CPS Feeling Backlash after Death of 10-Yr-Old

January 8, 2009 6:55:51 PM PST
The Fresno County Child Protective Services office was the target of threats, after the death of a 10 year old child.CPS employees showed up for work in Downtown Fresno and found their building splashed with rotting eggs.

They called in extra security but then there were angry emails and phone messages. Action News has learned about a letter signed by Seth Ireland and whose penmanship looks like that of a child. But the words are beyond a 10 year old.

He talks about injuries and tries to explain how he got them-- like being tripped at school, and falling in the shower. Chilling words from a little boy just two months before his brutal murder.

The note -- dated November 2, 2008, appears to be written by Seth. He talks about falling in the shower and getting hurt, having been in the hospital, but feeling better.

He also refers to his mother's boyfriend, Lebaron Vaughn as his daycare provider. And then there are telltale signs that Seth may have had some help writing the letter. He signed off saying 'I declare under penalty of perjury under the law of the U.S.A.'

Legal jargon most 10 year olds would know nothing about. CPS Director Cathi Huerta says she and her staff are devastated by Seth's death.

CPS Director Catherine Huerta said, "You know, its a failure when we lose a child, whether fault found or anything."

Wednesday morning, CPS workers arrived at the Downtown Fresno office to find the building egged. Inside there were several hateful emails and phone messages.

"You know, how can you let this happen what kind of a person are you? Look what happens when you didn't do your job," said Huerta.

Huerta says she understands the outrage.

"The public is upset, they have a right to be upset. I won't take that away from them," said Huerta.

Huerta believes there are countless parents who may be on the verge of a breakdown where they may hurt their children or possibly do something even worse. But she admits the resources are just not available in the Valley.

Right now -- law enforcement, teachers, or others who call CPS about a problem involving a child usually talk to a case worker.

But Huerta told me that in the future-- the case worker must call a supervisor-- and the supervisor will make the ultimate decision about what to do with the child.

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