deputies respond to the Manning-Horvath home on Dewey Boulevard after a cellphone caller identifying herself as "Natasha" says her mother, Lillian Manning-Horvath, is locking her 14-year-old sister in a closet and beating the kids with a hammer. "Natasha" then denies making the call. Manning-Horvath isn't home. Officers find a 14-year-old girl, who denies being abused. CPS is told Lilly is out of town and unavailable.

Conclusion: CPS determines the physical abuse allegation is "unfounded." Law enforcement clears the call.

911 call

March 24, 2007

Details: "Rachel" (Lilly's birth name) says her mother Lillian is beating her up. The caller says her mom doesn't know she's using the phone and warns that her mother is coming, then hangs up. Sheriff's deputies on patrol find no one named "Rachel" at the house and leave.

Conclusion: Officers clear the call and leave.

Sources: Documents from Juvenile Dependency Court, Child Protective Services, Sacramento County Sheriff's Department, Sacramento Police Department, Sacramento Superior Court, 3rd District Court of Appeal.

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