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Grandma beat 3-year-old granddaughter to death, left dents in bathroom wall ‘the size of a child’s head’: Police

Becky Ann Vreeland and Riley Lynn Nola (KOCO screenshots)

Becky Ann Vreeland and Riley Lynn Nola (KOCO screenshots)

A 62-year-old grandmother from Oklahoma accused of brutally killing her own 3-year-old granddaughter last year and leaving the child’s body to decompose inside a bin in her yard for several days appeared in court this week, when a judge ruled that the state’s case against her can move forward.

Cleveland County Special Judge Scott F. Brockman ruled that there was sufficient evidence for the case against Becky Ann Vreeland to be bound over for trial. She is facing one count of first-degree murder and one count of desecration of a corpse in the June 2022 slaying of young Riley Lynn Nolan, court records reviewed by Law&Crime show.

According to the initial press release from the Oklahoma City Police Department, OCPD officers at about 2:22 p.m. on June 21, 2022 responded to a “trouble unknown call” at a home located in the 600 block of SW151 Street. Upon arriving at the scene, first responders learned there was a deceased child at the residence.

“Officers found the body of three-year-old Riley Nolan in a residential trash receptacle at the home,” the release states. “The child had obvious signs of trauma to her body.”

Investigators said that at the time of the incident, young Riley had been under the care of her grandmother, identified in the release as Vreeland. Police transported Vreeland to the department headquarters where she was interviewed and subsequently booked into the Cleveland County Jail on suspicion of murder.

Since her arrest, Vreeland has maintained that she had nothing to do with her granddaughter’s death, repeatedly claiming that Riley fell from a ladder in the backyard.

Disturbing new details about the grisly crime scene were revealed in witness testimony during Tuesday’s hearing.

According to a report from Tulsa, Oklahoma CBS affiliate KOTV-DT, an OCPD homicide detective told the court that Riley’s body was discovered inside of a recycling bin right outside of Vreeland’s home. The bin also contained the little girl’s toys and had been covered with two blankets, one of which depicted characters from the movie “Frozen.”

The detective reportedly explained that investigators located blood spatter throughout the home, including in the master bedroom, master bathroom, and several other areas of the home. A total of 28 swabs were taken from inside of the home and analyzed, many of which came back positive for Riley’s DNA, Oklahoma City ABC affiliate KOCO-TV reported.

Additionally, the detective testified that when searching the master bathroom, police found two small, circular indentations in the wall which “appear to be the size of a child’s head,” per KOCO.

In an interview with KOCO last September, Vreeland said that she regularly kept Riley’s toys in the recycling bin in the back of the house. She also said that there was a pool ladder next to the bin, which she supposed Riley climbed up, then fallen off and died. Vreeland reportedly claimed that she found Riley dead when she woke up that morning.

However, it was Vreeland’s ex-husband — and Riley’s grandfather — who found the little girl’s already decomposing body in the bin three days after her death and called the police, KOCO reported. Vreeland told the station she did not call the authorities for fear they would take her other grandchildren away from her.

Furthermore, the detective who testified on Tuesday said that the ladder next to the recycling bin was missing its base and would immediately collapse if anyone tried to use it.

Judge Brockman scheduled Vreeland’s formal arraignment hearing for August 18.

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.