As the homicide investigation continued Monday around the death of Lubbock County teen Holli Jeffcoat, her family members made a call for justice. They’ve been rallying–in person and on social media– to bring awareness to Holli’s case using tools like the hashtag #justiceforholli.
Jeffcoat was found dead in a home in Northeast Lubbock County on February 10. She was stabbed, and the Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office said that whoever committed the crime set a fire in attempt to cover up evidence.
Court records showed that less than two weeks before her death, Jeffcoat told school officials she was sexually abused and had become pregnant as a result of that abuse. Court records also claimed that her mother knew about the sexual abuse.
The Department of Family and Protective Services explained that Jeffcoat’s family had prior involvement with CPS and that her 15-year old sibling had been placed in foster care and was receiving therapy.
For some of Jeffcoat’s family members, her death and the information about her abuse came as a total surprise.
“I was kind of lost. I didn’t understand. It’s kind of hard to explain. You never would think in a million years that anything like that would happen to your family,” explained Ronny Carew, one of Jeffocat’s uncles. He said that at first he didn’t realize the whole story about her death.
“She was happy-go-lucky, not a care in the world. She was always happy, smiling.” Ronny Carew said of his niece.
Ronny’s brother, Randy Carew, was just as shocked by Jeffcoat’s death.
“I was devastated at the time, we didn’t know anything about what happened in 2008 or anything like that, we just thought it was a break in or a random thing,” Randy Carew said. He was referring to court records from 2008 which surfaced showing that DFPS had found Jeffcoat was the victim of sexual abuse in 2008.
Those documents noted that Jeffcoat’s mother canceled a CPS-requested sex abuse assessment set for Holli in 2008 despite the fact that Holli was found with an STD and signs of sexual abuse.
These details are sickening for the Carew brothers to hear about. While they wait for more information, Ronny explained that his brother coined the hashtag: #justiceforholli .Randy has also started a movement, encouraging friends and family to wear white bandannas with black accents.
Randy said that the white symbolizes Holli’s open and upbeat personality, the black symbolizes the lack of evidence and the confusion surrounding the case.
“There are members of my family, my and my wife’s family that are special needs [like Holli], and special needs kids hold a special place in my heart,” Randy explained. “I can’t believe there’s evil out there like this, that would do something like that. What I’m trying to do with the hashtag #justiceforholli and the white bandanna is just to get it out there for other families to be able to see. I don’t understand why this case isn’t a national story.”
The Carew brothers agreed that while it’s been frustrating that there have been no arrests in this case, they understand why it’s important for law enforcement to take their time investigating.
“I figured that somebody had done a good job of covering their tracks, and I wanted to make sure that the Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office knew that we’re banding together with them in an effort to get the information and hoping they can find the evidence they need to make an arrest,” Randy explained. “Everybody that I’ve talked to, all my friends family they all want the same thing, they want justice for [Holli].”
“They still haven’t made an arrest. I understand why with them trying to build a case on the guy, but the more and more I find out, I can’t figure out how anyone in this world could do something like that to a child, especially a special needs child,” Ronny said
In Ronny’s eyes, it was obvious who was behind Holli’s death and who was involved in it, and he hopes to see all of those people behind bars while the rest of the case is investigated.
Randy said he knows that public agencies have been trying to investigate Holli’s case as best they can, but he wishes there could have been more measures in place to prevent her death. He wishes that more had been done to protect Holli after she told school officials about the sexual abuse she’d experienced.
“I think with the [family] history [of involvement with CPS], they probably should have taken [Holli] out of the home then,” Randy said. “I think the state could look into what rights the CPS has and what they can do. Like if a parent cancels a forensics interview that needs to be done, then I think the state should be able to take [the child] without a judge’s order and put those kids in protective custody until the forensic interview is done. Because this one slipped through, and it’s devastating.”
Randy also wishes he had checked in on Holli and her siblings more while Holli was alive. Now he’s trying to share her story so that other families can avoid this pain.
The Carew brothers added that while the #justiceforholli hashtag has caught on, their movement is also about getting justice for Holli’s younger sibling who has now been placed in foster care and therapy by DFPS.
Dr. Sridhar Natarajan, Chief Medical Examiner at the Lubbock County Medical Examiner’s Office told EverythingLubbock.com Monday that their evidence and autopsy investigations are still ongoing. They have yet to release an autopsy report or a cause of death but explained that they went the the crime scene to collect evidence and have since handed over almost all of that evidence to the Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office.