An Oklahoma City grandmother was arrested on Tuesday accused of killing her three-year-old granddaughter. Police were called to 60-year-old Becky Vreeland’s home near southwest 149th and Western Avenue after a relative found Riley Nolan’s body in a trash can outside the home.
The shocking discovery had neighbors asking why?
“I don’t understand it because like I said she seems like a hardworking grandmother,” said Marsha Brannum, neighbor. “And I could hear her playing with the children in the backyard.”
For some, the sadness was overwhelming. Don Jones had a hard time holding back tears thinking of the child’s final moments.
“I can’t imagine,” said Don Jones, neighbor.
Police said Vreeland had custody of her granddaughter. Vreeland was interviewed by investigators and told them Nolan was in the trash can for three days, but she never reported it to anyone. In an arrest affidavit, Vreeland told police she believed her granddaughter fell in the trash can and died.
However, evidence police found evidence inside the southwest Oklahoma City home pointed to another cause of death.
“For whatever reason there was some kind of attack on the child by the grandmother,” said Msgt. Gary Knight, Oklahoma City Police Department. “Which led to the child’s death.”
Investigators found blood in two areas of the home and a mark on the wall that appeared to have been made by a blunt object. Vreeland admitted to using a wooden bed leg to spank her grandchildren when they misbehaved. The medical examiner found three separate skull fractures on the victim that were not consistent with a fall.
“We’ve never seen any kind of violence going on,” said Paul Newmark, neighbor.
Newmark said he has seen police and DHS at his neighbor’s home before but never a crime scene. Police confirmed officers were called to the home four times in the past 12 months.
“We just would have never suspected anything like that would happen,” said Newmark.
Vreeland was booked into the Cleveland County jail on a murder complaint.