Category Archives: Law Enforcement

Law Enforcement Seeing Rise In Reported Child Abuse

.jpg photo of Police Chief Avery Cook
It’s a problem that plagues every community, Child Abuse.

Bringing Awareness To Child Abuse

STARKVILLE, MS  –  It’s a problem that plagues every community, child abuse.

“A child is an innocent person and often times they really can’t be able to help themselves,” said West Point Police Chief Avery Cook.

Law enforcement said they’re seeing a rise in the number of reported child abuse cases.

Sally Kate Winters Family Services reports from 2016 to 2017, the organization saw a 73 percent increase in the number of child abuse interviews they conducted.

The abuse comes in different forms, and Sally Kate Winters is on the front-line in many of these investigations.

“Sally Kate Winters provides forensic interviews for child victims of abuse, so we do felony child abuse investigations and we interview kids who’ve been abused,” said Morgan Colley, Children’s Advocacy Center Advocate at Sally Kate Winters Family Services.

Now the organization is sharing its knowledge.

During a Child Abuse Investigation Training on Monday, law enforcement officers, child protective services, and first responders learned new techniques for spotting signs of mistreatment.

“We’re trying to help provide law enforcement with every tool that they need to investigate child abuse and child sexual crimes especially,” said Steven Woodruff, investigator for the district attorney’s office.  “We’re seeing an uptake in that in our community, and we don’t think that it’s just now starting to happen, we think that it’s just beginning to be reported more.”

“We’re doing two different presentations, one on corroborating evidence, so we have a child that discloses something and getting them to think about some of the minor details that a child might bring up in their testimony to make their story come alive,” said Jim Holler, who conducted Monday’s training session.  “This afternoon we’re doing one more investigative piece, especially physical abuse investigations and what the investigators can do to help the kids to help make their stories come alive.”

Holler is a former police chief with more than three decades of law enforcement experience.

He said the tools everyone learned during the training session are important and can help prosecutors be more effective.

“Just trying to put all the facts together and making sure that we’ve got the details, so we can bring a strong case to our prosecutors office, and hopefully that case will be strong enough to go proceed without a child having to testify,” said Holler.

Sally Kate Winters and the district attorney’s office co-sponsored the training session.

TX County See Substantial Increase In 2017 Confirmed Child Maltreatment

.jpg photo of Child Abuse graphic
Say NO To Child Abuse In Texas

Sharp rise in Child Abuse, Neglect cases in
Bexar County

SAN ANTONIO, TX  –  The number of cases of child abuse and neglect in 2017 has gone up almost 36 percent from 2014.

After more than 5,846 cases of child abuse and neglect in 2013, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services saw the numbers steadily drop down to 4,550 in 2016.  Last year, however, the number of cases exceeded the 2013 figure with 6,175 confirmed victims, a 35.71 percent jump from 2014 when the numbers began to fall.

“In 2017, we had the largest number of confirmed victims of child abuse and neglect,” said Anais Biera Miracle, spokeswoman for the Children’s Shelter of San Antonio.

Besides the growth in Bexar County’s population, Judge Peter Sakai, who hears many of the cases in Children’s Court, said:  “It’s drug addiction.  It’s mental health issues.  It’s domestic and family violence.”

Sakai said the Children’s Court has been dealing with the situation by “aggressively looking at the high rate of removals with more preventive measures.”  He said, for example, there’s the family preservation docket.

“We try to get custody orders for relatives and getting children out of the foster care system and back with family,” Sakai said.

But Sakai said the bottom line is more resources for prevention.

Miracle said the shelter is trying to develop more strategies to effectively reach parents grappling with substance abuse, mental illness and learned behavior from generation to generation.

Sakai said Bexar County offers numerous resources such as Family Violence Prevention Services and Family Services Association.  He also urges families to help their members to get the help they need, especially for the children’s sake.

“The more families we intervene, the more cycle of abuse and neglect we break,” Sakai said.

Below is information from the 2017 Texas Department of Family and Protective Services’ Databook:

Bexar County:

  • Confirmed victims of abuse and neglect: 6,175
  • Children waiting for adoption since August 31, 2017: 874
  • Children in adoption placements since August 31, 2017: 687
  • Children in foster/adoptive homes since August 31, 2017: 122
  • Consummated adoptions: 682

Removals of children: 2,367

  • 1,467 at Investigations
  • 900 at Family Preservation

Children in DFPS conservatorship: 5,437

Children placed in substitute care: 5,291

Kinship Caregiver Monetary Assistance: 1,157

Bexar County comparative data over the course of five years:

  • 2017 – 6,175 children
  • 2016 – 4,550 children
  • 2015 – 4,941 children
  • 2014 – 5,434 children
  • 2013 – 5,846 children

Single Moms Beware

.jpg photo of Child Abuse graphic
Who is babysitting your Children while you are at school or work?

Capital murder child abuse case highlights
who’s most vulnerable

SAN ANTONIO, TX  –  After sobering up at the hospital, the suspect police say was found intoxicated on a bed next to a four-year-old boy who had been beaten to death is now charged with capital murder.

Michael Arroyo, 32, is accused of murdering his girlfriend’s son, four-year-old Cash Briones.  The little boy had blunt force trauma to the head.

Arroyo is also charged with injuring his girlfriend’s two other children, ages one and three.

All three kids were left in his care February 16 at a Days Inn hotel on the city’s east side.

Arroyo is now being held on bonds worth more than a million dollars.

Child abuse cases rose sharply in Bexar County last year.  Counselors say single moms especially need to be aware of the dangers.

“The child is oftentimes left alone because the individual needs to work or needs to go to school or they’re trying to better themselves or just supply for their family,” says Randy McGibeny from ChildSafe.

He says that leaves room for someone who wants to do harm to gain a mother’s trust.

“If they’re capable of doing that, then oftentimes we’re going to open our doors to those individuals,” McGibeny says.

He says it’s incredibly common for a mother’s boyfriend to become the perpetrator.

“If there’s a situation where an individual that you’re dating or an individual that you’ve brought into your home is violent toward you – verbally or physically – know that the situation can progress,” McGibeny says.  “And oftentimes, if they’re violent toward you – they’re eventually going to be violent toward your children.”

Mother Knew Children Were Being Abused

.jpg photo of Child killed by abuse
Jaycieion Sanchez

Utah mother charged with Child Abuse after boyfriend allegedly kills her 1-year-old son

WEST VALLEY CITY, UT  –  The mother of a young boy who police say was killed by the woman’s 17-year-old boyfriend was charged Monday with abusing the child.

Utah Teen Charged After Toddler Death

Gena Nicole Sanchez, 22, is charged with two counts of child abuse, a second-degree felony, accusing her of seeing signs that her children were being abused but not doing anything about those signs, KSL reported.

Last week, Isaiah Weaver, 17, was charged as an adult with aggravated murder, a first-degree felony, in the death of 21-month-old Jaycieion Sanchez.

He is also charged with two counts of child abuse, a second-degree felony.

For about a month, police say Weaver, Sanchez and Sanchez’s three children were living with Sanchez’s mother in West Valley City.

On Jan. 16, police were called to the apartment on a report that Jaycieion was unconscious and unresponsive.

Police found the baby, who was cold to the touch, lying on his back on the bathroom floor with his eyes partially open and a large bruise on his cheek, according to charging documents.

He was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.

A doctor at the hospital determined “it was likely that (Jaycieion) had been deceased for some time before emergency personnel had arrived,” the charges say.

Medical personnel observed bruising and scars “all over” the boy’s body as well as severe head trauma, according to the charges.

At the apartment, police found “fresh blood droplets on the walls, ceiling, and many other pieces of furniture in the bedroom shared by Weaver and Sanchez.”

A 5-year-old sibling of Jaycieion told police that Weaver, who watched the younger children while Sanchez went to work, would discipline them by heating a clothing hanger with a lighter and then spanking them with it, according to court documents.

Weaver, who “admitted that he had a bad temper,” also said he was throwing Jaycieion in the air “because he wanted him to be quiet,” and the boy hit his head on the ceiling, the charges said.

In addition, a few times in the days before his death while he was throwing Jaycieion, the boy landed with his head hitting the floor, police say the teen told them.

Sanchez said she “noticed Weaver seems jealous” of her relationship with Jaycieion, the charges said.

She said she watched as Weaver allegedly spanked Jaycieion’s bare bottom and one time kicked her son in the back.

She also observed marks on her 2-year-old child’s chest and watched Weaver hit him in the mouth once, the charges state.

The mother told police she “had a weird feeling” about going to work on Jan. 16, but went anyway “because they needed the money.”

Babysitters Are Rats And Roaches

.jpg photo where Child was left alone overnight
A FedEx deliveryman discovered the lonely boy.

5-year-old Bronx boy’s parents left him home alone for a night in feces-stained apartment

New York  –  The flies and the neighbors were still buzzing Saturday after a 5-year-old boy was abandoned all night by his parents inside their vermin-riddled Bronx apartment.

Mom Charlotte Lewis, 49, and dad Wilfred Lewis, 59, were arrested for leaving the child home alone — except for the cockroaches, rats and flies.

“A couple of times they would leave the door open and I always told my boyfriend, ‘Oh, that house is kind of disgusting,’” said Deanna Strom, 27, one day after a FedEx deliveryman discovered the lonely boy.

The Kingsbridge Ave. apartment, in addition to the living critters, featured feces splattered across the walls when cops arrived on the scene Friday afternoon.

A stench of decay wafted from the apartment Saturday, when a squadron of flies remained visible through a hole left in the front door where the knob was missing.

“I couldn’t imagine that at all,” Strom said about the vile conditions inside the home.  “It was pretty disturbing.”

On top of the repugnant state of the residence, there was no food inside the refrigerator, authorities said.

The parents were arraigned in Bronx Criminal Court Saturday night on endangerment charges.

Prosecutors said three out of the four children recently had scabies and the little boy left alone had bugs on his body and in his coat.

“This is not a case of poverty, but severe child abuse and neglect,” said Assistant District Attorney Nick Lastella.

There was combination of live and dead rodents in the home and “significant blood smears in the apartment, particularly in the bathroom and on the toilet,” Lastella said.

The boy told police that he last saw his parents on Thursday night, cops said.

Authorities found his mother at Montefiore Medical Center where she works as a nurse.  Prosecutors said she is enrolled in a masters program at New York University.

The boy’s father is a technician for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

The couple has three other kids — a 12-year-old girl, a 13-year-old girl, and a 15-year-old boy — although none were at home when police arrived.

All four kids are at Montefiore for observation, prosecutors said. Bail for their parents was set at $15,000.