Another Child Murdered At The Hands of Her Adoptive Mother

Why did 9-year-old Shylae Thomas of Flint (MI) have to die from abuse and neglect?
July 21, 2009 by Lauren Hager

Details of her death
It has happened again.

Although it’s been three months since Shylae Thomas’s emaciated body was found stuffed in a Genesee County storage unit, the recently released autopsy report revealed horrific findings.

According to the Flint Journal her death was ruled a homicide. She died of medical neglect, malnutrition and dehydration. Shylae’s adoptive mother is in jail on charges of second degree murder and child abuse.

Nine-year-old Shylae had lived a life of severe challenges. She was blind, deaf and mute. One can only imagine the extreme suffering she endured… not being able to express to anyone the torture inflicted upon her.

Need details of her life and death
As former chairperson of the Family and Children’s Services Committee in the Michigan Legislature, I dealt with the insidious issue of child abuse and neglect. I came to learn that the state’s system of protecting vulnerable children is fraught with inconsistencies and shortcomings in carrying out its responsibilities. With that in mind, I worked for four years with other legislators in authoring Ariana’s Law which gave increased authority and independence to the Office of Children’s Ombudsman to oversee, to ride herd, on the Department of Human Services.

Now it’s up to that office to do its work, to find out what actually happened in the dark life of Shylae.

I called for state review
I called the OCO yesterday to be a co-complainant on Shylae’s behalf. I was told that their investigation has begun but that it would take up to six months to complete their work. I was told that the Child Protective Services had been involved in the case before her death.

My questions for MI child protection workers

I have to wonder what CPS workers had noticed about her care. 1) Were there regular unannounced visits to her home? 2) Were the conditions of her care closely monitored? 3)Were regular visits to her doctor documented? 4) Why did a nine-year-old girl only weigh 33 pounds? 5) Why was she a victim of malnutrition and dehydration? 6) Did her adoptive mother have a previous record of not properly caring for children.

There are numerous unanswered questions. I’m counting on the OCO to issue clear-cut findings and recommendations as they conduct their investigation… and I’m hoping it doesn’t take six months to accomplish this task.

And furthermore, I’m expecting that these findings and recommendations will be made fully public so all of us, including CPS workers can learn from them.

I would hope that Shylae, Ariana, Ann Marie, Ricky and other precious kids who suffered tragic and painful deaths from abuse and neglect would not have died in vain… that we would honor their memories and pledge that other kids would not suffer and die as they did.

About yvonnemason

Background:  The eldest of five children, Yvonne was born May 17, 1951 in Atlanta, Georgia. Raised in East Point, Georgia, she moved to Jackson County, Ga. until 2006 then moved to Port St. Lucie, Florida where she currently makes her home.  Licensed bounty hunter for the state of Georgia. Education:  After a 34 year absence, returned to college in 2004. Graduated with honors in Criminal Justice with an Associate’s degree from Lanier Technical College in 2006. Awards:  Nominated for the prestigious GOAL award in 2005 which encompasses all of the technical colleges. This award is based not only on excellence in academics but also leadership, positive attitude and the willingness to excel in one’s major. Affiliations:  Beta Sigma Phi Sorority  Member of The Florida Writer’s Association – Group Leader for St Lucie County The Dream:  Since learning to write at the age of five, Yvonne has wanted to be an author. She wrote her first novel Stan’s Story beginning in 1974 and completed it in 2006. Publication seemed impossible as rejections grew to 10 years. Determined, she continued adding to the story until her dream came true in 2006. The Inspiration:  Yvonne’s brother Stan has been her inspiration and hero in every facet of her life. He was stricken with Encephalitis at the tender age of nine months. He has defied every roadblock placed in his way and has been the driving force in every one of her accomplishments. He is the one who taught her never to give up The Author: Yvonne is currently the author of several novels, including:  Stan’s Story- the true story of her brother’s accomplishments, it has been compared to the style of Capote, and is currently being rewritten with new information for re-release.  Tangled Minds - a riveting story about a young girl’s bad decision and how it taints everyone’s life around her yet still manages to show that hope is always possible. This novel has been compared to the writing of Steinbeck and is currently being written as a screenplay. This novel will be re-released by Kerlak Publishing in 2009  Brilliant Insanity – released by Kerlak Publishing October 2008  Silent Scream – Released by October 2008- Slated to be made into a movie Yvonne’s Philosophy in Life - “Pay it Forward”: “In this life we all have been helped by others to attain our dreams and goals. We cannot pay it back but what we can do is ‘pay it forward’. It is a simple
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