Moore County DSS director resigns following toddler death investigation
Posted March 2
Carthage, N.C. — The director of the Moore County Department of Social Services, John Benton, resigned Thursday, after an internal investigation into the death of toddler Rylan Ott found the agency had failed the case.
The announcement came after a closed-door meeting of the DSS board, the county attorney and Benton.
The board released a 12-page investigative report, which described "significant failures and omissions" in the child's case. The DSS board has hired Laura Cockman as interim director.
Rylan Ott, who was three weeks shy of his second birthday, was found unresponsive in a pond off Pond Branch Road near Vass and was pronounced dead at FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital in Pinehurst.
Pamela Reed was the guardian ad Litem assigned to the toddler's case. She said the social worker handling the case stopped the visit to Bryant's home but failed to conduct a supervised visit with the child and his mother in Moore County. She said the system put in place to protect children failed.
"Never once observed with her children," Reed said. "Had they done that, they would have seen the same things that I saw. They would have seen the same things that the foster family saw. And that child should not have been returned when he was."