GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – When a child is abused, the effects are felt across the entire community. That is what has happened for more than 30 years since the death of Julie Valentine and her brother.
Now, Valentine’s name holds a meaning much greater than one investigation. It’s a name that continues to impact victims of abuse.
Thursday afternoon, there was a new twist in a child death investigation dating back to the 1990s presented inside a Greenville County courtroom.
“Brook Graham pled guilty today [Thursday] to one charge of desecration of human remains and two counts of unlawful neglect towards a child, and those are related to the two children that were found back in 1989 and 1990, in Greenville County, that had been left abandoned,” said Solicitor Walt Wilkins.
More than 30 years later, Brook Graham, pleaded guilty after her two children were found lifeless.
Prosecutors said a newborn girl, known as Julie Valentine, was left in a cardboard box in a field back in 1990.
It was one day before Valentine’s Day, which led to her name– a name that now holds a significant meaning several decades after her death.
“I believe the community, the investigators that were dedicated to solving that case, kept her name alive for many years,” said Shauna Galloway-Williams, owner and CEO of the Julie Valentine Center.
Julie Valentine’s name now sits atop of an Upstate rape crisis and child abuse center.
“We are grateful that the community continues to keep the name and legacy of Julie Valentine alive, to give her very short life a meaning, and again to show the impact that one person can have on an entire community,” said Galloway-Williams.
The name of the center was changed in 2011 with hopes to create a more welcoming atmosphere for abuse victims.
“These children’s lives ended way too early and we find hope that their lives have saved many. If we think about the fact that we changed our name to Julie Valentine Center and the impact that that has had on the community, on the lives of people who walk through our doors every day,” said Galloway-Williams.
The owner shared with 7NEWS her initial reaction to the news on Friday. She said it was a sigh of relief for the center and a small victory in the war against child crime they are working to combat.
“I think solving this case and Brook Graham pleading guilty, you know 31 years later, is a testament on how much the community cares and how much they cared about keeping her name alive and keeping her legacy alive. I think that the community will continue that,” said Galloway-Williams.
The judge delayed Graham’s sentencing on Thursday, later ordering a pre-sentence investigation.
She is currently out on bond.
If you are or someone you know is a victim of abuse, contact the Julie Valentine Center located at 2905 Whitehorse Road in Greenville.
You can also call their crisis hotline at 864-467-3633. Someone will answer your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.