August 12, 2009 6:00 AM
Murdered 4-Year-Old Girl Had STD; Child Services Did Nothing
Emma Thompson, 4, died as a result of blunt abdominal trauma.
(Courtesy of Amanda Young Matthews)
NEW YORK (CBS) It sickens the conscience. Yet another child is dead at the hands of her caregivers. But this time many are pointing fingers at Texas Child Protective Services, who did nothing despite knowing the murdered girl was given genital herpes and living with a man investigated three other times for cases involving children, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Abigail Elizabeth Young, 33 and her boyfriend Lucas Ruric Coe, 27, were arrested Monday and charged with felony injury to a child in connection with the June 27 death of Abigail's 4-year-old daughter, Emma Thompson. But more evidence is coming to light that while they may be directly responsible for Emma's death, they are not solely responsible.
Investigators have uncovered records that Texas Child Protective Services had begun an investigation into Emma's care when she tested positive for genital herpes, but she was not removed from the home, according to the Houston Chronicle. The paper also notes that investigators discovered that Coe had been investigated three other times in the past for unrelated cases involving another girlfriend's children.
This is one more death of a defenseless child at the hands of the very people who were supposed to protect her that has authorities and family members asking how and why this was allowed to happen. And this time it's shining an unflattering light on the watchdogs.
In these photos taken by James Nielsen of the Houston Chronicle, Abigail Elizabeth Young, 33, and Lucas Ruric Coe, 27, leave a Houston courtroom.
Questions will be raised. Why Coe was allowed near children with the kind of history he had with Child Protective Services? And why wasn't Emma removed immediately from the home when evidence surfaced that she was being sexually abused – for what other possible reason could a 4-year-old have genital herpes?
Some will say that Child Protective Services can't remove every child, or that the system is overwhelmed and undermanned to handle the volume of cases. Questions will be asked about home much state funding, or lack thereof, contributed to the understaffing of a very important agency.
But one has to wonder if all this finger pointing, while justified and arguably necessary to affect change, is just a way for us to avoid asking the hardest and possibly the only question that will never be answered: how does a parent do this to their own flesh and blood?