Local News

Wilson Mother Faces New Charges In Death Of Child

Posted May 26, 2006 11:00 a.m. EDT

— A Wilson County mother already charged with trying to kill one child has now been charged with murdering another.

Hadiah Barnes appeared before a judge for the first time Friday on charges she severely abused and killed her 1-month-old son, Kuvon, in April.

"It really does hurt," said Kuvon's aunt, Evelyn Richardson. "My brother, he cries everyday."

Kuvon's father's family is furious that Barnes had custody the child. She was already scheduled to be in court this summer facing attempted murder charges. A grand jury said Barnes tried to kill her other son in 2004.

When asked why Barnes was allowed to keep her infant, Richardson said, "That's something we don't understand. We really don't understand."

The Wilson County Department of Social Services released a written statement and history of its involvement in the case. The report says a social worker visited Barnes and her baby in the hospital when he was born. DSS determined it was necessary to develop a safety plan to protect the child.

According to its own report, the Wilson County Department of Social Services decided it was appropriate to leave the infant in Barnes' custody, despite her history, as long as a family member agreed to monitor the mother and child 24 hours a day.

Richardson said her brother tried to help with that responsibility, but Barnes refused to let him see her or the child.

When DSS determined the first safety plan wasn't working, they sent the mother and child to live with Barnes' parents. According to the report, social workers visited her parents' home several times and said the child appeared healthy and safe.

The alleged abuse that lead to Kuvon's death happened on the same day as the last DSS visit.

When asked if she felt the system failed her nephew, Richardson answered, "Yes, I do. I don't think it would have actually come to him dying if he had been with my brother."

The state Department of Social Services said it has not received a final report from Wilson County. Officials said that as with any child's death, the state would review the entire case to see if what lessons can be learned.

Hadiah Barnes is scheduled to be back in court on June 19.