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Stepdaughter details years of abuse by murder suspect

Posted May 19, 2008

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— A Johnston County woman accused of killing her 4-year-old adopted son habitually beat all of the children in the house, her former stepdaughter testified Monday.

Lynn Paddock is charged with the Feb. 26, 2006, death of her 4-year-old adopted son, Sean. Investigators said Sean suffocated after she wrapped him tightly in a blanket to keep him from wandering around the house at night.

Paddock's attorney insists the death was accidental, not punishment or discipline.

She also has been accused of beating Sean's two siblings, who also had been adopted by the Paddocks, with PVC pipe.

As part of several pre-trial motions presented Monday, a judge was trying to determine whether prosecutors could use evidence of other abuse to establish Lynn Paddock's character.

Also Monday, Johnny Paddock, Sean's adoptive father, said he was prepared to testify against his ex-wife. He divorced Lynn Paddock a year ago while she was in jail awaiting trial.

Jessy Paddock, 20, Johnny Paddock's daughter from a previous marriage, testified that she had "a certain amount of fear of doing anything wrong" because of possible retribution from her stepmother.

Johnny Paddock married Lynn Paddock when Jessy was about 2. She was an only child until she was 9, when the couple began adopting other children. Eventually, six other children were adopted into the family, including Sean and his two siblings, who were placed with the family by foster care officials.

Lynn Paddock would swear at the children and beat then with her fists, a ping-pong paddle, wooden spoons, tree branches and PVC pipe, Jessy Paddock said.

“It was well known that the longer you cried, the harder she would hit,” she said. “You made the least amount of noise as possible.”

She said she told her father of the abuse only once because Lynn Paddock threatened her with more beatings.

The family moved from Raleigh to a farm near Smithfield in 2001, and the abuse escalated with the isolation, Jessy Paddock said.  She said one of the children was forced to eat vomit, and Lynn Paddock shoved feces in the mouth of another child.

Lynn Paddock further isolated the children by homeschooling them and taking the family to a Sanford church that discouraged television and other outside influences, Jessy Paddock said. After a while, the schooling consisted only of reading the Bible and copying scripture passages, she said.

Johnny Paddock, who wasn't charged in Sean's death, said he believes Lynn Paddock should pay for the boy's death. He said the two-year wait for the case to go to trial has been an emotional roller-coaster, and he said the family wants to get the case over with and move on with their lives.

Lynn Paddock's attorney has filed a motion to suppress Johnny Paddock's testimony, citing spousal privilege. But prosecutors said the law preventing one spouse from testifying against another doesn't apply in a murder case.


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  • beachboater May 21, 2008

    Paraphrased: forced other children to eat vomit and forced feces into their mouths ...............

    What kind of background checks did they do on this woman????? She deserves severe jail time without the murder charge.

  • askinner May 21, 2008

    How does a father live in a house this many years and not know anything was going on???? I just can't believe that....

  • sqstroublemaker May 20, 2008

    I have read many posts asking if money was the motive behind many of these adoptions. WRAL states in their update for today that just for Sean, his brother, and his sister the paddocks were receiving $2,200 per month. Maybe people should be asking why these funds were not given to the birth aunt and uncle who were trying to get their finances back in order after their resources were taxed to the limits trying to keep the children in their home.

    I bet the aunt and uncle would have been able to keep the children with a fraction of the $2,200 per month and the children would have remained with biological family, as well as Sean would still be alive today.

    hmmmmm, makes you wonder where these and other children REALLY rank with CPS, DSS, and the courts for their best interest.

  • WRALblows May 20, 2008

    Apparently WRAL doesn't want anyone to point a finger at the Department of social services in this case. All comments mentioning them seem to get blocked.

  • Dr. Dataclerk May 20, 2008

    Don't kid yourself, the husband knew and should be charged also.

  • mbs May 20, 2008

    I have to wonder if money was the motive for adopting all these children. There is a stipend for hard-to-place children that is paid to adoptive parents. It isn't a large amount of money, but with several the money adds up.

    It is also hard to imagine that her husband was completely unaware of her abuse of the children.

  • Dr. Dataclerk May 20, 2008

    Some people are not good foster or adopted parents. Time will tell you that. But nevertheless, the father should be charged along with his wife. He lived there and knew exactly what was going on. Was he a part of the beating, etc.? Maybe. They both deserved life in prison. May the rest of the children be able to find peace and happiness in a good loving family setting. Pray for these children.

  • dogmama May 19, 2008

    What about the husband? There's no way he couldn't have known at least some of what was happening. He should be charged also. After his daughter told him that once what was going on, he should have taken his child that moment and left. Instead he allowed the stepmother to continue to mistreat his child. That to me is as bad as what she was doing. Why isn't he being held accountable to cooperating with the abuser?

  • I like everybody May 19, 2008

    I really really really dislike people like her. I believe she'll be punished harshly. At least i hope so.

  • Sabertooth May 19, 2008

    A prison term isn't likely for this woman since I have seen so many women in thius state get away with crimes that would put a man into prison for life.

    Ah well, perhaps an ankle bracelet and a prayer for judgement or whatever it is called, will do that is, until the next time. And of course I say this with bitter sarcasm.