Report: Mother of drowned girl allowed father to stay with children
Posted October 2, 2015
Raleigh, N.C. — A Raleigh man charged with trying to drown his children last month had been living with them for months despite recommendations by Wake County Human Services that he have no contact with them, according to a report released Friday.
Calista Lassiter, 3, died on Sept. 23, three days after she and her 5-year-old sister were thrown into a pond at the Audubon Lake apartment complex in Durham. The girls' 7-year-old brother escaped and ran for help, police said.
An off-duty Durham County deputy who lived nearby pulled the two girls from the water, and the 5-year-old survived.
Alan Tysheen Eugene Lassiter, 29, is charged with murder and two counts of attempted murder in the case. He is being held without bond in Central Prison, following a suicide attempt at the Durham County jail.
Wake County Human Services is conducting an internal investigation into the crime, and the agency released a summary of its interaction with the Lassiter family, as allowed under state law because Lassiter is charged in his daughter's death.
The agency received an initial report of child neglect on Feb. 8, which alleged that Lassiter was having suicidal and homicidal thoughts, including harming his children. The following day, Ashley Ivey Lassiter told counselors that she was aware of the allegations and that her husband also admitted to having inappropriate sexual thoughts about children.
Ashley Lassiter told counselors that there had been domestic violence incidents in the past and agreed to seek a protective order, the report states, and Wake County Human Services demanded that a plan be put in place prohibiting any contact between Alan Lassiter and his three children.
Alan Lassiter was committed to UNC WakeBrook Recovery Center but was released on Feb. 16 and moved to Durham to stay with relatives. His family has said that he wanted to receive more mental health treatment at WakeBrook but was told to leave because he was uninsured. WakeBrook officials have said that the facility treats uninsured patients.
Upon his release, Alan Lassiter told counselors that he wouldn't have any contact with his children until Wake County Human Services allowed it, and the agency ordered him to continue seeking mental health treatment and to take anger management classes, the report states. Ashley Lassiter also was required to undergo counseling.
Wake County Human Services had routine contact with Alan and Ashley Lassiter from March until mid-September and reiterated that the father was to have no contact with the children. Although he was receiving mental health treatment, counselors said it wasn't consistent enough, and the report states that he told them that he didn't think the treatment could ensure the children's safety if he were around.
Ashley Lassiter failed to obtain a domestic violence protective order. According to the report, she told counselors that her husband no longer posed a threat because he was living in Durham.
At a Sept. 18 meeting, Alan Lassiter requested to see the children, and counselors explored options for supervised visits, but they made it clear such visits would occur only after he resumed mental health care and his doctors could verify that he no longer posed a threat to the children, the report states.
Ashley Lassiter told counselors on Sept. 18 that the children remained solely in her care and that she would keep them away from their father, according to the report.
Two days later, Alan Lassiter called 911 to report that his children were drowning. He told the dispatcher that he was having issues with pedophilia and had sought help from Child Protective Services, and the decision to remove his children from his care drove him to the drowning attempt.
Wake County Human Services said its investigation has determined that Alan Lassiter had been living with his wife and children since April and that Ashley Lassiter had allowed him to take the children to Durham.
The two surviving children are in Wake County custody.