Kyla Woodhouse, the mother of a six-year-old Calgary girl who was beaten to death, testified that she and the child's father were in a bitter, year-long custody battle leading up to her death.

Meika Jordan died of blunt force trauma on Nov. 14, 2011.

Kyla Woodhouse

Kyla Woodhouse described her daughter as "extraordinary, happy-go-lucky and outgoing." (CBC)

She had been in the care of her father and stepmother, Spencer Jordan and Marie Magoon, at the time. Both face a charge of first-degree murder. 

Woodhouse testified that she and Jordan broke up in 2009. By July 2010, Marie Magoon was living with Jordan and it was late August when the custody battle began.

A judge granted Jordan primary custody with Woodhouse awarded weekends with the children, but he and Magoon disappeared in August 2011 with Meika and her little brother for three weeks.

Police were called and the family was found living at Inn From the Cold, a local homeless shelter.

In early September 2011, Woodhouse was granted custody but a Calgary judge reversed that order a few weeks later and the children went back to Jordan.

Crown alleges torture

The Crown alleges Meika was essentially tortured in the days leading up to her death.

In her opening statement, prosecutor Susan Pepper said Magoon held a lighter under Meika's hand causing a third-degree burn.

Spencer Jordan, Marie Magoon

Spencer Jordan and Marie Magoon are taken into the Calgary police arrest processing unit. They have been charged in the death of six-year-old Meika Jordan. (CBC)

Knowing Meika's mother would question the burn, Pepper said the couple refused to return Meika and her brother.

That's when she alleges they began beating her by punching the girl, forcing her to run up and down their stairs, pushing her down the stairs and dragging her by her hair.

The fatal blows occurred when Meika's head was smashed against the tile floor in the kitchen, says Pepper.

The medical examiner identified five significant areas of severe head trauma. The couple wasn't charged until about a year after Meika's death.

Pepper says that's because they were the subjects of a lengthy undercover police operation, which eventually led to both admitting their roles in her death.

During her testimony today, Woodhouse described her daughter as "extraordinary, happy-go-lucky and outgoing."