Tag Archives: Neglect

NM Wants Tougher Child Abuse Laws

.jpg photo of Child Abuse graphic from New Mexico
Child Abuse Advocates believe tougher laws would be a better deterrent.

Advocates organize March Against
Child Abuse

ALBUQUERQUE, NM  –  A child that died on Tuesday had not even seen their first birthday.  The person who reported the death claimed the baby drowned, according to the Albuquerque Police Department.

They have not yet said how the baby died, but that the circumstances are suspicious.

The community is hurting — wanting to know exactly what happened or if someone is to blame.  That will all come out in the investigation, according to APD.

As police continue to investigate, the community is coming together to say enough is enough.

“Burying a child is the worst nightmare anyone can go through and then at the hands of a parent, boyfriend, girlfriend, whatever the case may be, it’s a nightmare,” said Veronica Rael-Garcia, an advocate whose daughter was killed in a road rage shooting.

Rael-Garcia knows that hole left behind after a child dies.  Her daughter, Lilly, was killed in a road rage shooting when she was just four.  It was a case that shook the community.

“The community is upset, they’re scared, they want answers,” said Crystal Gutierrez-Baca, an advocate with New Mexicans Against Child Abuse.  “So now more than ever we need the community to join us.”

Crystal Gutierrez-Baca is teaming up with Rael-Garcia to be the voice for those children.  The goal is that other people and leaders from around our state start making a change.

“There should be programs out there in the city and the state so that if somebody feels overwhelmed they’re able to reach out,” said Rael-Garcia.  “I wholeheartedly believe if we had tougher laws that may be something that does deter it.  Who knows?”

Gutierrez-Baca and Rael-Garcia said the conversation needs to start now.  In recognition of Child Abuse Awareness Month, they’re putting together the third annual March Against Child Abuse this Saturday.  It will be at the Bataan Memorial Park from noon to 3 p.m.

Domestic Violence Call Leads Officers To “Absolutely Disgusting Child Abuse Case”

Children found locked in dog cage, living
in deplorable conditions, Wise County
deputies say

RHOME, TX  –  A father and mother of four children are facing charges after deputies discovered a horrific scene of child abuse and neglect at a home Tuesday morning.

.jpg photo of mother of children found to be abused and neglected.
Paige Isabow Harkings, 24

According to Wise County deputies, they received a call at about 7:20 a.m. on a report of domestic violence at a house off County Road 4930 near Newark, about 30 miles north of Fort Worth.

Andrew Fabila and Paige Harkings face four charges of child endangerment, authorities said.

.jpg photo of father of one of the children found to be abused and neglected.
Andrew Joseph Fabila, 24

When deputies arrived at the home, they found cuts to the Fabila’s face and heard children inside a barn, according to Sheriff Lane Akin, with the Wise County Sheriff’s Department.

Four children were found inside the barn:  a 4-year-old girl and three boys, ages 5, 3 and 1, Akin said.

The oldest two children were locked in a dog kennel measuring about 3 feet by 3 feet by 3 feet, he said.  The other two were found mostly unclothed on the floor of the barn, covered in urine and feces, Akin said.

Akin said it was the worst child-abuse case he’d seen during his 44 years in law enforcement.

“I’ve not worked one where children are locked inside a dog kennel, and I find that absolutely disgusting,” he said.

Inside the barn, the space was “crudely fashioned” into rooms to create some sort of living quarters, Akin said.

“There was plenty of food inside the barn, but the refrigerator and the cabinets had been locked so the kids could not get in to get food,” the sheriff said.

The children were hungry and thirsty when deputies found them, so authorities gave them food and water before they were taken to Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth.  Akin said he saw no obvious injuries to the children before they were hospitalized.

The children were released from the hospital Tuesday evening and will be placed in foster care, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services said.

Deputies noticed feces scattered throughout the house.

Fabila was sent to the hospital with cuts.  Harkins also faces a family violence charge.

The couple had been staying with the paternal grandparents’ house.  Texas Child Protective Services confirmed that they had previous contact with the family, but would not elaborate.

Multiple agencies are investigating.

All States Should Upgrade To CO Abuse Hotline System

.jpg photo of child abuse graphicColorado Child Abuse, Neglect hotline
sees record number of calls in 2018

DENVER, CO  –  Concerned Coloradans called the state’s Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline almost 222,000 times in 2018, according to a new report from the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS).

December marked the end of the fourth year of the public awareness campaign, which is put on by the CDHS.

The 24/7 hotline — 1-844-CO-4-KIDS or 1-844-264-5437 — received a record of 221,969 calls in 2018, which is a 10,500 increase from 2017.

Thanks to the people who made the calls, social services agencies investigated the safety of more than 57,042 children in 2018.  Of those children, 13,289 were experiencing abuse or neglect, according to CDHS.

In addition, 12,787 families received voluntary support from social services to help prevent abuse or neglect in the future.

Minna Castillo-Cohen, director of the Office of Children, Youth and Families at CDHS, said the growth in the number of calls is encouraging because it means more people understand their role in preventing abuse and neglect.

“Sadly, children in Colorado continue to experience abuse, and reporting can’t be the only way Colorado is working to help build communities that strengthen families and prevent child abuse,” she said.

Out-of-town placements for these children are sometimes necessary to protect them, but most children and teens who receive help through child welfare services are not removed from their homes.

Calls to the hotline are routed to the appropriate county, which are responsible for responding to the reports.  As of Monday, 38 counties rely entirely on the hotline to screen their calls, according to CDHS.

“The fact that more than half of Colorado’s counties now believe strongly enough in the Hotline County Connection Center to trust them to screen all of their child abuse, neglect and child sex trafficking inquiries and reports represents a wonderful vote of confidence in our system,” Castillo-Cohen said.  “Many of these counties are smaller in population and therefore have fewer staff members to cover large territories.  Using the County Connection Center’s call screening process, resources and personnel are freed up to be boots on the ground in these counties, connecting directly with and supporting families in crisis.”

To learn more, visit www.co4kids.org .  Call the hotline at 1-844-264-5437 if you suspect a case of child abuse or neglect.  If a child is in immediate danger, call 911.

Kids Threatened With A Machete

.jpg photo of woman accused of child abuse
Ordene Christie, 50

Collier County nurse alerts deputies to
Child Abuse, prevents decapitation

NAPLES, FL  –  A nurse at Palmetto Elementary in Collier County tipped off deputies to an awful child abuse case.

While there are more than 3,000 reports of child abuse cases each year, according to Children’s Advocacy Center, it still shocks residents when these crimes happen against children living in Southwest Florida.

Christina Breen said she can’t begin to imagine what kind of person. “As a mom it hits home the worst,” Breen said.  “It’s heartbreaking.”

Collier County deputies said Ordene Christie is the kind of person who would harm a child.  Christie, 50, is accused of beating three kids under her care with a belt, stick and machete after they attempted to obtain food from the kitchen.

She even threatened to “chop off their hands and head.”

Her arrest report said the children tried to procure the food because they are never full.  All three children, who are ages 7, 8 and 9, are underweight.  The youngest weighs 41 pounds.

“I can’t even think about that,” Monica Thonday said, a neighbor.  “I don’t know, I have no idea — that’s insane.

A nurse at Palmetto Elementary ultimately saved their lives.  She noticed the bruising and proceeded to report it to deputies.

“It is comforting knowing people are looking out for children,” Breen said, “and are watching out for these things.”

The district policy states employees are required to report student abuse or neglect if they suspect — just like the nurse did.  All staff members are required to train with the Department of Children and Family Services on identifying abuse.

“You don’t know what someone’s mindset is,” Thonday said.  “You don’t know what they’re going to do to your kids.  You can’t trust everybody.”

If you know of or suspect child abuse, call the Florida Abuse Hotline.  It can be reached at 1-800-96 ABUSE (800-962-2873).  The agency is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  Caller information is kept confidential.

Special Needs Child Locked In Basement Storage

.jpg photo of Child Abuse graphic
Special Needs Child locked In basement storage room.

Macy couple pleads not guilty to
Child Abuse

OMAHA, NE  –  A Macy, Nebraska, husband and wife have pleaded not guilty to locking a 10-year-old foster son in a basement storage room.

Krista Parker entered her plea Monday in U.S. District Court in Omaha to federal and state charges of kidnapping, child abuse/neglect and false imprisonment. Charles Parker pleaded not guilty to the same charges Thursday.

Trial dates have not been set.

According to court documents, authorities on Sept. 15 were called to the Parker home about a report of a boy locked in a storage room.

Officers found the boy locked in the dark, windowless room, amid trash, a few toys and human feces.  The room stunk of urine and feces, court documents said.

Krista Parker was found passed out upstairs, and a preliminary breath test showed her blood-alcohol content at 0.126 percent.

Parker confessed to locking the boy in the room a few hours earlier, court documents said, but denied confining the special-needs boy, who had been in her foster care for nine months, in the room previously.

Charles Parker told officers he was unaware that his wife had confined their son in the room that night, but he said that they occasionally locked the boy in the room for several hours and maybe for a night one time, court documents said.

The boy told a forensic interviewer that the storage room was his bedroom and that he slept on the floor because he did not have a bed.