Local News

Medical examiner describes boy's death

Posted June 4, 2008

— Lynn Paddock cried Wednesday as prosecutors showed the jury photos from her adopted son's autopsy and the state's chief medical examiner described the manner in which the 4-year-old boy died on Feb. 26, 2006.

"(Sean Paddock died from asphyxiation) as a result of interference with his breathing, as a result of his being do tightly encircled or contained within the blankets," Dr. John Butts testified.

Butts was among a day-care worker, social worker and a crime scene investigator to take the stand.

Paddock 47, is charged with first-degree murder in Sean's death. Investigators said he suffocated after she wrapped him tightly in a blanket to keep him from wandering around the house at night.

Ron Mazur, a crime scene investigator with the Johnston County Sheriff's Office, also showed the jury evidence he collected from the Paddock home and attic where Sean had slept the nights prior to his death.

Among the evidence were bed sheets and several small plastic bags containing pieces of duct tape.

Earlier this week, the defendant's stepdaughter, Jessy, testified that Paddock wrapped Sean's entire head in duct tape on more than one occasion to keep him quiet at night.

Latesha Sherrod, a teacher at a day care Sean went to briefly, also recalled to the jury a January 2005 conversation she had with the boy.

Sherrod said Sean had been having trouble sitting and appeared to be in pain. Upon examining him, she said, she found a large bruise on his buttocks.

"I asked him what was wrong," Sherrod said. "'Did you fall? Did you get hurt or anything? And he said his new mom had hit him with 'a long thing.'"

Dee Ethridge, a Johnston County social worker sent to the Paddock home to investigate that incident, said she interviewed the Paddocks' children, Lynn Paddock and Paddock's then-husband, Johnny Paddock.

Ethridge said they told her Sean had fallen off a bed.

"They denied he had been physically disciplined while he was at home," Ethridge said. "They denied any physical discipline."

After a second follow-up visit, Ethridge said, she closed the investigation with no adverse findings.

Wednesday marked the tenth day of testimony for the prosecution. Each of the Paddocks' children have testified, over the past week, that Lynn Paddock abused them almost daily for years.

They said they were beaten with a variety of objects, were forced to exercise or sit facing a wall for hours, were required to ask permission to use the bathroom and were denied contact with people outside the family.

Lynn Paddock's defense attorneys insist Sean's death was accidental, not punishment or discipline.


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  • teacher-mom Jun 4, 2008

    late. You cannot send them back.

    I have thought about this for years and all I can thin is maybe they need to put these teenagers and innocent babies in some kind of supervised environment. Let them work, go to school, and look after those children. Do not put hem in apartments where they drag in another man and have yet another child for welfare to pay for.

    Children are indeed a belssing and they must be properly cared for. They are not disposable items to be cast aside or pushed off on grandparents or other family members. Anythin is better than the likes of Lynn Paddock. I hate to hear the word mother mentioned in the same sentence as her name.

    It is not the state's place to look after children who are not wanted. Make the parents do it even if it inconveniences them.

  • teacher-mom Jun 4, 2008


    I see that the subsidizing of adopted children happens; I do not understand why. I thought that was why adoptive parents were so thoroughly screened. part of that screening is financial stability. Also, at one time there was a cut off age for adopting. Lynn Paddock was well above any age to look after such a young child.

    If they could not afford them, they should not have adopted them in the first place. People are going all over the world to adopt children. This makes no sense.

    I agree with your statement about the breakup of the family unit. I do not know what people think thaey can give a child if they have nothing to begin with.

    No teenagers should have children because they have no wAY OF SUPPORTING THEM. they know nothing; what can they teach them. If the teenager's parents do not step in and assume responsibility for this innocent child, there is almost no chance that the child will be safe.
    SWe need to review these policies. once a child is here it is too l

  • See Chart Jun 4, 2008

    What does "tree huggers" have to do with this murder?
    Read your Bible and respect all life including those
    that tree hug.

  • atozca Jun 4, 2008

    Years ago I watched a documentary on children in foster care in the US. The system has grown with each decade and is so overloaded that the children and their wellbeing get lost. It is a sad situation. I believe there is an obvious correlation between social acceptance of sex outside of marriage and children in foster care. As a society I believe we need to be more aware of the consequences of "everything" should be accepted. While all things may be permissible, not all things are good.

  • lilbit278 Jun 4, 2008

    another case where the state has failed

  • atozca Jun 4, 2008

    How do you adopt a child and then get subsidized for it? teacher-mom

    I don't know the details but apparently one does get compensated when adopting children thru the state. I know of a couple who adopted four children that were first foster care and they receive state money for the children until they are 18.

  • dh1964 Jun 4, 2008

    "She needs cruel and unusual punishment I agree, but as usual the tree huggers will put a stop to that if they can."

    Yes, the tree huggers and anyone else who thinks that our Constitution and/or the New Testament actually mean something. Grow up.

  • pinklady-1 Jun 4, 2008

    MyKidRox...i agree with you...this story is so heartbreaking, and when i read everything that this witch did to that poor defenseless child, i get teary-eyed, then i get mad!...i hope that sorry excuse of a social worker has nightmares about her role in this poor child's death!

  • teacher-mom Jun 4, 2008

    OK I do not understand why they would place these children with people who could not afford them in the first place. This is too stupid!

    How do you adopt a child and then get subsidized for it?

  • AMHall82 Jun 4, 2008

    iron fist - the children were not homeschooled until AFTER the family moved into the home near Smithfield. Shortly after the move is when the abuse became worse and the children were pulled out of public schools/daycare & "homeschooled." SOURCE: PRIOR REPORTS FROM WRAL