Court records show more red flags prior to Seminole Co. toddler's alleged murder



SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - Eyewitness news obtained new documents from the nonprofit organization Community Based Care of Central Florida that is in charge of a Sanford mother, accused of killing her 2-year-old daughter.

The organization said it tried to stop Rachel Fryer from getting her children back, but because of legal precedent, the court had its hands tied.

Fryer, 32, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of her daughter, Tariji Gordon.

Tariji had been in the care of a foster parent until Nov. 17, when a judge ordered the girl and her three siblings to be returned to Fryer.

"When the judge makes a decision based on the law we don't really have the luxury of not following that court order," said Joe Durso of Community Based Care of Central Florida. "When the judge issued an order to reunify, we had to work towards reunification."

Durso's organization wanted to block reunification but said it couldn't because Fryer gave up her parental rights, rather than having them taken away, following a drug raid at her house in 2005.

Investigators said six years after the drug raid Fryer suffocated Tariji's twin brother when she rolled over on him while sleeping. The medical examiner ruled that incident an accident, so the court could not permanently take Fryer's children away from her.

"The judges have to follow the law and the law that's currently in place," said Durso. "So if they don't feel that there's legal sufficiency to go against the law they don't really have a choice either."

Following the young boy's death, Fryer's children were put in foster care while Fryer and her boyfriend, Timothy Gordon, worked with a case worker in order to have the children returned.

Tariji's body was discovered in a shallow grave in Putnam County earlier this month.

According to police, Fryer told them her daughter stopped breathing and she then tried administering CPR, but did not call 911.

A medical examiner's report released Wednesday said Tariji died from "blunt force trauma" to the head, and that she had bite marks on her that matched Fryer's teeth.

The court documents also show that days before Tariji’s death one of her siblings reported Tariji had an injury on her arm that Fryer didn’t want anybody to see.

A Community Based Care worker checked the little girl but didn’t see any injuries.

“In our review we found that all protocols were filed. He was doing his job,” Durso said.

According to DCF, right after that visit the guardian as litem reported her concerns to the court via a written status but no hearing was held.

A caseworker claims there was a notable difference in Tariji’s demeanor when she was with her foster mother.

Tariji was noted in visits as running, dancing and showing affection, as opposed to Fryer, who it was noted that Tariji barely spoke or changed facial expressions the entire visit.