Grandmother pleads for custody after son charged with murder, abuse

GEORGETOWN, S.C. (WCIV) - Almost a year after her granddaughter was found dead in her Mooresville, N.C., home, Nicole Lee now has to mourn the arrest of her son, as police say he had a hand in the child's murder.

"All I know, is I got a phone call from my son, telling me that we lost Lu-Lu. And, I screamed and I cried and I got in my car and I drove five hours trying to figure out what happened," said Lee. {}

On March 15, 2-year-old Lucy Rose was found dead. Lee says her son, Nicholas Clark, who is the child's father, said the child fell off the bed.

"I was shown pictures of my grandchild and they were horrible pictures of abuse," said Lee. "And, then I was told by the detective that she couldn't have gotten those bruises from just falling."

It took investigators 11 months to arrest and charge Nicholas Clark and Sheila Hendley, the toddler's parents. They both face charges of first-degree murder and two counts of felony child abuse.

"Being a mother, you want to believe your child. You want to believe his innocence," said Lee. "But based on the evidence that I've seen, something tragic happened that night in that home that no one knows but those two."

Lee says she never saw any recognizable signs of abuse and her son continually denied the allegations.

"To me it was still, 'Mama, I didn't do anything. Mama I didn't do anything.' The truth is going to come out," Lee said.

Since Lucy's death, Lee says the couple's oldest daughter, 5-year-old Dixie Amanda has been in the custody of the Department of Social Services.

"I'm just pleading that I get back my other grandbaby," Lee said.

Lee says she has done all she can gain custody of Dixie. She says it's been difficult to handle the case across state lines, since the child is being held in North Carolina. {}

"I'm going to stand up for grandparents' rights because grandparents need to be able to get their other grandchildren if they're able and capable and they do complete all the requirements," she said.

Lee says she will continue to pray and hope that her faith brings her grandchild home.

She says this is her simple plea to DSS: "Please give me back my grandbaby. I've already had to bury one, my son's gone and I want my grandbaby back. I just want my grandbaby back home."

Clark and Hendley are being housed at the Georgetown County Detention Center pending extradition to North Carolina.