(UPDATE) Grandma behind bars after child hurt

Published 12:36 pm Wednesday, June 24, 2015

LAPLACE — A six-week investigation by the St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Office Detective Bureau regarding the whereabouts and custody of an eight-year-old girl led to the arrest of the child’s grandmother this week.

Davana Tripps

Davana Tripps

The mother of the child reported that since the incarceration of the child’s father, Kerry Clofer, 26, in Calcasieu Parish in March of 2014, the child was in the custody of her paternal grandmother, Davana Tripps, 42, and aunt, Kerrian Clofer, 26.

Sheriff Mike Tregre said in a release the 14th Judicial District Court of Louisiana granted Kerry Clofer sole custody of the child in August of 2013, but an appeals court vacated and remanded custody of the child in June of 2014, granting custody to the child’s mother. Her attempts to retain custody of her child from Tripps and Kerrian Clofer failed, authorities said.

Tregre said detectives spoke with Tripps and Kerrian Clofer, but they refused to cooperate with detectives in the investigation.

“They acknowledged that they knew the whereabouts of the child and were aware of potential criminal charges for knowingly keeping the minor child from her legal guardian,” Tregre said.

The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office reported on May 14 deputies responded to call at a local hospital concerning an 8-year-old girl having severe burns on both her hands and numerous marks all over her body.

“Once detectives arrived, the child stated that Kerrian Javana Clofer … had held her hands over the open flame of a gas stove after she ate a snack without permission,” the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office’s release states. “The victim told detectives Clofer would handcuff and tie her to the legs of a bed while Clofer slept and went to work. She told detectives she was not allowed to eat for days, and when she was allowed to eat Clofer fed her noodles with salt and pepper.”

The release also states the child told detectives Kerrian Clofer would beat her with a belt and a metal clothes hanger. Tregre said the injuries included fractured bones, burns and failure of organs due to malnutrition and starvation.

Kerrian Clofer was booked into the Calcasieu Correctional Center and charged with second degree cruelty to a juvenile and false imprisonment.

According to the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office, Judge Lilynn Cutrer ordered that once released from the hospital, the child would be placed in the state’s custody.

The investigation in St. John Parish revealed to detectives that Tripps severely abused the child while in her custody at Tripp’s residence in the 1600 block of Yorktowne Drive in LaPlace, Tregre said.

Tripps lives at the residence with her husband and their two juvenile sons, Tregre said, adding her two sons are in good health and now are in temporary custody of the state.

Detectives booked Tripps with aggravated second-degree battery, second-degree cruelty to a juvenile, aggravated kidnapping of a child and false imprisonment. As of press time Friday morning, she remained in custody in lieu of a $153,500 bond.

Tregre said detectives are seeking additional arrest warrants if the findings of the investigation warrant it.