Is there finally justice for baby Juliette?
Four and a half years since two-year-old Juliette Geurts was found beaten to death inside her Nebraska home, charges have finally been filed against two people in the small house, Juliette’s mother Charyse Geurts and her then boyfriend Dustin Chauncey.
Geurts and Chauncey have both repeatedly denied any involvement in Juliette’s death, but after a tireless campaign for justice by an army of outraged citizens and an INSIDE EDITION report, many are hopeful justice may finally be served.
“It’s been four years of hell for our family. Juliette didn't beat herself to death, somebody murdered her,” Juliette’s aunt Monica Hall told INSIDE EDITION.
Hall has been fighting for justice ever since Juliette’s death. She is furious the killing remains unsolved and accuses the local police and district attorney of botching the investigation.
“It’s like a nightmare you can’t wake up from,” said Hall in tears.
So Hall helped raise a citizens' army, regular people who have taken extraordinary action seeking justice for the little girl.
INSIDE EDITION accompanied Hall and over two dozen volunteers in July as they marched into the local courthouse in Gering, NE to present a petition with enough signatures to demand a Grand Jury re-examine the case. Emotions ran high.
Now, INSIDE EDITION has learned a Grand Jury has returned with an indictment charging Charyse Geurts and Dustin Chauncey in connection with Juliette’s death.
Chauncey is charged with child abuse resulting in death and providing false information to impede an investigation.
Juliette's mom is charged with being an accessory to a felony and providing false information to impede an investigation.
The landlord of the house where the killing took place permitted Hall and Guerrero entry to the home. The place is so small, Monica says it’s hard to believe neither Geurts or Chauncey saw or heard the violent beating.
“So do you believe the adults in the house that night know what happened?”asked Guerrero.
Hall replied, “They definitely know what happened. There's no doubt in my mind.”
Geurts, who now lives near Greenbay, Wisconsin, wasn't happy when Guerrero tracked her down last summer.
“Get the camera out of my face,” barked Geurts when Guerrero approached her in a parking lot.
“Charyse did you kill baby Juliette?” asked Guerrero
“No!” Geurts defiantly replied.
Geurts claims she took a sleeping pill that night and doesn’t remember anything.
“I don’t wanna talk about this anymore,” said Geurts.
Guerrero asked, “Do you feel responsible in some way?”
Charyse said, “What mother wouldn’t feel responsible. I don't want to talk anymore.”
But after she broke down sobbing she pointed the finger at her now ex-boyfriend Dustin Chauncey.
Guerrero asked, “Did Dustin kill her?”
Charyse responded, “Yeah, I believe that he did it.”
So who is Dustin Chauncey? We found he's been arrested twelve different times for everything from theft and drugs to violent assaults.
Guerrero followed Geurts trail from Gering, NE to outside Denver, CO where she caught up with him in his car.
“Dustin did you beat Juliette Geurt’s to death?” asked Guerrero.
“No,” he said, “I didn’t and you guys can speak to my lawyer because I'm done. No comment,” said Chauncey who then sped off in his car.
A touching candlelight vigil was held at Juliette’s grave on the 4th anniversary of Juliette’s death. Once again, there were prayers for justice. A pastor, surrounded by Hall and dozens of other supporters, began a prayer by saying: “We ask you Jesus that there might be justice for Juliette.”
Now, thanks to the work of Hall and her army of citizens, perhaps those prayers have been finally answered.
“I can’t thank INSIDE EDITION enough for bringing Juliette’s story to the nation’s attention. We haven’t gotten justice yet, but thanks to INSIDE EDITION we’re closer than we’ve ever been,” said Hall.
If convicted Chauncey would face up to life in prison. Geurts, if convicted, would face a maximum of six years in prison. Neither has entered a plea yet.
****** UPDATE ******
In April, 2013, the charges against Charyse Geurts were dropped when it was ruled that the statute of limitations had expired.
Meanwhile, Dustin Chauncey remains behind bars in a Colorado prison awaiting trial. The judge ordered manslaughter charges against Chauncey to be dismissed citing the statute of limitations. He has pled not guilty to intentional child abuse resulting in death and his trial is scheduled to begin October 21st.