JACKSON, Mich. (WXYZ) - A Jackson family has been torn apart.
First, they lost their four-year old daughter. Then two weeks later, the state took their eight-year-old son.
The parents are now accused of killing their daughter, and prosecutors also believe her brother may be a witness in the little girl's sudden death.
Billie and Brian Giroux say they put little Birklee to bed one night in August after a joyful afternoon at home, playing basketball in the yard with her family. Despite occasional seizures, the Girouxs say Birklee showed no signs of illness before going to sleep.
The next morning she was unresponsive.
Within days of finding their daughter dead in her bedroom, the Girouxs’ were deemed suspects in the death. The state then removed their son Brody from their home while Jackson County authorities investigated the case.
Now, three months later, no charges have been filed, but young Brody is still in protective custody, and many experts are questioning whether the prosecutor is using the boy as leverage to pressure the Girouxs to confess to a crime they say they did not commit.
“A little girl is dead and we have to find out why,” says Jackson County prosecutor Henry Zavislak.
The parents insist they have done nothing wrong and have taken, and passed polygraphs to demonstrate their innocence.
So far, the death-cause question is driven by a medical examiner's conclusion that Birklee’s death was not natural, but a homicide.
In the coming weeks, the sheriff’s department will look for answers while the Girouxs fight the Department of Human Services for the return of their son.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
More from The Investigators
The Scripps News investigative team uncovered 170,000 records containing personal information like social security numbers, birth dates, social security cards, drivers licenses and food stamp cards.
While looking into companies participating in the program, The Scripps News investigative team discovered more than 170,000 records posted online listing sensitive information such as Social Security numbers, home addresses and financial accounts of customers and applicants of Lifeline.
In Wayne County, scores of convicted felons guilty of dangerous crimes are being given what critics say is a get out of jail free card. Are the judges letting them out violating Michigan's penal code?