On March 19, 2009 Jo’anna Bird was tortured, beaten, stabbed, mutilated and killed in Westbury, Nassau County, New York. She was a 24 year-old mother of two that had every right to believe that her future was bright and that she could better her life along with her two young children. A hard worker, Jo’anna often worked two jobs and was an inspiration for her co-workers and a model to her employers. Her brutal murder by Leonardo Valdez-Cruz, who was the biological father of one of Jo’anna’s children was something that was both foreseeable and preventable. Continuously from the year 2007 through the date of Bird’s death, Valdez-Cruz had been the subject of arrests, Court Orders of Protection and direct police contact all relating to his physical and mental abuse of Jo’anna, including leveling death threats and open defiance of the Orders issued by the Courts. Despite the best efforts of Jo’anna and her family to have Nassau County Police and the Nassau County District Attorney enforce the Court Orders and protect Jo’anna, she was not protected. Instead of arresting and jailing Valdez-Cruz for clear violations, police and prosecutors allowed him free passage on more than one occasion including when they had him in custody for several felonies in January of 2009.
The family of Jo’anna Bird through her mother and family members refuse to allow this failure by Nassau County to go unquestioned and refuse to allow Jo’anna’s death to be categorized as a tragic event that could not have been avoided. On March 19, 2010, the one year anniversary of Jo’anna Bird’s death, Sharon Dorsett (her mother), family members and their Attorneys will be present and announce the taking of action to call Nassau County, Nassau Police and others to account for their failure, violations and negligence all leading to the unnecessary death of Jo’anna Bird. A Press Conference will be held on March 19, 2010 at 10:30 a.m. in the Law Offices of Frederick K. Brewington, located at 50 Clinton Street, Suite 501, Hempstead, New York to announce the taking of legal action and demand full public disclosure about exactly what Nassau County is doing to address the storm of improper actions by police and prosecutors that gave Valdez-Cruz a license to kill this young mother of two young children.