Local News

Children hid abuse from social workers, adoptive father

Posted May 29, 2008

— The children of a Johnston County woman accused of killing her 4-year-old adopted son were so fearful of reprisals that they lied to social workers about the daily abuse they suffered, one of the children said Thursday.

Lynn Paddock, 47, is charged with murder in the Feb. 26, 2006, death of Sean Paddock. Investigators said Sean suffocated after she wrapped him tightly in a blanket to keep him from wandering around the house at night.

Defense attorneys insist the death was accidental, not punishment or discipline.

Three of the six children Lynn Paddock and her then-husband, Johnny Paddock, adopted between the mid-1990s and 2005, including Sean's biological brother and sister, testified Wednesday that Lynn Paddock beat them almost every day. She also made them jump on a trampoline or sit cross-legged facing a wall for hours, isolated them from other children and adults, wouldn't let them use the bathroom without permission and forced one to eat feces as a punishment, they said.

"We weren't allowed to talk to each other unless she was standing right there beside us," Ray Paddock, another adopted son, testified Thursday.

"What would happen if you didn't follow her rules?" a prosecutor asked.

"She would duct tape your mouth shut," he answered.

Ray Paddock, 17, said the abuse escalated as more children were adopted, and he and the other children were so terrified of Lynn Paddock that they regularly lied to social workers who visited the family's farmhouse near Smithfield, telling them that they were well-treated.

"I knew if I answered something wrong, I'd get in trouble," he said.

The children also hid the abuse from Johnny Paddock, fearing Lynn Paddock would beat them even more if he found out, Ray Paddock said.

"I was afraid one day she would fly off the handle and kill somebody during one of her beatings," he said.

On the day Sean died, he said, Lynn Paddock showed no emotion while everyone else in the family cried.

"(It was) just like a goat or a dog had died," he said.

Because they were afraid of Lynn Paddock, he said, the children didn't talk with authorities investigating Sean's death.

Paramedics who responded to a 911 call at the Paddock house the morning Sean died and Johnston County deputies who investigated the death have said the children were unusually quiet throughout the incident. They also said Lynn Paddock appeared angry at their asking her questions and asked if she needed a lawyer.


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  • Alicat May 30, 2008

    This story continues to break my heart. I am so sad for the children who suffered at her hand. It will be years and maybe forever for them to move on from this situation. How horrible for them and hopefully will be placed in loving and nurturing environments with lots of therapy to recover or at least learn to handle the nightmares they must have. How terribly sad.

  • NCMOMof3 May 30, 2008

    in most cases of abuse, the abused are afraid to talk. It's all in the mindset of the abused. Those that are not abused can not seem to comprehend why those that are abused just don't tell but it's not that easy and so many times when they do tell, the abused are somehow blamed. It's a very sad situation all the way around and hindsight is 20/20. It's easy to say what should have been done and what should should have been obvious, but sometimes it's hard to see the forrest for the trees.

  • Adelinthe May 30, 2008

    "Children hid abuse from social workers, adoptive father"

    Not unusual. The kids were afraid of more abuse if they spilled the beans. BUT...Social workers, were they not so overworked and underpaid, should have routed this out.

    Also don't believe the father didn't know anything at all. The children even testified that he was often in another room. How big is that dang house anyway? Not big! So how could he not know when she was making children jump on a trampoline for hours and hours?

    Praying for these children and praying this crazy woman never walks free streets again...ever!!!

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • pwilliamson53 May 29, 2008

    The more of this story comes to light the madder I get. How can the social workers not pick up on a childs attitude? How can her x-husband not realized something was going on with those children? Everything couldn't have appeared normal all the time everyday of the week. Were blinders put on her x that he couldn't see these cildren were being abused? Or was he being abused as well? Social workers are trained to notice and take charge of a situation not hide from the trueth. There's alot more to this story and God help the courts to bring it out and charge both her and her x husband. These children didn't deserve the treatment they endured. A child being forced to eat their own soil, what kind of woman is she? She's not mental, she just down righ abusive and mean. I pray the jurory/judge shows no mercey toward her when they find her guilty.

  • stephba May 29, 2008

    b4self, Thank you for doing something, even if it is just to try. And trust me, you may not be able to make a difference in the world but you may make a world of difference to one child. When we started this process and learned of some of the horrible things that were done to them, we cried for each child whose profile we read. This is not an exaggeration, we spent MANY nights in tears for children we will never meet. I talked to my social worker about how hard it was to read about this children and their history and that we felt so helpless because we couldnt save them all. And she said that crying for them is still a gift because some of them may never have even had that luxury of someone hurting for them. So believe me, it may be a drop in the bucket, but any child whose life you touch will be better for the experience. My email is stephba@earthlink.net if you ever need more information about helping out.

  • stephba May 29, 2008

    Eliza, I am sorry you felt judge by my question. Again, I said it was a question in general, not just to your specific situation. And you are right, I do not know the whole story, no one here does, including you, though you know more of one side than most of us here. But I do know that parental rights are not terminated overnight, nor are adoptions finalized overnight. Shoot, they even are required to post a notice in the paper to try to get a father to come forward before terminating his rights, even if the mother cant name him. There is also a mandatory 90day waiting period from the time a child is placed in your home until a petition to adopt can even be filed with the court. Again, I am sure you know a lot more about the story, but there may also be parts of the story of which you are not aware.Sometimes the only people who know the whole truth are (in the case of the paddocks) the child and the abuser and God.I am truly sad for your family for whatever reason this happened.

  • empowered activist May 29, 2008

    you kinda get the point on yestadays story

  • mugley43 May 29, 2008

    my wife and I did foster parenting for awhile, believe me there is no money in it, you get kids on very short notice, sometimes with nothing but the clothes on their backs. You need to go out and get them clothes, diapers if needed, being kids they need their own toys, stuff they can call theirs. Their is no money, you come out on the short end of the stick, money wise, but it was my experience that they did try to place them with relatives first, if they had the opportunity to do so.

    We got out of it because of the SS workers, they seemed to think they were doing us a favor, I could tell you some stories that would make your blood boil about some of the workers, and I am not trying to tar all of them with the same feather.

  • mrsvidivan2 May 29, 2008

    Stephba.... Amen!!! [Standing up clapping] You said it all.

  • elizadushkufan85 May 29, 2008

    Again and for the last time we weren't given the option to take the children