Law Enfo­rcement Groups Combat Child Abuse

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SAPD, BCSO, DA’s Office, FBI, and Dept of Homeland Security

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS – Children in communities in Bexar County and all over the world are being abused in many different ways.

From physical assault and sexual assault to child pornography, child exploitation and child trafficking, all are different and equally concerning types of abuse.

But local, state, and federal agencies are working together to keep children safe.

“Victims are left with permanent physical, emotional, and psychological damage,” said Department of Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent Harry Jimenez.

Jimenez said that to save children from these nightmares, the combined agencies formed Project Safe Childhood in 2006.

“We could pool our resources and identify and rescue as many children as possible, and to prosecute those responsible for the exploitation of children,” said Project Safe Childhood coordinator Tracy Thompson.

The San Antonio Police Department, the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office, the District Attorney’s Office, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security are all working on Project Safe Childhood.

“None of us are here looking for credit,” said Jim Wheat, with the District Attorney’s Office. “We’re looking to get the results.”

Bexar County Sheriff Susan Pamerleau said it’s working.
“Just last week, an individual was given a life,sentence for being a child predator,” she said.

But there’s still a long way to go.

“There are parts of this issue, especially with human trafficking of children that often is difficult to prosecute (and) difficult to prove because of the laws that are in place,” Pamerleau said.

She said she wants to call attention to the Texas Legislature, which is currently considering legislation that will provide better tools for agencies to prosecute these crimes.  

Black Widow Mother Blames Spider

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Taylor Fast

FESTUS, MO – A mother is in jail, and police are searching for her boyfriend after the beating death of a seventeen month old toddler in Festus. A three-year-old was also injured in the attack.

Police say they aren’t certain what happened yet, but they know one thing: the beating taken by seventeen month old Layla Fast is the worst case of child abuse officers here have ever seen.

“It’s anger. It’s sadness. It’s empathy,” Festus Police Chief Tim Lewis said. “ Anybody that’s a parent. What got me is when I first saw this child, she looked like one of my great nieces. Just a small innocent child maybe 25 pounds. Just a little one year old girl should not have experienced what this child experienced. Her last few seconds of life were a pure hell.”

The child’s mother, Taylor Fast is in jail. The 21-year-old is facing child endangerment charges for the moment, though police say that could change quickly depending on what they find out from the autopsy and her boyfriend.

The boyfriend, who officers would not name, is described as a person of interest, not a suspect. That status, police say, is also subject to change. They’ve been actively searching for the man for more than twenty-four hours.

“We want to know the truth,” Lewis said, “not some doctored story or some excuse story. We want to know the truth of what happened to this child because someone has to speak for the victim. She can’t speak for herself anymore.”

Relatives of the child came in and out of the Festus police department Monday afternoon, but they say there were few answers as to what had occurred.

Police say it began when the received a call Sunday morning from Taylor Fast. She told them her daughter had been bitten by a spider and was unconscious. When police arrived, they say they quickly knew the story was bogus.

“I’ve been a policeman for 32 years and this is the worst case of child abuse I have ever seen,” Lewis said. “Nothing even comes close to this. This child looked like a situation, say if a child was involved in a car accident. It was horrible.”

The little girl’s grandfather, a former firefighter, said that description was hard to hear. Speaking on behalf of the child’s biological father, David Dunn, Sr. said the entire family is stunned.

“We just want the truth of what really happened to our granddaughter. Would have never expected this from the mom or whatever. I don’t know what to say.”

He said his memories of Layla will be her beauty and her smile.

But he also has the girl’s big brother to think about. The three-year-old boy suffered a broken leg. Police say he broke into tears every time he tried to stand on it. Dunn says he was given the impression the boy is fortunate to have survived the attack that killed his sister.

If you to help the family with burial cost, a gofundme account has been established: Layla Fast “Evans” Funeral Cost.

Over 400 PinWheels Raise Awareness

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437 PinWheels raise awareness in Medina County

MEDINA, Ohio — The national symbol of child abuse awareness and prevention flutters in the breeze in front of a church near Medina’s Public Square.

The Community Pinwheel Walk to Prevent Child Abuse was hosted Saturday by the Children’s Center of Medina County. Nearly 150 residents helped plant 437 pinwheels in front of St. Francis Xavier church on E. Washington Street after a short walk from the square.

“Each of the 437 pinwheels represent one of the children abused or neglected in the county last year,” children’s center case manager Kim Brightbill said.

The nonprofit center opened in 2007 in a house on Highland Drive in Medina and assisted nearly 60 sexually abused children last year. Forensically trained case workers interview the children and provide investigators with a videotape of the sessions. And specially trained nurses perform physical examinations of the victims.

The center, funded by grants and donations that totaled $121,600 last year, also provides biological parents with a comfortable toy-filled home environment in which to visit with children who have been placed in foster homes, Brightbill said.

A child victim of abuse spoke before the walk that began about 10 a.m. Participants carried the pinwheels east on Ohio 18 to the church, planted them in the yard and walked back to the square to gather for refreshments.