January 10, 2011

When Children’s Service Agencies Won’t Respond to Complaints



     It happened again. Another child, fifteen months old, dead, their parents in jail, accused of the infant’s murder.

     While Madison lay on a floor in a filthy home, dying, her mother was smoking crack cocaine and sleeping it off at a friend’s house…she said she didn’t plan on being gone long…Madison was been left with seven of her siblings, ages 3 to 16…the father told police he came home that evening, rigged up a replacement for Madison’s feeding tube, placed her on the living room floor, and went to bed.**

     It happened in Fayette County, in Southwestern Pennsylvania, where I lived for eight years.

  • State police at Uniontown charged Robert David Dodson, 55, and Tammy Jo Bohon, 35, of 601 Morgantown St., Point Marion, with criminal homicide and endangering the welfare of children in the death of Madison Violet Dodson…Trooper Scott Kroftcheck said the child was found dead at home. District Attorney Jack Heneks Jr. said he supported filing of charges based on preliminary autopsy findings and preliminary state police investigations… Heneks said preliminary findings indicate Madison died from a combination of dehydration and malnutrition, with secondary causes that he did not explain…Heneks said homicide charges can include intentional, knowingly reckless or an unintentional cause of death. “We believe their conduct led to the death of Madison,” Heneks said.*
  • Lead investigator Trooper Timothy Kirsch said police found the residence “unkempt, with clothing throughout and cats coming in and out of the kitchen cabinets. There were animal and human feces and dirty diapers in the residence. There were no trash cans, only trash bags. Some of them had burst open. One room was full of dirty clothes. The beds were only box springs and mattresses, no linens. The toilets and showers were unclean.”*

     Is this the lifestyle of residents of Fayette County? I wonder…

     Looking back, I remember a woman (I’ll call her Alice) with an eight year old daughter I’ll call Bonnie. The two often visited us—Alice sought counsel and education. She was ill, and often had to leave Bonnie in someone’s care while she was in the hospital. Most of the time, the Bonnie stayed with us.

     Alice and Bonnie lived in a small one-bedroom apartment. Her shower was filled with plastic bags of clothes and trash. Dirty dishes were strewn all over. Cat feces was never cleaned up. Cigarette butts were spread all over. I could continue, but I suspect you get the idea…

     Alice invited another woman to stay in the apartment with her and Bonnie, which meant Bonnie was displaced to the couch in the living room while their “guest” used the bedroom.

     Bonnie and Alice always smelled so bad I wanted to shove them into the shower before we visited. Their “perfume” was powerful—combined cigarette smoke and animal feces smelled so strong it covered (more…)

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