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Boy's aunt: 'I hope his death is not in vain'

Posted June 12, 2008

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— The biological family of a 4-year-old boy who was killed by his adoptive mother said they hope some good comes from the woman's murder conviction Thursday.

Jurors deliberated about 2½ hours before finding Lynn Paddock guilty of first-degree murder and felony child abuse in the Feb. 26, 2006, death of Sean Paddock.

Authorities said Sean was bound so tightly in blankets that he suffocated. Defense attorneys had maintained the boy's death was accidental and that Paddock's actions were a form of discipline, not abuse.

Paddock, 47, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole on the murder conviction and an additional 73 to 97 months in prison on the felony child abuse conviction.

The verdicts came after weeks of emotional testimony in which the six surviving Paddock children told jurors how Paddock beat them almost daily with flexible plastic rods, wooden spoons and other objects. She also forced them to exercise or sit facing a wall for hours, controlled what they ate and when they went to the bathroom and denied them contact with other children and adults.

"I've shed a lot of tears in the last three weeks," said Dawn Sewell, Sean's biological aunt. "A lot of people say justice was served. I don't know that there ever will be any justice."

Sean and his older brother and sister were placed with Lynn Paddock and her then-husband, Johnny Paddock, in 2005 after their parents and grandparents in Wake County could no longer care for them.

The Paddock children said the abuse intensified after the three youngsters came to live in the family's farmhouse near Smithfield. The blanket-wrapping technique was used several times on Sean and other children to keep them in bed at night, the children testified.

Sewell said that, before the trial, she believed the boy's death was an accident. The testimony of the children changed her mind.

"You can't do what she did and say that it was an accident," she said.

Sewell still wonders how Johnny Paddock could have been in the house and not known about the abuse.

Johnny Paddock, who divorced his wife last year while she was in jail awaiting trial, hasn't been charged in the case and has maintained his innocence.

Assistant Johnston County District Attorney Paul Jackson said authorities never had enough evidence to charge him with a crime because the children said he wasn't around the house to witness the beatings and that they lied to cover it up because they were afraid of more punishment from Lynn Paddock.

The state Division of Social Services issued its findings into Sean's death Thursday afternoon after the verdicts were returned. In the 10-page report, members of a state child fatality review team said responsibilities need to be delineated more precisely when an adoption involves more than one county.

Sewell said she hopes Sean's death with send a message to social workers.

"The one thing I do hope is that his death is not in vain and that, if nothing else comes out of this, that the next time a child tells someone that they're being abused – whether it's their real family, their adoptive family, their foster family – that somebody will listen," she said.

"(I hope) social services will do a better job of investigating families and making sure that they're placing children with people that deserve them and will treat them the way children deserve to be treated."

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  • SpunkyGrits The One and Only Jun 13, 2008

    I still believe that the husband should be charged as well. He probably had no intention of divorcing her until this incident happened, and now he wants to act as though he knew nothing about what was going on? Give me a break. He is just as guilty as she is; there is no way that man lived in that house and didn't have a clue.

  • 3potato4 Jun 13, 2008

    You're correct about the process, Pebbles. However, the family DID know that the children we're in need of a safe place to live. The Aunt had them briefly but turned them over to SS because she couldn't afford to keep them and was looking for a solution (so the story says in the archives). Also, in the archives it says that the three children were initially removed from the parents home because the father was found to have molested the little girl. I'm curious as to the status of his punishment in regards to that crime. It also stated the mother was unable to care for them but didn't elaborate.

  • pebbles262004 Jun 13, 2008

    JUST TO LET PEOPLE KNOW THE SS DOES NOT KNOW WHO TO CONTACT..HOW COULD THEY...SO THATS WHY IF YOU CARE AS A FAMILY MEMBER YOU HAVE TO TAKE THE TIME TO GO TO THEM...THEY DON'T EVEN KNOW THAT YOU ARE THERE UNTIL YOU LET YOURSELF BE KNOWN , COME ON PEOPLE....YOU DON'T KNOW ME, IF YOU WORKED FOR SS HOW WOULD YOU KNOW ME IF I DID NOT COME FORWARD AND SAY LOOK I AM HERE ABOUT MY FAMILY MEMBER WHOS NAME IS SO AND SO , AND THEN THEY WOULD SAY PLEASE COME UNTIL MY OFFICE AND THEN THEY WOULD TAKE IT FROM THERE.

  • pebbles262004 Jun 13, 2008

    DR.DATACLERK YOU SEEM TO KNOW SO MUCH, WHERE WERE YOU

  • pebbles262004 Jun 13, 2008

    ANGORA2 YOU ARE VERY MISTAKEN OR MISLEAD ONE. I DON'T KNOW WHERE YOU GOT YOU INF. BUT I HAD A CHILD IN MY FAMILY THAT WAS TAKEN AND GUESS WHAT.......I WENT TO SS AN GOT HIM, KEPT HIM FOR 4 YRS. AND WATCH HIM GRAD. FROM HIGH SCHOOL THIS PAST MONDDAY NIGHT WITH TEARS IN MY EYES BECAUSE I NEW WHAT HE HAD BEING THROUGH AND WHERE HE IS AT NOW BECAUSE I CARED AS A AUNT, SO DON'T TELL ME THE FAMILY HAS NO SAY

  • nanny Jun 13, 2008

    Why are all these folks speaking out now?-where was his family when all this was going on-spare me the showcase of concern now and even with social services-their review attached-please-what happened to your review prior to and while all this was going on-I bet I can guess the Social Workers name that handled this one-it is disgusting and innocent life taken at the hands of an
    evil one-May God Bless all these children involved and may he have mercy on those that allowed this to happen-their families and social workers.

  • Dr. Dataclerk Jun 13, 2008

    This aunt has no business crying and praying now! Where was she when Sean needed her?

    First of all there may be a lot you my friend, do not know. Maybe for starters the Social Services did not contact this Aunt to keep the children. The Aunt has every reason to cry and pray if she so desires. Who are you tell her different? Where were you?

  • Dr. Dataclerk Jun 13, 2008

    "The one thing I do hope is that his death is not in vain and that, if nothing else comes out of this, that the next time a child tells someone that they're being abused – whether it's their real family, their adoptive family, their foster family – that somebody will listen," she said.
    Quote:"(I hope) social services will do a better job of investigating families and making sure that they're placing children with people that deserve them and will treat them the way children deserve to be treated." unQuote.

    I hope Social Services is listening and reading this.

  • jchelpus Jun 13, 2008

    I wonder why she didn't take the family in. . they are or they were her flesh and blood.

  • mbs Jun 13, 2008

    If you have followed this story from the beginning, you will remember that the relatives did take these children in and kept them until they were financially unable to provide for them any longer. They were not (don't know why) approved as foster parents, so were not able to get money to support them. Too bad the children could not stay with their biological relatives.

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