Cedar Rapids, Iowa News, Sports, and Weather
Danielle Holdgrafer's Family Speaks Out
By Mark Geary, Reporter
JACKSON COUNTY, Iowa - Jackson County prosecutors say the mother of four year-old Collin Holdgrafer drowned him in a bathtub last month. His mother, Danielle Holdgrafer is charged with first-degree murder. Her husband, Andrew is also charged with child endangerment. Now, Danielle Holdgrafer's family is speaking out in her defense.
Danielle Holdgrafer's family insists she is innocent and did not kill her son. "I know my daughter would never be able to kill a child. She's been around children her whole life," Pam Brown, Holdgrafer's mother said. "A child should not die before a parent, much less before a grandparent. I should have gone first, not my baby grandson."
Family members also feel like some people have already convicted Holdgrafer. "What I feel is the community has already judged my sister and labeled her as a murderer," Holdgrafer's sister Rachelle Cousins said.
Holdgrafer's sister Shantelle Albert said, "Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty?"
Holdgrafer's sister Janelle Davis said, "She's not a murderer. She doesn't even kill bugs....I just want people to know that Danielle is a really wonderful person and I don't believe she could hurt anybody."
Family members say they didn't see much of Holdgrafer over the past two years because of her husband. "He wouldn't let her talk to us. He cut all ties between me and my sister," Davis said.
Now, they visit her every week in jail.
"I think it's awesome that I can see her, but I don't like feeling her through the glass window. That's the hardest thing," Brown said.
Albert said, "We all want to hug her and touch her and let her know we love her."
Cousins said, "I just see the hurt in her eyes. I know she's hurting really, really bad."
A belief that Holdgrafer is innocent and will get released is the only way this family makes it through the day.
"A mother's heart is never wrong. I don't believe a mother's heart is ever wrong," Brown said.
Both Danielle and Andrew Holdgrafer are on track to face their charges in a courtroom later this year.
WATCH: Poem read by Janelle Davis (Danielle Holdgrafer's sister)
Read Holdgrafer's Poem: