Child Abuse, trespassing charges for 2 who
caused Amber Alert in Denver Sunday
DENVER, CO – The woman accused of kidnapping her biological daughter with another man Sunday, setting off an Amber Alert, faces child abuse and trespassing charges after the incident.
Meshelle Jasmine Branch, 21, is accused of breaking into and taking her 22-month-old daughter from the girl’s grandmother’s home on East 104th Avenue in Thornton around 9 a.m. Sunday morning.
The grandmother had an active protection order against Branch that prohibits her from being at the grandmother’s home or having contact with the child, which Branch is also charged with violating, in addition to the child abuse and first-degree criminal trespassing charges.
Branch, along with 28-year-old Robert Owens, allegedly took the toddler, who has a severe heart condition that requires close monitoring, though it’s still unclear why.
The Amber Alert was issued around 12:45 p.m. Sunday — nearly four hours after the kidnapping. Branch and Owens turned themselves in at the Lone Tree Police Department around 1:30, along with the child, who was cleared medically at a nearby hospital and returned to her grandmother.
Branch and Owens, both of Lakewood, remain in custody Monday. Thornton police say the investigation into the case remains ongoing.
Former Assistant State Attorney: Elderly, Child Abuse cases were being ignored
JACKSONVILLE, FL – Before resigning, a former assistant state attorney said he and another employee informed his supervisors that elderly and child abuse cases were being ignored.
Doug Dorsey told News4Jax that he resigned from his 16-year career as a prosecutor on May 9 because he was being pressured by staff to campaign for his boss State Attorney Angela Corey’s re-election.
The state attorney’s office denied the accusation.
But when Dorsey spoke with News4Jax Thursday, he also referenced a number of cases of elderly abuse that he says were being ignored.
“This is a battle with the situation of elderly abuse and child abuse cases and the mismanagement of those cases were my primary concern. And it wasn’t just my concern,” Dorsey said.
Dorsey said he and the other employee first told his supervisor when a victims’ advocate, who works for the state attorney’s office, found the files that appeared to be ignored or forgotten.
“She had a found a bunch of cases that go back to 2012 and they involve the elderly abuse victims, and they were just siting in a box. And she was pretty devastated about it,” Dorsey said.
Dorsey said a number of emails inquiring about those cases were sent to supervisors.
“Reports blew my mind. There were some unbelievable allegations in the reports. And I wondered how this could’ve been going on since 2013, 2014. I just want to make sure someone was looking into the stuff,” Dorsey said.
News4Jax has made a public records request for those files to see exactly what cases are involved and the status of those investigations. News4Jax also contacted the Department of Children and Families and Adult Protection Services to see if those agencies were aware of the status of the cases.
Corey spoke with News4Jax about those files and notifications. She said the minute she learned about them, she held meetings to get on top of it.
“I don’t know specifically what Mr. Dorsey was referring to. I did not have a conversation with him. I brought in everybody I knew that had a concern about it and they told me they were basically notifications. And I believe our staff were satisfied that we were on top of the ones to which he was referring and we were better able to stay on top of things that come in the future,” Corey said.
Dorsey said when he was trying to follow-up and meet with executive staff about the situation several months ago, he was threatened with his job.
“Instead, we got stonewalled. It blew my mind and (I) got called into a meeting, where I was told if I push this issue any further, if she pushes the issue any further, it’s going to bring me down. And then I was told they we’re going to circle the wagons if necessary. Those were their words,” Dorsey said. “And I walked back, I left that meeting and said, ‘Do you really think you’re going to threaten me? There’s no way.'”
News4Jax has not yet received the requested files. Corey said they are making changes in the way the notifications are handled and it will all be electronic and other meetings are set for the future.
Thursday, Patricia Dodson, managing director at the state attorney’s office, said Dorsey’s work performance was being investigated. She said he would miss work and court dates.