Category Archives: Illicit Drugs

Ice In Child’s Sock Drawer – Part 2

.jpg photo of Child Abuse map graphic
Abilene ranks highest in Child Abuse/neglect rate

Abilene ranks highest in Child Abuse –
neglect rate

~ continued ~

Small population distorts rate

The Department of Family and Protective Services, the state agency tasked with protecting the health and safety of children and adults, divides the state into 11 geographic regions.  Child Protective Services is one of five programs under the DFPS umbrella.

The headquarters of Region 2 is in Abilene, with the region extending north to Wichita County, south to Brown County, west to Scurry County and east to Eastland County.  It has the smallest child population, through age 17, of all 11 regions — 131,651 in 2015.

The most populous region is Region 3, which includes Dallas-Fort Worth, with a child population of almost 2 million.  Its 2015 rate of child abuse and neglect was 9.4 cases per 1,000 children, or 18,571 confirmed victims.

The only years in the past eight that Region 2 has not had the highest rate were 2009 and 2010, according to DFPS statistics.  The region surpassed the other 10 regions in the state from 2007 to 2009 and again from 2011 to 2015.

From 2007 to 2015, the Abilene region had the highest reporting rate of any of the regions, according to DFPS statistics, even if it did not have the highest rate of child abuse and neglect.  The reporting rate represents the number of claims made that have not yet been investigated.

Chris Greeley, chief of Public Health Pediatrics at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston and pediatrics professor at Baylor College of Medicine, said there could be various reasons for Region 2’s high rate.

Because of its small child population, any increase in the number of child abuse or neglect cases in Region 2 would result in a bigger climb in the rate than in Region 3, for example, because it is about 10 times the size of Region 2, Greeley said.

“Any changes are much more apparent statistically,” said Greeley, who holds a master’s degree in clinical research.  “Part of it looks really disproportionate because the denominator is so small compared to all the other regions.”

The region next closest in size to Abilene’s is Region 9, whose headquarters is in Midland.  Region 9 includes 30 counties with a child population of 159,694 in 2015, yet its rate of child abuse and neglect for that year did not come close to Region 2’s — 11.2 confirmed cases per 1,000 children.  That is 1,789 children, almost 1,000 fewer victims than in the Abilene-Wichita Falls region.

Ice In Child’s Sock Drawer – Part 1

.jpg photo of Child Abuse map graphic
Abilene ranks highest in Child Abuse/neglect rate

Abilene ranks highest in Child Abuse
– neglect rate

Abilene, TX  –  A 5-year-old boy brought to the Abilene/Taylor County Child Advocacy Center said he was angry at the police.

Angry at the police for taking away his parents.

When asked why the police did that, the boy responded that the police found ice — methamphetamine — in his home.

The forensic interviewer asked the boy where they found the ice.

In his sock drawer, he said.

It’s a case Taylor County Judge Downing Bolls cannot forget.

As a board member of the Child Advocacy Center, where children who are victims of crime are interviewed, Bolls hears the occasional Child Protective Services case, but this one made him wonder: “How does a 5-year-old child in this community know about ice?”

How could a parent produce drugs and leave them in a child’s drawer?

“There are things that make you go ‘I wish I didn’t know that,'” Bolls said.

But there are many more cases like that 5-year-old boy’s in Taylor County and the surrounding Big Country.

In this area, there have been “too many cries,” Police Chief Stan Standridge said.

For the past five years the Abilene region has reported the highest rate of child abuse and neglect in Texas, doubling the state average most of those years.

Officials who respond to allegations of child abuse and neglect in Taylor County — one of 30 counties in the region — say the rate is a result of a high degree of people reporting possible abuse and close collaboration among agencies and community partners.

But the numbers are still stark in comparison.

In fiscal year 2015, the Abilene-Wichita Falls region had 21 confirmed cases of child abuse and neglect per 1,000 children, according to the most recent Department of Family and Protective Services statistics.  That amounts to 2,763 confirmed victims.

The next-highest rate came from the Tyler region, which had 14.7 confirmed cases per 1,000 children, nearly 50 percent lower than Abilene’s rate.

The state average rate for 2015 was 9.1 confirmed cases per 1,000 children.  That means 66,721 children were confirmed victims of abuse or neglect across Texas.

An expert on child abuse said the high rate could be caused by a number of factors — ranging from a statistical anomaly to heightened public awareness of the issue, from a heavier-handed approach to child abuse in the area to just more abuse.

Others claim the rate is a direct effect of the immense use of methamphetamine and other drugs among adults.

In all likelihood, there is no one reason or solution.

Designated Driver In Back Seat????

.jpg photo of woman passed out behind wheel on heroine
Alyssa Bazala, 25

Mom used heroin in car, passed out with baby in back seat

Pittsburgh, PA  –  A woman was charged after police said she used heroin at a McKeesport gas station with her baby in the back seat.

Police said they found Alyssa Bazala, 25, passed out behind the wheel at the Speedway gas station on East Fifth Avenue.

A police officer said a customer told him a car was running with the doors locked around 3 a.m. Thursday.  The officer spotted Bazala in the driver’s seat in a daze, with her 1-year-old child in the back seat.

Police said they started pounding on the windows to wake her up and, according to a criminal complaint, Bazala had “poor motor skills and seemed confused.”

Police said it took her a full minute to unlock the door, and when police opened the door, they saw she was holding on to a Crown Royal bag.  She told police there was “nothing good” in the bag.

When they opened it, they discovered several empty heroin stamp bags and a hypodermic needle.

Police also found 10 suspected stamp bags of heroin in her hoodie pocket and recovered five empty heroin stamp bags in the baby’s diaper bag.

The baby was taken to UPMC McKeesport and is now in the care of his grandmother.

Young Man Tricked On Social Media, Beat To Death

.jpg photo of man lured on social media to his death
Preston Talley, 35

4 arrested in murder investigation; accused
of using social media to lure victim

BROOKSVILLE, FL  –  Detectives made four arrests in a grizzly Hernando County murder.

A man walking in the woods Sunday spotted a car with a naked body lying near it and called authorities.  Deputies spent hours at the crime scene off State Road 50 in the eastern part of the county, processing the scene and gathering evidence.  Their investigation revealed the victim had been in contact with three men and a woman on the dating site Plenty of Fish.

The victim has been identified as 35-year old Preston Talley, of Gainesville.

Investigators believe Talley thought he was speaking with 25-year old Kayla Morrow, of Dade City.  In reality, he was communicating with 24-year old Joshual Gardner, who lived at the same address as Morrow.

“Her and Mr. Gardner and two other individuals were actually attempting to lure our victim into Hernando County … for what he thought was going to be either sexual acts and or consuming drugs, specifically methamphetamine,” Sheriff Al Nienhuis said.

Talley drove to the area and met with Morrow.  The two spoke briefly before he followed her to an isolated wooded area off of the highway.  There, the three other suspects were hiding and waiting.

“Our information is the minute he got out of the vehicle, one of the suspects began to hit him with a bat… (They) beat him viciously in the head to the point where he was deceased,” Nienhuis said.

Morrow, Gardner and the two other suspects, 19-year old Andrew Abbott and 24-year old Brandon Harrelson, allegedly took $20 and meth from the victim.  At some point, the four allegedly removed Talley’s clothes and disposed of some of their own clothing.  The sheriff believes they did so to destroy evidence.

Authorities say the suspects then left the state, heading for the Jackson, Mississippi area.  After making their way back into Florida, there were arrested in the Gainesville area.

One or more of the suspects told friends or relatives what happened, detectives said.  Authorities interviewed those acquaintances.

Morrow, Gardner, Abbott and Harrelson are charged with robbery and first-degree murder.  They will be transported from Alachua County to the Hernando County Jail.

Why Is Child Abuse So Hard To Get Over?

.jpg photo of Non-Profit Logo
Ark of Hope for Children

Ark of Hope for Children

Ark of Hope for Children is empowering advocates and donors to bring care and awareness to those victimized as children by human trafficking, child abuse and bullying.  Ark of Hope is a human rights umbrella organization using a trauma informed approach to serve survivors through our various programs.

This approach acknowledges that traumatized people often respond to daily life quite differently even years after their traumatic experiences ended.  If we can address their trauma, we can change lives.  Unconditional love, understanding and mentoring support can empower victims to mold the challenges of their past into hope filled futures as thriving survivors.

Statistics we have gathered about child trafficking, child abuse and bullying show that intervention is highly needed.  Click the links above to the latest statistics or click on our programs below that highlight our efforts to mobilize lighthouses of hope for survivors throughout the U.S. and beyond.

.jpg photo of Nonprofit rating
2015 TOP-RATED NONPROFIT
  • Average victims age is 11 to 14
  • Average life span of a victim is 3 to 7 years
  • This year alone 10,000,000 Children, 13 years of age and up will contract at least one(1) or more STI or STD in the United States.
  • There are at least 2,000,000 run-aways every year.
  • 1 out of every 6 run-aways will fall into Child Sex traffickers hands, and that translates to 16.667%, so out of 2,000,000 runaways 333,340 Children will be raped