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Could Sean Paddock's death have been prevented?

Posted June 4, 2008

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— If Lynn Paddock is convicted of killing her 4-year-old adopted son, a state lawmaker says the state social services system must see what went wrong in allowing Sean Paddock and his siblings to be placed in her home.

Rep. Leo Daughtry, R-Johnston, where Paddock is on trial,offered his view Wednesday as Paddock stands trial for Sean's death.

Her attorneys say the boy's death was accidental. Prosecutors say she wrapped Sean so tightly in blankets that he suffocated.

"We're going to look at this case and see if there is anything we can change to protect the public going forward," Daughtry said.

Long before Sean's death, the boy told social workers Paddock beat him during a pre-adoption visit.

Reports released after his death show social workers ultimately believed Paddock – that he was bruised in a fall from a bunk bed.

However, trial testimony from Paddock's five surviving children spoke of physical and emotional abuse almost on a daily basis and said that the children were kept from the outside world and that they were trained to lie to social workers.

"We were told to tell all social workers there was no spanking," Paddock's stepdaughter, Jessy Paddock, testified week. "The forms of punishment were 'restriction' or 'time out' – those were the terms we were to use."

Including Sean's case, there have been 206 children in the social services system that the state deemed worthy of review by its child fatality task force to see if there are policies that could have helped prevent their deaths.

A task force reviewed the Paddock case, but its findings remain private pending the outcome of the criminal trial.

Sean's biological family is suing Wake County Social Services, where the adoption took place, along with the state and an adoption agency.
Social workers from Wake and Johnston counties were involved in the case.

The state does have a new policy to better define how investigations will play out when they cross county lines.

The state won't say if that's because of the Paddock case, however.

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  • nandud Jun 5, 2008

    "Including Sean's case, there have been 206 children in the social services system that the state deemed worthy of review by its child fatality task force to see if there are policies that could have helped prevent their deaths."

    Where, in North Carolina alone? This is unacceptable! There shouldn't even be TWO deaths that the child fatality task force has had to review, much less 206. Outrageous.

  • FragmentFour Jun 5, 2008

    "Where was his biological family to begin with? Why do they care now? They gave up their rights, and now they're trying to cash in on it? "

    Uhhhhhhh..... no. The family - grandparents, aunts and uncles - have been raising sand about this since DSS first removed the children and gave the existing relatives no option of taking them. They filed complaints witn DSS as to how the children were being treated long before the child died. From the accounts given to the news media two years ago, DSS discounted the relatives' stories completely.

    I don't think the DSS needs a review. It think it needs a removal and complete restart. It stinks from one end to the other, all the way through.

  • tank1234 Jun 5, 2008

    THIS WOMAM SHOULD HAVE NEVER HAD THE KIDS. NOW ONE IS DEAD
    BECAUSE SOICAL SERIVES DID NOT DO THERE JOB. I THINK THE CASE
    WORKER NEED TO BE CHARGED. ALSO PUT THIS WOMAN AWAY FOR LIFE.

  • entryrejected Jun 5, 2008

    you know, my daughter gets up in the middle of the night and walks around the 2nd floor, just about on a nightly bases. but I get up and put her back to bed or she just hops in bed with my hubby and i. I would NEVER "wrap" my child up. what if they got sick in the middle of the night or used the bathroom, #2, gross. i would rather keep getting up all night than to clean that up. this story makes me sick ever time i read it. that woman needs to be treated the same way she did those kids.

  • Reason Jun 5, 2008

    "Those other children were older. Reguardless of fear , they should have told someone"

    You obviosuly haven't sat in on this trial and listened to the testimony of these children. You could not fathom the amount of abuse, both physically and psychologically, that these children endured. It radiates from them as they speak about it. Don't sit here and cast judgment or blame on these children.

  • givemeabreak Jun 5, 2008

    I think the boys family was his grandparents. No they should not cash in on this tragedy. BUT the social system should be completely looked at disassembled and put back together again. NOW! NOT after the trial but starting now.

  • IHave1-2 Jun 5, 2008

    It's so sad to know of deaths, especially for adopted children who were entrusted to people who were to give them a second chance in life. Even in the 1960s, follow up visits post-adoption didn't occur. I was adopted; placed in a home at 11-months. Only one follow up visit occurred a short time after placement. It took 2.5 years to finalize the deal. Anything could have happened. Thankfully I didn't have to worry about being murdered due to my family's religious teachings.

    Nowadays, with open adoptions, the biological parents have a say in how their offsprings are placed; some are lucky enough to choose the adoptive family. It is a great way to ensure trust in how the child will be raised... or is it? I don't know how stringent the criterion is for adoptive parents, but hopefully a psychological evaluation will be included - one that is unbiased and is evaluated by a competent doctor of psychology (abnormal or otherwise). My heart aches for these surviving children.

  • tldlopez2007 Jun 5, 2008

    I think that this could have been prevented. Those other children were older. Reguardless of fear , they should have told someone. The father, please, this woman could not have been so good at hiding this that her husband had no clue. That is just weird. I mean the father had no idea she was wrapping this child at night? Come on. Where was he? I think there is more to this than meets the eye! Also the social workers. I guess they weren't doing their job either. The question is was the death preventable? YES IT WAS!

  • killing_me_softly Jun 4, 2008

    WHY WAIT TO SEE IF SHE IS GUILTY TO SEE IF SOMETHING COULD HAVE BEEN DONE TO PREVENT THIS? A CHILD IS DEAD. THAT ALONE SHOULD BE ENOUGH FOR THEM TO SEE IF ANYTHING COULD HAVE BEEN DONE. IT IS SCARY TO SEE THE MENTALITY OF THOSE "IN CHARGE". WHOEVER MADE THAT STATEMENT SHOULD BE FOUND GUILTY AS WELL.

  • killing_me_softly Jun 4, 2008

    WHY WAIT TO SEE IF SHE IS CONVICTED TO SEE IF SOMETHING COULD HAVE BEEN DONE? A CHILD IS DEAD. THAT ALONE IS ENOUGH REASON TO SEE IF SOMETHING COULD HAVE BEEN DONE. I AM AMAZED AT THE MENTALLY OF SO MANY THAT ARE "IN CHARGE".

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