The time has come to tell the public what has happened to these three children who were kidnapped and sold and yes sold to Donna Dills Webb. Their Mother Alice Samantha Thomason fought for two years to get her children back after they were stolen by Jackson County Ga DCF. She did everything that was required of her- the only thing left was a place to live which by the ASFA Jackson County was supposed to help her with under – reasonable effort. They did not and did not even offer. She was hung out to dry by her attorney who never questioned if it had been done. So earlier this year those three children were stripped from any legal rights to their mother.
They were immediately adopted by Donna Dills Webb and her husband Vince. This was prearranged by Jackson County DCF and Judge Guidry, It gets better.
Donna and her husband moved from a very small house in Commerce to a nice big expensive house in Madison County which is the next county over. They built the house using money that was gained by having six foster children in their home including these three children. Which does not have to be claimed on taxes.
As a result of the adoption they now can double dip. They are allowed under the Adoption and Safe Families Act to claim up to 45,000.00 as a deduction for the adoption of these girls. They also get to claim them as dependents and they still get a monthly check for each of the three children until they turn 18 years old. That nice big house is being paid for off the backs of children.
To add insult to injury they changed the girls names. Sara was named after her great great grandmothers and her great grandmother. She no longer has that name. The only name the girls have is the name they go by. There was a reason why they were given the names they were given at birth now they will never know.
After Donna was paid to steal these children, she told Samantha that she wanted them to continue to have a relationship with their birth mother. But at every turn she has badgered her, blackmailed her and emotionally abused her with threats of not allowing her to see the girls if she didn’t “toe the line.”
I was asked not to post here about her or her abuse, and I didn’t. However Donna continued to threaten Samantha. Well now the gloves have come off. No longer will I sit by and put up with this abuse.
Donna had no intention of allowing Samantha to continue any kind of relationship with her children because it would mean that at some point she would have to explain her culpability in this kidnapping. She has no explanation except money. She cannot justify her actions in any way at all.
Today was the last straw. She told Samantha that she didn’t want Sam to see the girls anymore, but yet gave no explication- except that she had proof that Sam was screwing up. Really! What proof. Sam asked her and she wouldn’t tell her, but she did threaten Sam with a TRO is she came around the girls again.
- Donna Dills Webb
- Samantha I have got to put a stop to you seeing the girls. I feel they would be better off in the long run. If you come back around I will get a TPO on you.
I’m doing what is best for the girls.
40 minutes ago
- Wht did i do? I havent done anything wrong?
39 minutes ago
Donna Dills Webb
- I’m doing what’s best for the girls it’s a lot of stuff adding up and it’s fr there best interest
36 minutes ago
- Whts adding up? I c my kids and thts it i dnt say anything out of the way 2 them!
33 minutes ago
Donna Dills Webb
- Just stay away I have all my prof and I’m not backing down just leave them alone or like I said I will get a TPO
20 minutes ago
- You dnt have no proof of me doing anything wrong. But do wht you think you need to do. It will come back 2 bite you in the ass i promise. And if i cant see them aint noone seeing them from his family. Since you want to be this way then dnt message me anymore. But trust and believe my kids will come look for me and theres nothing you can do 2 stop it.And you dnt scare me w a TPO.
When Samantha went in front of the Panel she was told by Donna Webb the foster care provider that Shawna the oldest child didn’t love or trust her mother. She had been told this by the therapist or so she stated to the panel. The therapist was not in attendance. Last Monday Dec 8,2010) Samantha went to visit her three children at the Tree House and she took Shawna a necklace she had bought her for her birthday with the letter “S” on it. Shawna told her mother that she loved it and she loved anything her mother gave her. A while back her mother had given her a camera and Donna had taken it from her and made Shawna give it back to Samantha. This is probably what will happen to the necklace. Donna doesn’t want the girls to have anything their mother gives them. She had given Shawna some play makeup for Christmas the year before and Donna had also taken that away from her. These are things that are not told in court. Donna will not let the girls have anything their mother gives them.
Samantha is not allowed to spend any holidays with her children. And they cannot keep anything she gives them. This is in direct violation of Title IV-E – Donna is complicant in her attempt to allienate these children from their mother.
Shawna also asked her mother if she could get her ears repierced when she comes home. Samantha told her yes. Does this sound like a child who doesn’t trust her mother? I think not!
It is way past time for these children to return home. It is way past time for Jackson County DFCS to help her get the housing they are supposed to do under Title IV-E Funding. That is one of the condtions they receive the funding. They are supposed to make reasonable effort to help her with housing. They have not done that. Tempra Fields has not even returned her calls regarding the two different court dates one in Jan and the other in Feb. Samantha has made numerous phone calls to her and it all goes to voice mail. She is to busy to call her back but not to busy to keep her children from her.
Time to bring them home.
I read the article twice just to make sure I read it correctly. CPS did not see any red flags. Beginning with the fact that the foster care provider was unemployed, she had already returned one child who had been in her care due to alledged health issues- and then when she was asked to take Raffy her comment to CPS was that she didn’t have the money to care for the child and would need DFSA to rush the assistance that is routinely provided to help with costs such as additional food.
She also told a neighbor that the assistance from the District would keep her from being evicted.
The agency checked on the newborn once in 43 days. He was supposed to be visited once a week.
Why was the case worker not charged with neglect as well. Why was the foster care provider only charged with neglect? Why wasn’t CPS charged with child endangerment?
This goes on more than people know. CPS kills more children by snatching them and placing them in foster care than are killed in their own homes.
In Jackson County Ga there are three girls who had a home, their mother was working was not on drugs or alochol and she lost her children. But yet- CPS gives a newborn to a woman who is not working is getting ready to be evicted and has no resources to care for herself- much less a newborn.
What is wrong with this picture? No amount of money will give this child back his life, no amount of money will undo what has been criminally done to him at the hands of a stranger! It is time to stop this abuse by CPS.
It is time to put a stop to them stealing children and placing them in abusive homes. This child had been taken from a drug addicted mother and placed in a stranger’s home to be abused for life – Where is the justification in that act? Who will be held accountable besides the foster care provider?
D.C. settles for $10 million in foster care abuse case
By Henri E. Cauvin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, November 8, 2010; 11:43 PM
An abusive foster mother nearly cost Rafael Pearson his life, and now the District has agreed to pay $10 million for placing him with the troubled woman, whose beatings left the boy with massive brain damage.
Rafael was just a few days old when he was taken from his drug-addicted mother and placed in the foster home in fall 2005. Beaten and shaken by his foster mother, the baby suffered catastrophic brain damage. He was on life support for days, not expected to survive. More than five years later, he remains profoundly disabled. He can sense light and shadows and movement but otherwise his vision is extremely limited.
The settlement, to be paid out in three installments, beginning with a $5 million payment this month, is one of the largest the District has ever agreed to.
But with a lifetime of round-the-clock care ahead of Rafael, the settlement is hardly a windfall, his attorneys say – the agreement is structured to ensure that Rafael’s needs are funded for as long as he lives.
The lawsuit, filed in 2007 after the foster mother, Tanya Jenkins, was tried and sentenced to 12 years for cruelty to children, sought $50 million from the District. The suit was about to go to trial in early August in D.C. Superior Court when the parties indicated that they were closing in on a settlement.
Over the next three months, the agreement took shape, and late Friday, after a few final tweaks, the judge in the case, Judith N. Macaluso, approved the pact.
Sitting in the first row of Courtroom 415, in his tiny white Nikes and his black reclining wheelchair, was Rafael. He occasionally uttered sounds, but he cannot speak. Next to him was his grandmother, Sylvia Pearson, 57, who filed the lawsuit on his behalf and who has been his champion since the day in late October 2005 when it looked like Rafael would not survive.
“You can’t replace what would have been a great, normal life,” Pearson said after the hearing, “but I have faith in him and his ability to progress more rapidly than people expect.”
Already, Raffy, as his grandmother calls him, has defied expectations. He made it out of Children’s Hospital. He made it out of the Hospital for Sick Children. And by early next year, he is expected to leave the nursing home in Dunn Loring where he has lived for the past five years.
If all goes according to plan, Raffy will move into his grandmother’s Fairfax Station home, which is being fitted with an elevator and other accommodations, and where he will have a home health aide around the clock.
It could, of course, have been worse. But it also could have been altogether different for Raffy, born Sept. 9, 2005, in a motel in Northern Virginia.
When his mother, Renee Pearson, brought him to Virginia Hospital Center later that day, he was 5 pounds 14 ounces and had traces of cocaine in his system. Concerned, the hospital called child welfare officials in the District, where Renee Pearson said she lived. The social worker couldn’t verify the the mother’s address in Northwest Washington and called the baby’s grandmother.
Sylvia Pearson, who had watched her daughter succumb to drugs and the streets, told the social worker to take the baby. Pearson had already adopted one of her daughter’s children, and her son had adopted the other. Now, they would have to find a way to help Raffy, who was going to stay in foster care while everything was sorted out.
He ended up with Tanya Jenkins, a new foster parent who was unemployed and lived in Southeast Washington with her 2-year-old son and her boyfriend. Earlier that year, another infant had been placed with Jenkins, but she had sent the child back after five weeks, saying she had health problems that made it difficult to care for the small child.
Despite the red flag, the Child and Family Services Agency came to Jenkins five months later when they needed a home for Raffy. Jenkins agreed but said she didn’t have the money to care for the child and would need CFSA to rush the assistance that is routinely provided to help with costs such as additional food.
But even without the additional child, she was struggling, according to testimony at her trial. She told a neighbor that the financial assistance from the District would keep her from being evicted.
Once Raffy arrived, the stress mounted for Jenkins, according to the neighbor, who testified that Jenkins was complaining about never sleeping. Meanwhile, the city’s long-troubled child welfare agency wasn’t keeping tabs on Jenkins or the baby who had been entrusted to her. A social worker should have visited every week for the first eight weeks. The agency made one visit during the 43 days Raffy was in the home.
It was another harrowing episode in the annals of the District’s beleaguered child welfare system, and when they filed suit, Pearson’s attorneys, Sidney Schupak and Michelle A. Parfitt of Ashcraft & Gerel, planned to put the entire system on trial.
Instead, the District agreed to pay one of the largest settlements in its history, as well as $2 million in attorneys’ fees.
Robert J. Spagnoletti, who was the District’s attorney general under Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D), said a settlement as large as the one in this case had never crossed his desk. “It’s a very big settlement,” but not necessarily unreasonable, said Spagnoletti, now a partner at Schertler & Onorato.
Patrick M. Regan, a leading plaintiffs attorney in the District, called the settlement a “significant” sum of money, but said the amount had to be viewed in the context of the needs the child and his family will face over a lifetime. “It’s fair,” Regan said.
D.C. Attorney General Peter Nickles, who was involved in the settlement negotiations, did not return a call today seeking comment.
I don’t know when Donna Webb the foster care provider who has Samantha’s children and Jackson County Ga DFCS will learn that I find out things that go on in that county. The latest thing happened last night. It appears that at the church – Peach Place where Samantha visits her children there was a Thanksgiving Dinner for “All the Foster Kids” and their real parents. You know the ones who actually gave birth to them and looked after them until they were stolen by Jackson County. There was one mother however who was not informed about it until it was over and done with and her children and Donna Webb the Foster Care Provider were in attendence. These three children were calling her mother. Which she is NOT!
My source also told me that some one was observed talking to the girls and the girls were told that the reason their mother wasn’t there was because she had not been informed.
The source also overheard someone letting the girls know that their mother loved them very much and would have been in attendence if she had been informed.
This was just another tactic by Donna Webb and Jackson County DFCS to manipulate the three girls into believing their mother didnt care enough to attend this dinner. Had she known she would have been there.
Donna Webb has already made it quite clear to several people that she wants the girls to be hers. Apparently she believes she is entitled to them. The real reason is that she wants the money that goes along with them.
What traspired last night was wrong on so many levels- Samantha is supposed to be informed of these events- so she will have the opprotunity to attend or not. This was deliberate and well thought out! It was a slap in Samantha’s face because she dared to stand up to them at the Panel. Because she dared to face down Donna Webb when she tried to tell Samantha that her children didn’t love her and were afraid of her. That they didn’t trust her. This is classic with children who have been stolen both by CPS and child molestors. They gain the children’s confidence by convincing them that their parents didn’t want them to begin with and that they never loved them. The children are brainwashed as Samantha’s children have been so they can be easily manipulated to do the bidding of the abductor. And these children have been adbucted and Donna Webb is playing classic mind games with them – So is Deidra Sands the guardian et lidum.
Once that seed is planted in a child’s mind it is easily brought to fruition. Adults know how to do this very well. It is a form of mental and emotional abuse on their part and should be considered a criminal act.
Tell a child that it’s parent doesn’t love it long enough and does not want it long enough and that child will believe it. Pavlov’s Theory is a great example. When Shawna who is almost ten says something that is lashing out at her mother because she really wants to be at home with her and Donna agrees with her or tells her she doesn’t have to see her mother- Donna just reforces a reflex which she should not. In other words she is telling Shawna it is okay because she now has a new “mommy” and the old one didn’t love her anyway. Shawna becomes conditioned to believe it and then she wants to “please her new mommy” so she will not stop loving her like her “old mommy” did. This is such a classic form of mental and emotional abuse. It is along the same lines as “IF you didn’t make me so mad I would have to hit you!”
Donna Webb is not helping these children to be reunified with their mother who does love them with all of her heart and is well on her way to finding housing which by the way DFCS is supposed to help her with. She has a job and a support system. This is what has Donna Webb and Jackson County DFCS pissed off. Samantha should be reunifed with her children- They are her children and will always be her children. Donna Webb is just a highly paid baby sitter.
The question was asked at the Panel how did Samanatha think the girls would feel later down the road if they found this blog. I can tell you how they will feel – they will see that their mother loved them so much that she was willing to not only put herself out there but her children as well to prove that DFCS is greedy, corrupt and abuses children. They will see that their mother was abused by the system- they will see that she was not allowed pictures of her children because of this blog. They will see that she was denied holidays with her children- that she was denied Thanksgiving meals with her children- that she was denied her rights under the Constituton- They will see that they were also denied their rights under the Constitution and they will see that family did love them and stood their ground when it seemed impossible.
Yes, Jackson County and Donna Webb- you may win the battles, but in the end you will not win the war. The children will learn the facts and then they will know what abuse they suffered at all of your hands.
It is time to stop this and get these girls home before they are totaly brainwashed against the only mother they have or will ever have.
Latest Update on the Case in Jackson County Ga involving Alice Samantha Thomason and Her Three Girls
Imagine this: You are allowed to visit your children once a week in a supervised enviorment- The person who supervises you writes down every word and every action. She reports it back to DFCS (CPS). You as the parent are not allowed to tell your child that you love them, are not allowed to answer any questions regarding when that child might get to come back to you after being stolen by the state. You are not allowed to show any emotion in any form because it will be reported and misconstrued.
Added to that your olded child is going on ten years old- Female and she is getting ready to hit puberty.
Added to that is a Foster Care Provider who says, “You don’t have to stay and talk to your mother if you don’t want to.”
Added to that the child says, to her real mother, “I don’t have to talk to you about anything, I talk to my mother – meaning her foster care provider.”
This conversation took place on Monday Nov 8th 2010 at the location where Samantha goes to visit her children. Shawna the oldest was having a pre-teen female moment. When Samantha asked her what was wrong she said she didn’t have to talk to her – that she only talked to her “mother” meaning Donna Webb the foster care provider. She also stated that Donna told her she didn’t have to visit with her real mom and if she wanted to leave that she Donna would come and get her.
Now this is so wrong on so many levels. Donna Webb is making money off these girls. Now she is trying to sever the tie the children have with their mother who would die for them because she wants to show the court that she has establised a “relationship” with them. She had already thrown a fit when she thought they were going to be sent to Texas to their uncle and aunt.
She is brain washing the girls because she doesn’t want to lose the 16,000.00 a year she is making off them. She is using this money to build a new house in Madison County. Instead of turning them against their mother she should be encouraging them to stay bonded with her. She is after all their mother and always will be.
This is just the latest in the chain of events that prove the corruption and greed in this county. Donna Webb is not held accountable for any of her actions, not the broken arm of Karly, the black eye of Shawna or this. But yet if it the children had been with their mother she would have had them stolen in a heart beat.
This behavior is not acceptable. Samantha is working and will have her own place shortly. She will get her children back. She is their mother- has always been their mother and will always be their mother. Donna Webb is just a facilatator for the State. Someone who warehouses children for profit. She has no right to these children. She is only using them for her means. She has no love for them -they are just a commodity – She is mentally and emotionally abusing them by turning them against their real mother. She if forcing them to make choices about who they are supposed to love and she has no right to do that.
I have a problem with this story on many levels. But the one that really gets me is that this family has adopted all of these speical needs children through Florida Family and Children Services. They get a payment from the governement every month for each of these children. The ante is higher because they are special needs. They have been adopting these children since 1975. The woman Ann Hutton stated, “This is what we do, and we do it well.We enjoy it. We don’t do anything else.”
They make a living off the backs of these children who can not defend themselves. CPS has been called out to the house several times for neglect however, they have allowed these children to remain in a home t hat in other cases would be deemded unsuitable and the children would have been snatched. The reason these children were allowed to stay is because they are special needs and hard to place.
“As part of their plea deal, they were allowed to keep the children, even though court-appointed guardians recommended that the children be removed from the home.”
“The couple are on felony probation for child neglect after pleading guilty to four counts in 2002. Investigators who visited the home at the time found holes in the floors and walls, exposed electrical wires, dog-urine stains, dishes piled high in the kitchen and foul conditions in the bathroom.”
This is wrong- why were the children not removed? The answer is simple – CPS would not have been able to find homes for them.
Children have been taken from homes for less than this.
Now a child has been shot because a deputy believed his life was in danger. The deputy’s life is changed and so is the child’s. These two adoptive parents are allowed to keep these children even after two have died in their care- they are allowed to continue to earn money off their backs WHY?
CPS is at it again with their corruption, greed and abuse, because these children are challenged they are expendable.
ROYAL PALM BEACH — A 17-year-old mentally impaired boy who was shot and critically injured by a sheriff’s deputy Sunday night is the son of a couple from The Acreage who have dedicated their lives to caring for adopted children with mental and physical problems – and have had their share of troubles along the way.
For years, Amy and Donald Hutton have cared for several mentally and physically handicapped adopted children, including youths with disabilities from Down syndrome and severe mental retardation to spina bifida.
“This is what we do, and we do it well,” Amy Hutton told The Palm Beach Post in 1993. “We enjoy it. We don’t do anything else.”
Reached by phone Monday, Amy Hutton declined to comment on the shooting.
Officials from the sheriff’s office and the state Department of Children and Families said Monday the Huttons are not under investigation, and that there is no indication of wrongdoing on their part.
The couple started adopting children with severe disabilities in 1975 after they read about children from Vietnam who needed families.
But years later their care for the adopted children would lead to serious problems, including their arrests two times on child-neglect charges and an investigation into the death of one of their adopted children.
The couple are on felony probation for child neglect after pleading guilty to four counts in 2002. Investigators who visited the home at the time found holes in the floors and walls, exposed electrical wires, dog-urine stains, dishes piled high in the kitchen and foul conditions in the bathroom.
As part of their plea deal, they were allowed to keep the children, even though court-appointed guardians recommended that the children be removed from the home.
Their plea agreement bars them from locking any child in a room for any reason.
Then in 2003 their son David Rogers, 13, died from bronchial pneumonia associated with Down syndrome. An investigation concluded the Huttons were not at fault.
Now their family is again in the news with the revelation that a 17-year-old child of theirs made off with their van Sunday night, prompting a confrontation with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office that led to gunfire and left the boy in the hospital.
A sheriff’s office spokeswoman said the boy, whose name was not released, was stable and improving Monday, a day after being shot “multiple times” by a sheriff’s deputy.
Sheriff’s officials say Amy Hutton called 911 Sunday to report her minivan stolen and her son missing.
A deputy soon spotted it and began to follow.
A second deputy from a different district received a complaint about an impaired driver and also spotted the minivan.
Attempting to block the van’s path, the deputy swerved in front of the van at Okeechobee Boulevard and Royal Palm Beach Boulevard, sheriff’s spokeswoman Teri Barbera said.
Barbera said the van stopped and the deputy stepped out of the patrol car. Then, she said, the van revved forward again in the deputy’s direction.
The deputy opened fire on the van, fearing for his life, Barbera said. The boy was struck at least twice and taken to St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach.
Details of the shooting are being investigated by the sheriff’s office, which placed the deputy on routine administrative leave with pay while the investigation progresses
June 6, 2002
Couple charged after 10 children found amid squalor near West Palm
By Jon Burstein
A suburban West Palm Beach couple again are facing child neglect charges after authorities say 10 of their disabled children were found living in squalor for the second time in less than five years.
Donald and Amy Hutton allowed their house to deteriorate around their adopted children, the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office alleges. Areas of the house were covered with mold, dirt and urine stains, while a pile of dog feces sat in the living room, according to sheriff’s reports.
Prosecutors pursued the Huttons, both 55, on felony neglect charges in 1997 after sheriff’s deputies reported finding the Huttons’ 14 children — ranging in age from 4 to 14 — living in a home strewn with human waste.
Prosecutors ultimately dropped all 14 charges against the couple after they agreed to comply for six months with conditions recommended by the Department of Children & Families, court records show.
The most recent case stems from an anonymous child-neglect complaint to DCF. A caseworker visited the house on March 15 and called a Palm Beach County sheriff’s deputy after seeing the family’s living conditions, according to sheriff’s reports.
The deputy found exposed electrical wiring, dog urine stains throughout the house and insufficient food for 12 people, sheriff’s reports show.
The Huttons told deputies they lock their children in their bedrooms at night to keep them from roaming the house. Deadbolt locks were found on some of the doors.
Prosecutors have filed 10 neglect charges against both of the Huttons. Each count carries up to five years in prison.
Appearing in court on Tuesday, they were ordered not to have any contact with the 10 children found inside their home unless allowed by DCF. It was unclear Wednesday where the children are staying.
DCF spokeswoman Kathleen Anders declined to comment late Wednesday on the agency’s involvement with the Huttons, saying she needed to look into the matter.
Donald Hutton declined to comment Wednesday on the recent or prior allegations against him and his wife.
Some of the Huttons’ neighbors said they saw little of the family.
Gerri Bilz said she never hears the family or sees the children. Her husband, Darren Bilz, said he sometimes saw people arriving at the home early in the morning, apparently to help the Huttons.
“When you’re trying to keep up with [multiple] kids, it can be difficult. They’re giving these kids a home,” he said.
Jim Elkins, Amy Hutton’s attorney in the 1997 case, said the couple were in a never-ending battle to keep the house clean but worked hard to provide a loving home for their children.
“They took these kids in that no one else wanted and tried to make lives for them,” Elkins said. “They seemed like very good people.”
Police reports from 1997 indicate that at the time the Huttons had one natural son and 13 adopted children, many of whom suffer from mental or physical disabilities. Some of the children’s conditions include Down syndrome, autism, seizure disorders and behavioral problems.
The first case against the Huttons arose after their 8-year-old son was reported missing on Jan. 24, 1997, from the single-story, 4,000-square-foot home in the 12600 block of 61st Lane North. After the boy was found, deputies returning him were hit by the overwhelming stench of human waste permeating the home in The Acreage, according to police reports.
Human waste was found smeared on walls, doors, bedding, floor and windows, sheriff’s reports said. A large amount of animal waste also was found in the bathroom.
“Each of the 14 children were greatly unkempt and unsupervised,” sheriff’s Detective Paul Teresi wrote. “The children were wearing dirty clothes. Several of them had fecal material on their hands and clothing.”
The Huttons acknowledged it was sometimes overwhelming taking care of so many children, but Amy Hutton said she didn’t feel the home should be held to “institutional standards,” according to sheriff’s reports.
Charges weren’t filed against the Huttons until a year later, in January 1998. Prosecutors agreed to a plea deal in which the charges would be dropped if they complied with a plan designed by DCF. Other than the 1997 charges, the Huttons have no arrests in Florida, according to state records.
The prosecutor on that case, Darren Shull, could not be reached Wednesday night. The prosecutor handling the current case, Lanna Belohlavek, declined to comment.
The Huttons’ next court appearance is June 14.
Staff Writer Peter Franceschina and Staff Researcher Kathryn Pease contributed to this report.
Jon Burstein can be reached at jburstein@sun-sentinel. com or 561-832-2895.
Copyright © 2002, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
CPS should be also held accountable!!!!
A Lane County couple was arrested after their 9-year-old son spent a month in Doernbecher Children’s Hospital for multiple fractures and an untreated burn that physicians said were the result of abuse.
Rodger Hartwig, 51, and Alona Hartwig, 46, are being held in Lane County Jail on charges of assault and criminal mistreatment. The Hartwigs were the boy’s foster parents before they adopted him and two siblings five years ago.
Share This was the second instance of critical child abuse in Lane County where parents were charged in the past six months, said Gene Evans, a Department of Human Services spokesman. “We’re very concerned about that,” he said.
The other case was the death of 15-year-old Jeanette Maples in December. Her mother and stepfather, Angela McAnulty and Richard McAnulty have been charged with aggravated murder. Both have pleaded not guilty.
Cases of child abuse that result in a major injury or death are “very few and infrequent,” said Lane County sheriff’s Lt. Byron Trapp.
The Department of Human Services’ Critical Incident Response Team will evaluate the Hartwigs’ case. The team reviews serious injuries and deaths of children who have had some association with the state’s child welfare system. The analysis will be completed in a couple of weeks, Evans said.
Rodger HartwigThe Hartwigs have six children, four of whom are adopted. The children are between 9 and 13 years old.
All of the children were placed in foster care on March 27, after physicians identified the boy’s injuries as suspicious. He had multiple rib, vertebrae and finger fractures, at least one pelvic fracture and an untreated burn, Trapp said. Police spent the next month investigating the case before they arrested the couple, Trapp said.
The Department of Human Services has started a probe into the Lane County child welfare system to look for holes, Evans said. They will be investigating staff practices and looking for areas where problems could be overlooked, Evans said.
“We need to actively investigate our actions to ensure we did everything quickly, appropriately,” he said.
With foster families, Evans said, “you kind of have to shoot for a hundred percent.”
– Jessica Van Berkel
This just goes to prove once again that CPS is a culpable as the foster care provider – and the sad part is this woman is out on a ten thousand dollar bond. Why???? When are we going to wake up and understand that CPS is unbridled, they do what they want to with no consequences, They snatch children for profit and some of the those children die or get hurt – all because they think they know what is best. Was it best for this child to be harmed in a stranger’s home. I think not. CPS has become a terminal cancer- out of control and they have to be stopped. The children are being stolen and sold and murdered by the hands of CPS!!!!! Under the guise of best interest of the child. Was it in this child’s best interest? You be the judge
GRAND RAPIDS — When Bethany Christian Services interviewed Joy Heaven about her desire to become a foster parent, the licensing specialist wrote to the Michigan Department of Human Services recommending Heaven be allowed to care for three children as young as 5, with a spectrum of special needs.
“Her patient, loving and compassionate personality will be a tremendous asset in her caring for children,” the worker states in a foster home evaluation dated March 3.
Wednesday’s hearing in Kent County District Court presented a much different Heaven, — a foster mother accused of inflicting fatal brain injuries to a foster child. Authorities say Heaven, 30, was frustrated with 5-year-old Emily Meno’s behavior in mid-July and violently shoved the little girl, causing the injury.
During the hearing, forensic pathologist Dr. Stephen Cohle reported Emily’s injury was consistent with someone hitting their head on a hard object with significant force.
He said his investigation indicated that this was no accident. It was homicide.
“I don’t think that with a typical shove … that there would be that type of injury,” Cohle said. “It would take an adult person using all the strength they could muster to lift a child off the floor.”
Before the probable cause hearing began, Assistant Kent County Prosecutor Helen Brinkman offered Heaven the opportunity to plead guilty to second-degree murder. If she agreed, the felony murder charge would be dismissed, giving her the possibility of parole at some future date.
But Heaven’s attorney, Matthew Smith, said his client would not take the deal.
This was good news to Lori Meno, Emily’s biological mother, who attended the hearing, weeping throughout.
“I want her to pay,” said Meno after the hearing. “She needs be locked up without parole.”
On July 15, Heaven sought treatment for Emily, who was comatose. She told medical personnel that the little girl — one of a set of twins Heaven was caring for in her Gaines Township home — seemed to suffer an epileptic seizure.
But when the girl died at Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital, an autopsy showed a brain injury, and Heaven then admitted she abused Emily out of frustration for wetting her pants and “being in the way,” detectives said in a statement made in court.
Kent County Sheriff’s Detective Randy Kieft described how Heaven admitted harming the child in her home at 6212 Fordwick Drive SE in the Southland Village mobile home complex.
Kieft said Heaven told police during a 90-minute interview that she was holding Emily’s twin sister in her arms, getting her ready for bed, when she tried to get into the kitchen and Emily refused to move from a doorway.
Kieft said he asked Heaven to demonstrate and she pushed him fairly hard. He then asked her if she had pushed the child harder than she had pushed the detective.
“She said ‘Oh yeah,’” Kieft said, adding that Emily was briefly unconscious after the injury.
Heaven managed to get Emily to wake up and then sent her to bed, but the girl woke up two hours later and vomited. She then fell to the ground, unresponsive, police said.
Heaven allegedly told detectives she tried to revive Emily and called 911 when Emily would not wake up.
The hearing was interrupted so Judge Steven Servaas could listen to the 90-minute interview between detectives and Heaven. The hearing is to conclude on Sept. 15.
Emily and her sister, Tiffany, were placed in foster care in February amid Child Protective Services’ allegations that their mother, Meno, of Cedar Springs, could not properly care for the girls, who were described as mentally impaired. Meno also was described as impaired by CPS staff, who wrote that “chronic neglect exists which threaten the welfare of the children.”
Emily and her twin were the first children Heaven had cared for as a foster parent.
According to the report, Heaven first contacted state authorities about becoming a foster care provider in July 2009. There were phone calls and home visits made over the next several months, a criminal background check was completed and referrals were contacted, who all gave glowing reports of Heaven’s personality and family life.
“Joy has reviewed this agency’s discipline policy as it relates to foster children,” the report states. “She expressed her willingness to abide by the terms of this policy and agrees to no corporal punishment.”
The report says Heaven claims she wanted to do foster care since she was little girl and was waiting for the right time.
“Joy hopes to gain a sense of purpose in life and know that she was able to make a difference in a young child’s life,” the report states.
Heaven remains free on a $10,000 bond.