Neighbors Respond To DSS Report On Johnston County Double Murder-Suicide
Posted April 16, 2002 5:37 a.m. EDT
JOHNSTON COUNTY, N.C. — Last July, deputies found Kent and Nissa Warren's three teenage children dead in what was ruled a double murder-suicide. The state blamed the Warrens' neighbors for not getting involved and said little about the agency whose job is to protect children. Many of those neighbors believe the report gave the local Department of Social Services a free pass.
Ricci Logan lived close to the Warren family. He said that he cannot believe the state Department of Social Services report that points to neighbors' failure to identify neglect in the home, that was full of garbage, animals, and animal waste and not the failure of anyone at DSS.
"I've seen cases that were far less than this that DSS was able to go in and remove kids for," he said.
Logan also questioned how independent a state DSS report on a county-level DSS agency could be.
"The state is writing a report on a county department. It's all government. I mean they are going to watch each other's back," he said.
State officials said it had a team write the review. The team consisted of seven people, five of whom have no direct connection to the DSS system at the state or county level.
State Rep. Edd Nye, who helps oversee the state Department of Social Services, said he is comfortable with the makeup of the review team.
"If other people are there and they're diligent about what they're doing, I think it's OK," he said.
State DSS officials still said the review team had no findings that the local department could have done anything differently, with the information and the constraints it was working with.
"Something more could have been done to prevent this and there's no way that they've proved otherwise to me," Logan said.
According to the report, social workers claimed they tried at least 11 times to talk with the Warrens, but they resisted using the legal rights they are entitled to.