Who Is Isabel Godfrey? Details About The Toddler's Tragic Death

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Who Is Isabel Godfrey? Details About The Toddler's Tragic Death
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Nearly three years after the death of Isabel Godfrey, questions are reaching final answers.

On March 30, Regina Lester, 33, admitted to killing her daughter Isabel Godfrey the night of Jun. 8, 2016. She pled guilty but mentally ill to third-degree murder. Northern York County Regional Police charged her with homicide, endangering the welfare of children and terroristic threats.

An autopsy conducted on the young girl determined that she died of blunt force trauma, asphyxiation, bites and a spinal injury. Officer Stephen Lebo said in his testimony at Lester’s preliminary hearing that when he arrived at the scene on Jun. 8, he saw blood around her mouth and asked what it was from.

"She said it was from her daughter," he said. "She admitted to biting and strangling her daughter. She made a general statement that if I didn't kill her, she was going to kill more children."

Years later, Lester admitted to killing Isabel, or Bella. According to reports, she had smoked marijuana laced with fentanyl before the murder. She had also used synthetic marijuana and bath salts.

“I don’t remember anything,” Lester said. “I blacked out.”

Along with her illicit drug use, Lester was also on medication for bipolar disorder, anxiety and depression. “I wasn’t myself,” she said.

Lester remains heavily medicated, according to her attorney Suzanne Smith. Smith told reporters her client has expressed remorse for the murder. Nevertheless, Lester will be sentenced in June; she faces between 20 and 40 years in prison.

Who was Isabel Godfrey? Below are five details about the young girl and her death.

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1. She was from outside of York, Pennsylvania.

Isabel lived in Thomasville, about a 20-minute drive from York. York is south of Harrisburg, and west of Lancaster.

Neighbors in the Chesapeake Estates said that the trailer park was quiet before Regina Lester moved there in 2012.

Barbara Sipe, a longtime resident of the park, said Regina and her daily crowd of visitors—sometimes six to seven people at a time—changed the neighborhood overnight. "Ever since she moved in, it was hell down here. This block was hell," Sipe told Penn Live in 2016. "They would wake me up every night....door slamming, people cussing."

Neighbors said they had seen people who looked as though they could be government officials visited Lester’s home, and presumed they were child welfare officials. The Northern York County Regional Police would also park cruisers near her house.

2. She was only 3 years old.

According to her obituary, Isabel was born on Jan. 11, 2013. She had two brothers, Lennon Althoff and Daniel Lester. One of the boys was in kindergarten and lived with Lester and his sister. Chesapeake Estates residents said the other boy visited from time to time, but lived with his father and grandmother; they guessed he was in first grade.

Sipe did not know Isabel’s name until after her murder, but had seen her. “I swear she was adorable. I swear she was an angel … a real angel.”

3. Her brother alerted a neighbor that his mother was trying to kill her.

The 6-year-old “frantically” ran to Andrew Day’s home the night of June 8, according to Lester’s charging documents. He told the neighbor their mother was trying to kill his little sister.

Day ran to Lester’s home and passed her in her front yard. She was “hugging a tree” and naked. Day said in the report that Lester told him, “I'm sorry. I didn't mean to do it. You understand I had to get the darkness out of her. I'm sorry.”

He then entered Lester’s home and found Isabel on the floor, unresponsive. Another neighbor, Jessica Colon, came in and called 911 while performing CPR on Isabel.

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4. Her mother told other neighbors to kill their kids.

According to charging documents, Lester was busy while neighbors were trying to save her daughter’s life.

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“I need you to kill your kids,” she said to a neighbor after banging on their door that night.

She then ran into the street. A neighbor tackled her and subdued her until officials arrived.

5. Some had the impression Lester loved her children.

While neighbors were concerned for the safety of Lester’s kids, they told Penn Live they “seemed to be cared for,” and that they would play with the other children in the park.

And although they admitted they never saw her hit her children, many neighbors spoke of talk in the community about Lester slapping Isabel across the face.

Vickie Saltos, the manager at Cross Keys Motor Inn & Restaurant in New Oxford, worked with Lester for years. She told the York Dispatch in 2016 that Regina gave every impression she loved her children.

"What we recall most about Regina is her love for her kids," Saltos told The York Dispatch. "Her kids were her life. ... That's all she spoke about."

Saltos suspected that drugs may have contributed to Isabel’s death.

"She loved her (three) children dearly. At least that's the impression we got from her," Saltos said. "We're all heartbroken and shocked. ... It obviously was drugs."

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Alison Cerri is a writer who covers astrology, pop culture and relationship topics.