You are currently browsing the monthly archive for February 2013.

Father allegedly punches newborn son in face, infant dies

November 29th, 2012 by  | Permalink

Baby Kahn, allegedly killed by his own father with one punch. Screen shot via Fox 8.

A North Carolina couple was arrested at their home on Tuesday after police came to the couples home to respond to unresponsive newborn named Kahn.

The baby’s parents, Brian Jack Frazier, 20-years-old, and Stefany Renee Ash, also 20-years-old, were arrested because police believed the couple were involved in the 2-week-old infant’s death.

The case went before a judge on Wednesday where prosecutors claimed that the baby’s father got frustrated with Khan because Frazier was up all night playing video games. Prosecutors allege that the baby starting crying and that’s when Frazier grabbed the infant by the neck and delivered a powerful blow to the baby’s face, killing him.

According to My Fox 8, the couple reportedly colluded with each other in trying to come up with a story to cover up the crime. The police said the couple discussed staging a kidnapping or disposing of the body.

Ash’s mother, Sandra Alston, the baby’s grandmother, said, “It’s horrible. I just wished they’d have brought him to me. I wish to goodness they’d have brought him to me.”

Frazier and Ash have another child together, 15-month-old Kayne.

Frazier has been charged with first degree murder while Ash has been charged with accessory after the fact.

4-year-old left outside in the cold; toddler sister inside locked inside cage

November 13th, 2012 by  | Permalink

William Todd Lewallen, 47, arrested after passing out and leaving toddler naked outside in the cold and another inside a dog cage. Mug shot via Tulsa Police.

A North Tulsa, Oklahoma, man has been credited this week for saving the lives of three young children who were being woefully neglected while their father was allegedly passed out on prescription medications and alcohol.

According to Oklahoma News 6, neighbor Matt Testerman called the Tulsa police on Sunday night after he heard a child screaming and upon further investigation found  a naked 4-year-old boy locked outside his home. Testerman said the boy had been out their in 40-degree weather, without clothes, for at least 20 minutes. Testerman said the boy’s lips were starting to turn purple.

Another neighbor, Bodan Jacobs, said she heard the boy crying and begging, “Daddy, I’m cold and scared; I’m cold, I’m scared daddy.”

Bodan and Toker Jacobs then brought the boy into their home and gave him clothes and a blanket.

When police arrived to the home of William Todd Lewallen, 47, they said they heard another child screaming  and looked through window and saw a screaming toddler locked inside a dog cage. After repeated attempts to try to get Lewallen to answer the door, the police officers broke the door down. The toddler inside the dog cage was covered in feces while another toddler was asleep in one of the bedrooms with Lewallen passed out beside the sleeping baby.

Throughout all the commotion, Lewallen failed to wake up from his drunken stupor.

Police say when Lewallen finally did wake up, he was unable to recall how the 18-month-old girl got locked inside the dog cage.

The children’s mother arrived home Sunday night from work, reportedly unaware of the situation at home.

Lewallen was arrested on felony child neglect. Lewallen is said to be the biological father of all three children. The children have been handed over to child protective services.

Teacher accused of molesting 20 children

January 24th, 2013 by  | Permalink

Robert Pimentel. Photo via KTLA-TV

Robert Pimentel, 57, a former fourth grade teacher at George de la Torre Jr. Elementary School in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), was arrested on Wednesday for allegedly committing lewd acts and sexually abusing 20 children and one adult.  According to court records, prosecutors have filed 15 charges involving sexual abuse and lewd acts which occurred between September 2011 and March 2012.

In March, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) opened an investigation on Pimentel after several female students told their parents that Pimentel had inappropriately touched them.  As LAPD detectives gathered evidence, they found Pimentel allegedly had abused 20 children and that 19 of the children were students at the school.  The adult allegedly abused by Pimentel was a co-worker.

After the investigation was opened, district officials removed Pimentel from the district and promptly notified parents and the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.  District officials began preparing an official “notice of termination” letter, which they had planned to present to Pimentel at an April 2012 Board of Education meeting.

Pimentel retired before the district could take action against him and before he could be terminated.  LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy told the Los Angeles Times, “Can you go back and fire someone who’s already retired?  No, you can’t.”

Pimentel is currently in jail with a $12-million bail.  Pimentel had been with the school district since 1974, and because he retired before he was terminated, he will receive his full pension even if he is convicted.

Police: Youngsters removed from home, ‘feces everywhere’

January 16th, 2013 by  | Permalink

Kelso Police photo of Washington home where two children, 2 and 7, were removed for living in deplorable conditions.

Two young children were removed from a Kelso, Wash. home on Saturday after their father contacted police about alleged neglect in the home of the children’s mother, Nicole Jacob.

When police arrived at the home, they found two young children, ages 2 and 7, who were without clothes and living in squalor. The children were also found among large amounts of feces, garbage and rotted food.

The police officer’s wrote in their report that one child was observed running through the house without clothes, stepping in feces and another child sleeping in a chair whom the police believe didn’t have a bed. Police believe the mother’s behavior indicated that she was likely intoxicated. Police searched the home and found a backed up toilet, with days, if not weeks, of accumulated feces in the bathtub, on the floor and on the walls. Police say the children were walking through feces on the floor, tracking it into every room, including the kitchen.

One female officer described the surrounding a “disgusting mess” and said the home made her sick to her stomach. A reporter with KPTV said that pungent odor could be smelled from the street.

Kelso Police called CPS to take custody of the two youngsters. The children’s mother told police she couldn’t find shoes, socks or clothing for the children among the mess.

Police say there was no food in the house except milk and a jar of pickles. The neighbor told KPTV that when she met the officers at the house, one of the children came up to her and said they were hungry.

The children’s father, who originally made the call to police was arrested for domestic abuse after police noticed Jacobs had a bruise above her eye. The father, Danny Wannamaker, admitted that the couple had an argument earlier over $40 in cash.

The house has since been condemned.

100,000 child porn images in man’s possession

February 1st, 2013 by  | Permalink

George Pires. Photo via CBS13.

A Ceres, Calif. man was arrested Friday morning after the FBI and Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department found over 100,000 images of child pornography in his possession.

The investigation started in October when someone called 911 and reported that George Pires, 52, was in possession of child pornography.  Details of the October 911 call were not released.

Detectives from the Sheriff’s Department obtained search warrants and seized numerous photos and several computers belonging to Pires.   A computer forensics analysis found more than 100,000 child pornography images on Pires’s computers.

Due to the large amounts of child pornography evidence that was found on the computers, Stanislaus County Sheriff’s detectives contacted the FBI to assist with the investigation.  A joint investigation by the FBI and the Sheriff’s Department was conducted which led to the FBI arresting Pires.

Pires is facing federal charges of possession and manufacture of child pornography.  Detectives are trying to find any possible victims of child molestation as related to the case and are asking anyone with information to contact Det. Megan Brazil at (209) 525-7082.

Sources: News10CBS13

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The family had lived in the rundown rental house for almost three years when someone first saw a child’s face in the window. A little girl, pale, with dark eyes, lifted a dirty blanket above the broken glass and peered out, one neighbor remembered.

Everyone knew a woman lived in the house with her boyfriend and two adult sons. But they had never seen a child there, had never noticed anyone playing in the overgrown yard. The girl looked young, 5 or 6, and thin. Too thin. Her cheeks seemed sunken; her eyes were lost. The child stared into the square of sunlight, then slipped away.  This was the 3rd sighting and 3rd report of possible neglect of this child in as many years.

The earliest documents are from Feb. 11, 2002. That was when someone called the child-abuse hot line on her. The caller reported that a child, about 3, was “left unattended for days with a retarded older brother, never seen wearing anything but a diaper. The home is filthy. There are clothes everywhere. There are feces on the child’s seat and the counter is covered with trash.”

It’s not clear what investigators found at the house, but they left Danielle with her mother that day.

Nine months later, another call to authorities. A person who knew Michelle from the Moose Lodge said she was always there playing bingo with her new boyfriend, leaving her children alone overnight. “Not fit to be a mother,” the caller said. The hot-line operator took these notes: The 4-year-old girl “is still wearing a diaper and drinking from a baby bottle. On-going situation, worse since last August. Mom leaves Grant and Danielle at home for several days in a row while she goes to work and spends the night with a new paramour. Danielle … is never seen outside the home.” Again the child-abuse investigators went out. They offered Michelle free day care for Danielle. She refused. And they left Danielle there.

A few months after the second abuse call, Michelle and her kids moved in with her boyfriend in the rundown rental house in Plant City. The day the cops came, Michelle says, she didn’t know what was wrong. Just before noon on July 13, 2005, a Plant City police car pulled up outside that shattered window. Two officers went into the house — and one stumbled back out. Clutching his stomach, the rookie retched in the weeds.

Plant City Detective Mark Holste had been on the force for 18 years when he and his young partner were sent to the house on Old Sydney Road to stand by during a child abuse investigation. Someone had finally called the police. They found a car parked outside. The driver’s door was open and a woman was slumped over in her seat, sobbing. She was an investigator for the Florida Department of Children and Families.

“Unbelievable,” she told Holste. “The worst I’ve ever seen.” The police officers walked through the front door, into a cramped living room. “I’ve been in rooms with bodies rotting there for a week and it never stunk that bad,” Holste said later. “There’s just no way to describe it. Urine and feces — dog, cat and human excrement — smeared on the walls, mashed into the carpet. Everything dank and rotting.” Tattered curtains, yellow with cigarette smoke, dangling from bent metal rods. Cardboard and old comforters stuffed into broken, grimy windows. Trash blanketing the stained couch, the sticky counters. The floor, walls, even the ceiling seemed to sway beneath legions of scuttling roaches.

“It sounded like you were walking on eggshells. You couldn’t take a step without crunching German cockroaches,” the detective said. “They were in the lights, in the furniture. Even inside the freezer. The freezer!” While Holste looked around, a stout woman in a faded housecoat demanded to know what was going on. Yes, she lived there. Yes, those were her two sons in the living room. Her daughter? Well, yes, she had a daughter . . .

The detective strode past her, down a narrow hall. He turned the handle on a door, which opened into a space the size of a walk-in closet. He squinted in the dark. At his feet, something stirred.  The detective found Danielle in the back. The only window in the small space was broken. Michelle had tacked a blanket across the shattered glass, but flies and beetles and roaches had crept in anyway. “My house was a mess,” she says. “I’d been sick and it got away from me. But I never knew a dirty house was against the law.” The cop walked past her, carrying Danielle.

• • •

First he saw the girl’s eyes: dark and wide, unfocused, unblinking. She wasn’t looking at him so much as through him. She lay on a torn, moldy mattress on the floor. She was curled on her side, long legs tucked into her emaciated chest. Her ribs and collarbone jutted out; one skinny arm was slung over her face; her black hair was matted, crawling with lice. Insect bites, rashes and sores pocked her skin. Though she looked old enough to be in school, she was naked — except for a swollen diaper.

“The pile of dirty diapers in that room must have been 4 feet high,” the detective said. “The glass in the window had been broken, and that child was just lying there, surrounded by her own excrement and bugs.” When he bent to lift her, she yelped like a lamb. “It felt like I was picking up a baby,” Holste said. “I put her over my shoulder, and that diaper started leaking down my leg.” The girl didn’t struggle. Holste asked, What’s your name, honey? The girl didn’t seem to hear. He searched for clothes to dress her, but found only balled-up laundry, flecked with feces. He looked for a toy, a doll, a stuffed animal. “But the only ones I found were covered in maggots and roaches.” Choking back rage, he approached the mother. How could you let this happen? “The mother’s statement was: ‘I’m doing the best I can,” the detective said. “I told her, ‘The best you can sucks!’ ” He wanted to arrest the woman right then, but when he called his boss he was told to let DCF do its own investigation.

So the detective carried the girl down the dim hall, past her brothers, past her mother in the doorway, who was shrieking, “Don’t take my baby!” He buckled the child into the state investigator’s car. The investigator agreed: They had to get the girl out of there. “Radio ahead to Tampa General,” the detective remembers telling his partner. “If this child doesn’t get to a hospital, she’s not going to make it.”

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Her name, her mother had said, was Danielle. She was almost 7 years old. She weighed 46 pounds. She was malnourished and anemic. In the pediatric intensive care unit they tried to feed the girl, but she couldn’t chew or swallow solid food. So they put her on an IV and let her drink from a bottle.  Aides bathed her, scrubbed the sores on her face, trimmed her torn fingernails. They had to cut her tangled hair before they could comb out the lice.

Her caseworker determined that she had never been to school, never seen a doctor. She didn’t know how to hold a doll, didn’t understand peek-a-boo. “Due to the severe neglect,” a doctor would write, “the child will be disabled for the rest of her life.” Hunched in an oversized crib, Danielle curled in on herself like a potato bug, then writhed angrily, kicking and thrashing. To calm herself, she batted at her toes and sucked her fists. “Like an infant,” one doctor wrote. She wouldn’t make eye contact. She didn’t react to heat or cold — or pain. The insertion of an IV needle elicited no reaction. She never cried. With a nurse holding her hands, she could stand and walk sideways on her toes, like a crab. She couldn’t talk, didn’t know how to nod yes or no. Once in a while she grunted. She couldn’t tell anyone what had happened, what was wrong, what hurt.

Dr. Kathleen Armstrong, director of pediatric psychology at the University of South Florida medical school, was the first psychologist to examine Danielle. She said medical tests, brain scans, and vision, hearing and genetics checks found nothing wrong with the child. She wasn’t deaf, wasn’t autistic, had no physical ailments such as cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy. The doctors and social workers had no way of knowing all that had happened to Danielle. But the scene at the house, along with Danielle’s almost comatose condition, led them to believe she had never been cared for beyond basic sustenance. Hard as it was to imagine, they doubted she had ever been taken out in the sun, sung to sleep, even hugged or held. She was fragile and beautiful, but whatever makes a person human seemed somehow missing. Armstrong called the girl’s condition “environmental autism.” Danielle had been deprived of interaction for so long, the doctor believed, that she had withdrawn into herself.

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The most extraordinary thing about Danielle, Armstrong said, was her lack of engagement with people, with anything. “There was no light in her eye, no response or recognition. . . . We saw a little girl who didn’t even respond to hugs or affection. Even a child with the most severe autism responds to those.” Danielle’s was “the most outrageous case of neglect I’ve ever seen.” The authorities had discovered the rarest and most pitiable of creatures: a feral child.

“In the first five years of life, 85 percent of the brain is developed,” said Armstrong, the psychologist who examined Danielle. “Those early relationships, more than anything else, help wire the brain and provide children with the experience to trust, to develop language, to communicate. They need that system to relate to the world.”

Danielle’s case raised disturbing questions for everyone trying to help her. How could this have happened? What kind of mother would sit by year after year while her daughter languished in her own filth, starving and crawling with bugs? And why hadn’t someone intervened? The neighbors, the authorities — where had they been? “It’s mind-boggling that in the 21st century we can still have a child who’s just left in a room like a gerbil,” said Tracy Sheehan, Danielle’s guardian in the legal system and now a circuit court judge. “No food. No one talking to her or reading her a story. She can’t even use her hands. How could this child be so invisible?”

Doctors had only the most modest ambitions for her. “My hope was that she would be able to sleep through the night, to be out of diapers and to feed herself,” Armstrong said. If things went really well, she said, Danielle would end up “in a nice nursing home.” Danielle spent six weeks at Tampa General before she was well enough to leave. But where could she go? Not home; Judge Martha Cook, who oversaw her dependency hearing, ordered that Danielle be placed in foster care and that her mother not be allowed to call or visit her. The mother was being investigated on criminal child abuse charges.

“That child, she broke my heart,” Cook said later. “We were so distraught over her condition, we agonized over what to do.” Eventually, Danielle was placed in a group home in Land O’Lakes. She had a bed with sheets and a pillow, clothes and food, and someone at least to change her diapers.  “In my entire career with the child welfare system, I don’t ever remember a child like Danielle,” said Luanne Panacek, executive director of the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County. “It makes you think about what does quality of life mean? What’s the best we can hope for her? After all she’s been through, is it just being safe?”

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STATE OF COLORADO – DEFINITIONS OF MALTREATMENT (CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT)

                4 types of child maltreatment (neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, and emotional abuse), physical abuse is second to neglect, constituting approximately 18% of the total.  Despite these statistics, the estimated number of victims is much higher; in 1 retrospective cohort study of 8613 adults,26.4% reported they were pushed, grabbed, or slapped; had something thrown at them; or were hit so hard they got marks or bruise sat some time during their childhood.It has been estimated that 1.3% to 15% of childhood injuries that result in emergency department visits are caused by abuse. Physical abuse remains an under reported (and often undetected) problem for several reasons including individual and community variations in what is considered “abuse,” inadequate knowledge and training among professionals in the recognition of abusive injuries, unwillingness to report suspected abuse, and professional bias.  Definitions as provided by State of Colorado avail upon request.

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Child abuse is the physical and/or psychological/emotional mistreatment of children.

 

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In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) define child maltreatment as any act or series of acts or commission or omission by a parent or other caregiver that results in harm, potential for harm, or threat of harm to a child. Most child abuse occurs in a child’s home, with a smaller amount occurring in the organizations, schools or communities the child interacts with. There are four major categories of child abuse: neglect, physical abuse, psychological/emotional abuse, and sexual abuse.


WARNING

PLEASE BE AWARE THAT THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION CONTAINED HEREIN IS A GRAPHIC DESCRIPTION OF THE LIFE AND THE INJURIES SUSTAINED BY THESE CHILDREN.  

THIS INFORMATION IS FOR THE SOLE PURPOSE OF HIGHLIGHTING THE VERY SAD, REAL AND SHOCKING VIOLENCE THAT EXISTS WITHIN OUR SOCIETY.

THE MAGNITUDE OF CRUELTY THAT MOST OF US CAN ONLY PRAY WE WILL NEVER SEE.

           

Meet CHANDLER A. GRAFNER

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CHANDLER’S STORY

Phillips, 27, looked straight ahead and showed no emotion as he has during the rest of the two-week trial. He made no statement before he was sentenced.

Chandler’s family members whispered an emphatic “Yes!” and held onto one another as they heard Phillips convicted on all counts.

“It would be an understatement to tell you this case was horrific,” prosecutor Verna Carpenter told the judge before Phillips was sentenced, struggling to control her emotions.

Phillips was convicted of causing Chandler to die of starvation and dehydration while keeping him locked in a dark linen closet, surrounded by his excrement, while crying and screaming for something to eat or drink.

Autopsy photos showed him so emaciated that his eye sockets and most bones in his body stuck out. The little hair that hadn’t fallen out from malnutrition was still standing up in the spikes that the little boy favored.

Carpenter said she has her own 7-year-old, blond, blue-eyed son, and then broke off, choking back tears that she had held at bay during the weeks of trial. Prosecutor David Lamb came to stand beside her.

“There is not a sentence long enough for Jon Phillips,” she said. “He deserves the maximum you can give him. That’s what justice requires.”

“This case has taken an emotional toll on everyone,” Judge John Madden said as he imposed the sentence.

Phillips’ mother sobbed into the chest of public defender Darren Cantor after her son was led from the courtroom by deputies. Cantor hugged her and whispered, “Sorry.”

Phillips’ parents left the courthouse, going down a side stairway to avoid reporters.

‘Justice was done’
Chandler’s grandmother, Sandra Younger, said, “We really feel that justice was done here. We are thankful.”

She said she is glad that Phillips will be behind bars for the rest of his life. “I think he’s a sociopath without a conscience.”

Younger told the judge before sentencing, “I hope every day he suffers the way my baby did. I want him to live in the terror Chandler must have lived in. He is a monster.”

Chandler’s mother, Christina Grafner, wasn’t present for the verdict. Younger said she was in the hospital.

Chandler’s aunt, Stefanie Evilsizer, told the judge before sentencing that her nephew’s “beautiful spirit was broken down by the monster sitting before us. He tore our entire world apart.”

As he left the courtroom where he has sat for much of the trial, Chandler’s biological father, Josh Norris said, “I’ve gotten a lot of closure today.”

Norris and Christina Younger also issued a joint statement through an attorney thanking the Denver District Attorney’s Office for “its hard work” in winning the convictions and the community for “its support and continued prayers.”

“We continue to grieve the loss of our little boy. Chandler will never be forgotten.”

Jurors, who sat in the back of the courtroom for the sentencing hearing, declined to talk to reporters but clearly rejected the defense contention that Chandler died from undiagnosed diabetes.

Phillip’s girlfriend, Sarah Berry, 23, pleaded guilty Monday to second-degree murder, sparing her a possible life sentence for a first-degree murder conviction.

Younger said she supported the plea bargain because Berry had “manned up, she took responsibility and admitted what she did.”

Defense attorneys and one expert pathologist contended that Chandler died of undiagnosed diabetes that caused his body to feed on itself.

However, the bulk of medical experts who testified said there was no sign of diabetes in Chandler’s body. Phillips and Berry had not sought medical care for Chandler in the weeks before he died, while he was wasting away.

Boy fell through cracks
Among the damning evidence was a cell-phone call in which Berry asked Phillips what to do after Chandler became so desperate for water that he threatened to escape from the closet, get a knife and kill them if they didn’t give him a drink. That call was made nine days before he died.

During the two-week trial, jurors were given a grim description of Chandler’s final days. A mortuary worker who weighed him when he delivered his body to the coroner said he weighed 31 pounds.

Doctors said it would have taken a week or two for Chandler to reach the level of starvation and dehydration he had when paramedics were summoned May 6, 2007, to find he was already dead.

Prosecutors contended that Phillips and Berry waited several hours to call 911 while they ripped up and disposed of the feces-encrusted carpet from the linen closet.

In the spring of 2007, Chandler had attracted the attention of teachers, social workers and police, after he came to school with his ear black. He told teachers “my daddy clobbered me” but later changed his story to say he had slipped in the shower.

Chandler fell through the social services cracks and was returned to Phillips and Berry with no follow-up.

His death prompted major efforts to examine what went wrong with his case.

Lamb asked the jury for a first-degree murder conviction during his closing argument, saying, “Anything less than that is a gift of mercy to a man who showed none.”

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