Childhood Friends Shocked

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Friends Say Parents Eat Pizza As Children Are Starved

Michael Weaver
Photo of foam can covers given out at the wedding of Michael & Georgena Roberts.
Photo of foam can covers given out at the wedding of Michael & Georgena Roberts.
Can holder has wedding date printed on one side and "Marriage means commitment, so does insanity..." on the other.

Jerseyville - Rumors abound regarding the death of 6 year old Liam Roberts. Both of the people charged in his death have deep roots in the community. Most people do not want to be quoted on the record with regard to what they know.

While much may never be known about this senseless death of a child, the questions and answers presented below are from an interview from four people that knew both of the people charged. They went on the record on the condition that no names or photographs were used of them. Their conversation may upset some in the community but in order to better understand and prevent these kinds of crimes from happening, it's important to have discussions about what was seen and experienced by those around the family.

The information contained below is from an interview over lunch with four persons that knew both people charged. No representations are made to the accuracy of their recollections, only that the discussion took place and was recorded with their permission.

Images were provided by those being interviewed.

Q: 

You all know her from high school and earlier. So who's known her the longest? 

(Two hands raise.)

You've known her the longest. Since kindergarten. You went to the old East Elementary School. What kind of what kind of family life did you know that she was raised in?

A:

We knew her mother. Her mom was a good mom. Heard she's got a lot of problems and a lot of abusive things going on with her father. Her dad was a monster. Her dad sexually abused her.

Q:

What was his name?

A:

Clyde Branham. He was in prison for a while.

Q:

You knew her saw her as a kid that had a single mother.

A:

She lived in our neighborhood. Gena (Georgena) was at our house all the time. I was at her house a lot we're grown up and we were close. We would ride our old bikes together in the neighborhood. We were all close all the way up to high school and then after graduation we all kind of you know broke apart but we still pick up where we left off.

I know I didn't know her until seventh grade.

Q:

So did you see any changes in her or her circumstances when she got into high school at all?

Image of Liam Roberts. Michael & Georgena Roberts have been charged in his death.
Image of Liam Roberts. Michael & Georgena Roberts have been charged in his death.
Georgena Roberts with friends
Georgena Roberts with friends

A:

Not in high school. She was in therapy. She was in counseling to deal with the problem she had with her dad. But you know, she was normal.

I didn't see her become a mess until she got with Joe Gettings.

Q:

So she graduates from high school. What year did you graduate from high school?

A:

1993.

Q:

When did she get married?

Three Children of Michael & Georgena Roberts on front porch of family home.
Three Children of Michael & Georgena Roberts on front porch of family home.

A:

It was a while, because I was pregnant when she got married which meant we would have been twenty six. So she was in her mid to late twenty's when she got married to Joe. But I had not had contact with her for years. Joe's a loser. They got busted for meth and heroin. Her only two belong to him. She has two children by him and they were arrested for methamphetamine manufacturing. Their kids were taken in 2003.

Q:

Where did that happen?

A:

Jersey County. That's a matter of record. She gets her kids taken away after an altercation with him. Something about him driving a car and he tried running them over. So she got her kids taken away for a year. The kids were put in a foster home and she got supervised visitation for a year. That's how long it took her... I think it was the kids grandmother Connie that had them.

Q:

So who is the grandmother?

 

Children of Michael & Georgena Roberts
Children of Michael & Georgena Roberts

A:

Her name is Trudy Plummer. Her maiden name was Bick.

Q:

She gets married?

A:

So after they have kids and start having their problems, she gets divorced from him. She moved away for a while up north. She moved away for a while because she met somebody up there in Iowa and she was gone for several years. Then she came back and had a job at Wal-Mart for a while. Then she met Mike. She stopped working to help take care of Mike's kids. It's not like she just met Mike, we all went to high school together. His mother was our math teacher.

Q:

What did Mike do for a living?

A:

Sun Coke Energy. We don't know him well. I don't even remember him from high school. Him and Gena had a thing in high school, she liked him in high school. He was always just super quiet.

Kim Roberts is the biological mom. She was on Facebook. She said she hadn't been in their life for two years and she tried saying that they legally kept her away. That she tried and tried and tried to get back into their lives. But the court documents, when you look, it says she didn't show up for the last four court hearing a year ago. She didn't show up. The judge told her on the third time she didn't show up, if she didn't show up again he was entering a default judgment. We have the actual court document on our phone.

Q:

Did she have drug issues?

A:

She did. She got put in prison for a while too. Well, that's what we were told. We're not exactly sure about the prison part of it. We were told (by Gena Roberts) that she (Kim Roberts) was a monster and then all this happened. And then we're hearing that it doesn't sound like she was much of a monster but it doesn't sound like she tried either as far as getting her kids. So that's kind of where I stand with her is that she should've tried. She's been out of their lives for quite a while.

Q:

If there's anything at all that want to say that could shed light on this, how you feel or see this, this is your opportunity to say that. It's just your opinion.

A:

How I see it is she was home all day and that baby weighed seventeen pounds. You just can't, she could have fed him. One meal a day would have kept him alive. If she'd have fed him when she was there alone. If Mike would have fed him whenever he came home. Either way he would have been alive. She could have fed him without Mike knowing. She could have fed him at any point, she was home probably twelve hours a day most of the time without him. She could have fed him because regardless of what she says she remembers, regardless of abuse, she was home alone and you can't look at a kid that weighs that and not think holy cow I need to feed this kid.

You can't say that I didn't realize that it was having this bad of an impact whenever they weigh seventeen pounds and they're six years old. You just can't. That's what I can't get past, is that she had to look at that baby who wasn't thirty seven, wasn't just tiny, was skeletal and she still didn't feed him.  And Mike didn't feed him when he came home. They neither one have an excuse whether he's abusive, whether he's abusive to her and that's why she didn't do it and he just wasn't paying attention. How do you not?

That boy should have been hospitalized.

Yes, she could have asked any of us. She could have asked any one of us that went to lunch with her for help. She could have texted any one of us and we would have been there. We've been her friends forever, we would have been behind her if she would have just said something. She said nothing.

As far as feelings, we're hurt, we're shocked. Disgusted, angry. There's not enough adjectives in the world. We tried our best to be there for her and we made time when we had time. She had, like she said, every opportunity to reach out. There was there was contact, we've talked to her on the phone, on Facebook. There was never a clue, there was never anything and that's where the hurt comes in because all of us carry a lot of guilt and we shouldn't. We can't shake that nonetheless. I mean, I feel like we should have did this, we should have did that and really had no clue. So, and that's the guilt part is the hardest part I'm dealing with right now.

Q:

Anything else you want to say?

A:

No, I just I don't know what else to say. I'm with ---- it's just shock that I'm exhausted from thinking about it dealing with it, hearing about it. It's awful. Words can't really do justice what we feel.

I just can't believe she plead not guilty. I was like, did you hear that? What's she going to fight? I think that's what frustrates us too, is we feel like she won't own up. That she won't own up like makes me more mad, that she won't just say, you know what, I made a mistake and I mean it's a huge one but I mean I did this and I screwed up and I shouldn't have done it. Because to me, that baby deserves that. That baby deserves for her to say, I did this. They already admitted to it, so that's what I don't understand.

When we went to lunch with her (Georgena), we had to wait on ----. We were supposed to go at eleven. ---- said she couldn't go. When Gina and I met up she said that ---- just couldn't go because she needed to do something at noon so we waited. She (Gina) texted her and we waited. We went shopping until she could meet us. When I went to lunch with her alone to Alfonso's, she said "Mike just loves it whenever we go out to lunch because I bring him home pizza". She ordered a large pizza and took it home that day.

She never said anything about them fighting, never you know. "Oh Mike loves it when we're out." She obviously could just stay out. If she was supposed to go to lunch and come right back under a controlled environment she waited and shopped with me while we waited with her for her for an hour.

And now that we know all this we just wonder where the kids were. When she was with us.

But there was always somebody home. There was either Mike or ---- (daughter). They never, she never left. The one time (daughter) came out the door whenever I dropped her off though.

Q:

---- is the oldest daughter.

A:

And the one day she took pizza home to Mike. Yeah, they obviously didn't get any of that pizza because that was five weeks ago. I think the week after we had all...

Q:

That was five weeks ago?

A:

That was five weeks ago when I went alone with her. We went six weeks ago as a group. Gina texted me after we went as a group and said I love getting together with everybody but I really just need some me and you time, can we go to lunch together? I was like yeah, I can probably do next week. So if we went six weeks ago, Well I was with her like five weeks ago. And again, I was alone with her, we talked about Liam. We talked about the fact that she homeschooled ---- and sent him back to school because she felt that she couldn't home school. She never said I pulled any other kids out of school in their home. She talked about, you know, with Liam what she could do and I said maybe you need to take him to a doctor or a psychiatrist. I said if you're disciplining him and it's still not helping...

(Friends then pull out phones to show photos of Georgena and children with discussion about photos.)

October the fourth is when I went to lunch with her alone.