North Carolina authorities are investigating the death of a 10-year-old girl who hanged herself Monday night after repeatedly being bullied at school.
Samantha West said she found her daughter, Jasmine McClain, hanged in her bedroom Monday, November 14, 2011.
“I just lost it because she took her last breath in my arms,” West said Wednesday. “She was a loving child. I just don’t understand.”
Police Chief Steven Shaw said her death was obviously suicide. While investigating the case, he started checking posts on Facebook and other social media about Jasmine and her death.
“Children started coming forward and making accusations that she was bullied – and bullied bad – in school,” Shaw said.
Jasmine was picked on at Chadbourne Elementary School, West said, noting other children teased her about her clothes or her shoes. West said that Jasmine told her that the kids made fun of her shoes being la
st year’s model or that they were dirty. She left the school for a while and dreaded having to return about a month ago, her mother said.
Her Mother never knew how badly Jasmine had been tormented.
“Everyone that we have spoken to, there are little indicators – not huge indications – but small indications that she was not happy,” Shaw said.
State lawmakers passed two anti-bullying laws two years ago. One made online bullying of children a misdemeanor, while the other required school districts to adopt policies to prohibit bullying without specifying the punishment for violators.
Currently, no one has been charged criminally in Jasmine’s death.
Ashley Billasano, a distraught 18 year old high school student with at least 500 TWITTER followers took her life AFTER she sent a series of shocking messages. No one stopped her. No one called the authorities.
“I went to the bathroom and locked the door,” 18-year-old Ashley Billasano tweeted.
“I took apart a razor. I did what I had to do to forget. I swear after that night I was never the same.”
Billasano told her painful story through the popular social networking site, Twitter. Soon after, she had committed suicide.
In her 144 tweets over 6 hours, Billasano allegedly claimed that she had been molested by a family member and forced into prostitution. She also detailed her unsuccessful attempt at seeking justice.
“It is my understanding she made an outcry apparently a year ago in Williamson County up close to Austin about some allegations of sexual abuse,” Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Department Chief Craig Brady told FOX News. “My understanding, that was looked into the sheriff’s office there, the D.A’S office and a grand jury. There was no indictment issued.”
Close friend Ashly Escamilla told the Houston Chronicle that Billasano’s death was the high schooler’s last attempt to be heard.
“This wasn’t random. She planned this for a reason. She made a decision that this was what she was going to do to get attention if she was not going to get justice.”
Billasano’s mother, Tiffany Ruiz Leskinen, told the paper that being denied help from authorities was too much for her daughter to cope with.
“The detective told her that she had trouble believing her,” her mother told the Houston Chronicle. “Here is someone who has been abused and is forced to be silent for so long. Then the one person you go to looking for help says they might not believe you. The CPS caseworker was a rookie right out of college. She did not know anything and kept saying she had to check with her supervisor.”
According to the Austin-Statesman, Billasano’s Twitter account was taken down.
An important question, as ABC news noted, is why none of Billasano’s 500 followers called the police, or reached out to help her.
Some people on Facebook and Twitter are wondering why the media are focusing on the 500 Twitter followers who did not do anything. They feel that Texas Children’s Protective Services did not do their job.
The group administrator of a Facebook group, Stop Mental Child Abuse, posted this: “IT’S NOT ABOUT THE TWEETS, IT’s WHY DIDN’T TEXAS CPS DO SOMETHING? 18 years of reported abused and they did nothing! Media only reports on why didn’t twitter friends do something, but the real story is why didn’t CPS do something in 18 years?”
On her last day Ashley Billasano tweeted ‘Weeks passed, then I got the call. They said sorry but there isn’t enough evidence I hung up.’
‘That’s when I changed. I didn’t care anymore and the people I was meeting gave me no reason to.’
Police said they didn’t want a lot of detail about her death to be published to avoid encouraging copy cats, but said it might not be the first time the teen had tried to take her own life.
Authorities believe this was not the first time she had attempted suicide. She had learned the method on the Internet.
During the early morning hours of April 5, 1986, 18 year old Jeanne Ann Clery, was tortured, raped, sodomized and murdered in her dormitory room at Lehigh University. Her killer was a drug and alcohol abuser, a Lehigh student whom Jeanne had never met. He gained access to her room by proceeding, unopposed, through three propped-open doors, each of which should have been locked. He was convicted and sentenced to death.
Jeanne’s parents, Connie Clery and Howard Clery, discovered that students hadn’t been told about 38 violent crimes on the Lehigh campus in the three years before her murder. They joined with other campus crime victims and persuaded Congress to enact this law, which was originally known as the “Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act of 1990″.
Among other requirements, schools must make timely warnings to the campus community about crimes that pose an ongoing threat to students and employees. The Department of Education can fine schools that fail to comply.
Security On Campus, Inc., was founded by Jeanne’s parents as the first national, not-for-profit organization dedicated to the prevention of criminal violence at colleges and to assisting campus victims nationwide.
Categories: Sexual Abuse Laws Tags: campus security, clery act, colleges, connie clery, department of education, dormitory room, howard clery, jeanne ann clery, killer, lehigh university, murdered, raped, security on campus, sodomized, universities
The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, as a part of the Higher Education Act of 1965, is a federal law that requires colleges and universities to disclose certain timely and annual information about campus crime and security policies. All public and private institutions of post-secondary education participating in federal student-aid programs are subject to it. The act includes:
Publishing an annual report disclosing campus security policies and three years’ worth of selected crime statistics.
Making timely warnings to the campus community about crimes that pose an ongoing threat.
Keeping a public crime log.
Upholding basic rights to victims of sexual assault.
Making accurate crime statistics available to the U.S. Department of Education, which centrally collects and disseminates campus crime statistics at the national level.
Facing possible fines from the U.S. Department of Education when schools fail to comply with the Clery Act.
Campus crime, arrest and referral statistics include those reported to NMU Public Safety and Police Services, as well as designated campus officials including, but not limited to, directors, deans, department heads, designated student support staff, advisers to students and student organizations, athletic coaches and local law enforcement agencies.
The “Clery Act” is named in memory of 19-year-old Lehigh University freshman Jeanne Ann Clery, who was raped and murdered on April 5, 1986, while asleep in her residence hall room.
Her parents, Connie and Howard Clery, later discovered that students hadn’t been told about 38 violent crimes on the Lehigh campus in the three years before her murder. They joined with other campus crime victims and persuaded Congress to enact this law, which was originally known as the “Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act of 1990.” A 1998 amendment formally named the law in memory of Jeanne Clery.
Categories: Sexual Abuse Laws Tags: athletic coaches, campus security, clery act, colelges, crime statistics, deans, department heads, directors, freshman, higher education act, jeanne ann clery, jeanne clery disclosure of campus security policy and campus crime statistics act, lehigh university, murder, post-secondary education, rape, sexual assault, student-aid programs, universiities
The Pennsylvania Legislature is likely to pass a child sex abuse reporting law by the end of the year in reaction to the Penn State University scandal, Governor Tom Corbett said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, 67, was charged Nov. 5 with the sexual assault of eight boys from 1994 to 2009. Athletic director Tim Curley and vice president Gary Schultz have also been arrested on charges that they failed to notify authorities after being told about an incident of sexual abuse in 2002 and that they lied about it to a grand jury.
At that time, a graduate assistant reported seeing Sandusky raping a 10-year-old boy, the grand jury says. The assistant, Mike McQueary, testified that he reported the incident to head coach Joe Paterno, who notified Schultz and Curley.
University president Graham B. Spanier and Paterno were fired last week by the university’s board of trustees. The legendary coach has not been charged, but the state police commissioner had cited a lapse of “moral responsibility” for not doing more to stop Sandusky. Corbett said on Fox News Sunday that the Board members fired Paterno and school President Graham B. Spanier “because they lost confidence in their ability to lead.”
Over the last year, Kiss said the federal Department of Education has started to enforce the Clery Act more by reviewing complaints and auditing university crime statistics.
But compliance with the act varies among universities, Kiss said.
Penn State reported nine forcible sex offenses on its main campus in 2008, eight in 2009, and five in 2010, according to the Department of Education.
Categories: Child Abuse Laws Tags: child sex abuse, clery act, crime, department of education, football coach, fox news sunday, governor, governor tom corbett, graham spanier, grand jury, jerry sandusky, joe paterno, meet the press, mike mcqueary, nbc, penn state, pennsylvania, rape, reporting law, sexual assault, tim curly, university
O.J. Simpson’s Suicide Letter
[Letter discovered on June 17, 1994, shortly before Simpson's televised Bronco ride and arrest.]
To whom it may concern: First, everyone understand I have nothing to do with Nicole’s murder. I loved her, always have and always will. If we had a problem, it’s because I loved her so much.
Recently, we came to the understanding that for now we were not right for each other, at least for now. Despite our love we were different, and that’s why we mutually agreed to go our separate ways. It was tough splitting for a second time, but we both knew it was for the best.
Inside I had no doubt that in the future, we would be close as friends or more. Unlike what has been written in the press, Nicole and I had a great relationship for most of our lives together, Like all long-term relationships, we had a few downs and ups. I took the heat New Year’s 1989 because that’s what I was supposed to do. I did not plead no contest for any other reason but to protect our privacy and was advised it would end the press hype.
I don’t want to belabor knocking the press, but I can’t believe what is being said. Most of it is totally made up. I know you have a job to do, but as a last wish, please, please, please, leave my children in peace. Their lives will be tough enough.
I want to send my love and thanks to all my friends. I’m sorry I can’t name every one of you, especially A.C. man, thanks for being in my life. The support and friendship I received from so many: Wayne Hughes, Lewis Markes, Frank Olson, Mark Packer, Bender, Bobby Kardashian.
I wish we had spent more time together in recent years. My golfing buddies, Hoss, Alan Austin, Mike, Craig, Bender, Wyler, Sandy, Jay, Donnie, thanks for the fun. All my teammates over the years, Reggie, you were the soul of my pro career. Ahmad, I never stopped being proud of you. Marcus, You’ve got a great lady in Catherine, don’t mess it up. Bobby Chandler, thanks for always being there. Skip and Kathy, I love you guys, without you I never would have made it through this far. Marguerite, thanks for the early years. We had some fun. Paula, what can I say? You are special. I’m sorry we’re not going to have our chance. God brought you to me I now see. As I leave, you’ll be in my thoughts.
I think of my life and feel I’ve done most of the right things. What the outcome, people will look and point. I can’t take that. I can’t subject my children to that. This way they can move on and go on with their lives. Please, if I’ve done anything worthwhile in my life. Let my kids live in peace from you (press).
I’ve had a good life. I’m proud of how I lived. My mama taught me to do unto other. I treated people the way I wanted to be treated. I’ve always tried to be up and helpful so why is this happening? I’m sorry for the Goldman family. I know how much it hurts.
Nicole and I had a good life together. All this press talk about a rocky relationship was no more than what every long-term relationship experiences. All her friends will confirm that I have been totally loving and understanding of what she’s been going through. At times I have felt like a battered husband or boyfriend but I loved her, make that clear to everyone. And I would take whatever it took to make it work.
Don’t feel sorry for me. I’ve had a great life, great friends. Please think of the real O.J. and not this lost person.
Thanks for making my life special. I hope I helped yours.
Peace and love, O.J. [smiley face inside the O]
Excerpts from two 911 calls from Nicole Brown Simpson (Oct. 25, 1993):
NICOLE: Can you send someone to my house?
DISPATCHER: What’s the problem there?
NICOLE: My ex-husband has just broken into my house and he’s ranting and raving outside the front yard.
DISPATCHER: Has he been drinking or anything?
NICOLE: No. But he’s crazy.
DISPATCHER: And you said he hasn’t been drinking?
DISPATCHER: Did he hit you?
DISPATCHER: Do you have a restraining order against him?
DISPATCHER: What’s your name?
NICOLE: Nicole Simpson.
DISPATCHER: And your address?
NICOLE: 325 Gretna Green Way.
DISPATCHER: Okay, we’ll send the police out.
NICOLE: Nicole: Thank you.
DISPATCHER: Dispatcher: Uh-huh.
(The dispatcher issues a call for any patrol car to respond to the address at Gretna Green. Minutes later, Nicole Simpson called back.)
NICOLE: Could you get somebody over here now, to … Gretna Green. He’s back. Please?
DISPATCHER: What does he look like?
NICOLE: He’s O.J. Simpson. I think you know his record. Could you just send somebody over here?
DISPATCHER: What is he doing there?
NICOLE: He just drove up again. (She begins to cry) Could you just send somebody over?
DISPATCHER: Dispatcher: Wait a minute. What kind of car is he in?
NICOLE: He’s in a white Bronco, but first of all he broke the back door down to get in.
DISPATCHER: Wait a minute. What’s your name?
NICOLE: Nicole Simpson.
DISPATCHER: OK, is he the sportscaster or whatever?
NICOLE: Yeah. Thank you.
DISPATCHER: Wait a minute, we’re sending police. What is he doing? Is he threatening you?
NICOLE: He’s (expletive) going nuts. (sobs)
DISPATCHER: Has he threatened you in any way or is he just harassing you?
NICOLE: (Sighs) You’re going to hear him in a minute. He’s about to come in again.
DISPATCHER: OK, just stay on the line…
NICOLE: I don’t want to stay on the line. He’s going to beat the (expletive) out of me.
DISPATCHER: Wait a minute, just stay on the line so we can know what’s going on until the police get there, OK? OK, Nicole?
DISPATCHER: Just a moment. Does he have any weapons?
NICOLE: I don’t know. He went home and he came back. The kids are up there sleeping and I don’t want anything to happen.
DISPATCHER: OK, just a moment. Is he on drugs or anything?
DISPATCHER: Just stay on the line. Just in case he comes in I need to hear what’s going on, all right?
NICOLE: Can you hear him outside?
DISPATCHER: Is he yelling?
DISPATCHER: OK. Has he been drinking?
DISPATCHER: OK. (Speaking over radio to police units) … All units: additional on domestic violence, 325 South Gretna Green Way, the suspect has returned in a white Bronco. Monitor comments. Incident 48221.
DISPATCHER: OK, Nicole?
DISPATCHER: Is he outdoors?
NICOLE: He’s in the back yard.
DISPATCHER: He’s in the back yard?
NICOLE: Screaming at my roommate about me and at me.
DISPATCHER: OK. What is he saying?
NICOLE: Oh, something about some guy I know and hookers and Keith and I started this (expletive) before and …
NICOLE: And it’s all my fault and ‘Now what am I going to do, get the police in this’ and the whole thing. It’s all my fault, I started this before. (sigh) Brother. (inaudible)
DISPATCHER: OK, has he hit you today or…?
DISPATCHER: OK, you don’t need any paramedics or anything.
DISPATCHER: OK, you just want him to leave?
NICOLE: My door. He broke the whole back door in.
DISPATCHER : And then he left and he came back?
NICOLE: Then he came and he practically knocked my upstairs door down but he pounded it and he screamed and hollered and I tried to get him out of the bedroom because the kids are sleeping in there.
DISPATCHER: Um-hum. OK.
NICOLE: And then he wanted somebody’s phone number and I gave him my phone book or I put my phone book down to write down the phone number that he wanted and then he took my phone book with all my stuff in it.
DISPATCHER: OK. So basically you guys have just been arguing? (Simpson is yelling)
DISPATCHER: Is he inside right now.
DISPATCHER: OK, just a moment.
SIMPSON.: Do you understand me? (inaudible) Keith is a nothing. A skunk, and he still calls me. (inaudible)
DISPATCHER: Is he talking to you?
DISPATCHER: Are you locked in a room or something?
NICOLE: No. He can come right in. I’m not going where the kids are because the kids …
DISPATCHER: Do you think he’s going to hit you?
NICOLE: I don’t know.
DISPATCHER: Stay on the line. Don’t hang it up, OK?
DISPATCHER: What is he saying?
DISPATCHER: What is he saying?
NICOLE: What else?
SIMPSON : (inaudible)
(Sound of police radio traffic)
NICOLE: O.J. O.J. The kids are sleeping.
SIMPSON: (More yelling)
DISPATCHER: He’s still yelling at you?
(Nicole sobbing into telephone)
DISPATCHER: Just stay on the line, OK
DISPATCHER: Is he upset with something that you did?
NICOLE: (Sobs) A long time ago. It always comes back. (More yelling)
DISPATCHER: Is your roommate talking to him?
NICOLE: No, who can talk? Listen to him.
DISPATCHER: I know. Does he have any weapons with him right now?
NICOLE: No, uh-uh
DISPATCHER: OK. Where is he standing?
NICOLE: In the back doorway, in the house.
SIMPSON: … I don’t give a (expletive) anymore…. That wife of his, she took so much for this (expletive) (inaudible)
NICOLE: Would you just please, O.J., O.J., O.J., O.J., could you please (inaudible) Please leave.
SIMPSON: I’m leaving with my two (expletive) fists is when I’m leaving. You ain’t got to worry about me any more.
NICOLE:: Please leave. O.J. Please, the kids, the kids (inaudible) please.
DISPATCHER: Is he leaving?
DISPATCHER: Does he know you’re on the phone with police?
DISPATCHER: OK. Where are the kids at right now?
NICOLE: Up in my room.
DISPATCHER: Can they hear him yelling?
NICOLE: I don’t know. The room’s the only one that’s quiet.
DISPATCHER: Is there someone up there with the kids?
(Yelling continues in the background.)
DISPATCHER: What is he saying now? Nicole? You still on the line?
DISPATCHER: You think he’s still going to hit you?
NICOLE: I don’t know. He’s going to leave. He just said that. He just said he ain’t leaving.
SIMPSON: You’re not leaving when I’m gone. Hey! I have to read this (expletive) all week in the National Enquirer. Her words exactly. What, who got that, who? (inaudible)
DISPATCHER: Are you the only one in there with him?
NICOLE: Right now, yeah.
DISPATCHER: And he’s talking to you?
NICOLE: Yeah, and he’s also talking to my, the guy who lives out back is just standing there. He just came home.
DISPATCHER: Is he arguing with him, too?
NICOLE: No. Absolutely not.
DISPATCHER: Oh, OK.
NICOLE: Nobody’s arguing.
DISPATCHER: Yeah. Has this happened before or no?
NICOLE: Many times.
DISPATCHER: OK. The police should be on the way it just seems like a long time because it’s kind of busy in that division right now.
Dispatcher to police: Regarding Gretna Green Way, the suspect is still there and yelling very loudly.
DISPATCHER: Is he still arguing? (Knock at the door.)
DISPATCHER: Was someone knocking on your door?
NICOLE: It was him.
DISPATCHER: He was knocking on your door?
NICOLE: There’s a locked bedroom and he’s wondering why.
DISPATCHER: Oh. He’s knocking on the locked door?
NICOLE: Yeah. You know what, O.J.? That window above you is also open. Could you just go, please? Can I get off the phone?
DISPATCHER: You want, you feel safe hanging up?
NICOLE: Well, you’re right
DISPATCHER: You want to wait til the police get there?
DISPATCHER: Is he still arguing with you?
DISPATCHER: He’s moved a little?
NICOLE: But I’m just ignoring him.
DISPATCHER: Okay. But he doesn’t know you’re…
NICOLE: It works best.
DISPATCHER: Okay. Are the kids are still asleep?
NICOLE: Yes. They’re like rocks.
DISPATCHER: What part of the house is he in right now?
DISPATCHER: And you’re upstairs?
NICOLE: No, I’m downstairs in the kitchen.
SIMPSON: (continues yelling)
DISPATCHER: Do you see the police, Nicole?
NICOLE: No, but I will go out there right now.
DISPATCHER: OK, you want to go out there?
NICOLE: I’m going to hang up.
Nicole Brown Simpson Letter to O.J. Simpson
Text of undated letter from Nicole Brown Simpson to O.J. Simpson introduced in Simpson’s civil trial.
O.J. — I think I have to put this all in a letter. Alot of years ago I used to do much better in a letter, I’m gonna try it again now.
I’d like you to keep this letter if we split, so that you’ll always know why we split. I’d also like you to keep it if we stay together, as a reminder.
Right now I am so angry! If I didn’t know that the courts would take Sydney and Justin away from me if I did this I would (expletive) every guy including some that you know just to let you know how it feels.
I wish someone could explain all this to me. I see our marriage as a huge mistake and you don’t.
I knew what went on in our relationship before we got married. I knew after 6 years that all the things I thought were going on — were! All the things I gave in to — all the “I’m sorry for thinking that” “I’m sorry for not believing you” — “I’m sorry for not trusting you.”
I made up with you all the time & even took the blame many times for your cheating. I know this took place because we fought about it alot & even discussed it before we got married with my family and a minister.
OK before the marriage I lived with it & dealt with (illegible) mainly because you finally said that we weren’t married at the time.
I assumed that your recurring nasty attitude & mean streak was to cover up your cheating and a general disrespect for women and a lack of manners!
I remember a long time ago a girlfriend of yours wrote you a letter — she said well you aren’t married yet so let’s get together. Even she had the same idea of marriage as me. She believed that when you marry you wouldn’t be going out anymore — adultery is a very important thing to many people.
It’s one of the 1st 10 things I learned at Sunday school. You said it (illegible) some things you learn at school stick! And the 10 Commandments did!
I wanted to be a wonderful wife!
I believed you that it would finally be “you and me against the world” — that people would be envious or in awe of us because we stuck through it & finally became one a real couple.
I let my guard down — I thought it was finally gonna be you and me — you wanted a baby (so you said) and I wanted a baby — then with each pound you were terrible. You gave me dirty looks of disgust — said mean things to me at times about my appearance walked out on me and lied to me.
I remember one day my mom said “he actually thinks you can have a baby and not get fat.”
I gained 10 to 15 lbs more that I should have with Sydney. Well that’s by the book — Most women gain twice that. It’s not like it was that much — but you made me feel so ugly! I’ve battled 10 lbs up and down the scale since I was 15 — It was no more extra weight than was normal for me to be up — I believe my mom — you thought a baby weighs 7 lbs and the woman should gain 7 lbs. I’d like to finally tell you that that’s not the way it is — And had you read those books I got you on pregnancy you may have known that.
Talk about feeling alone ….
In between Sydney and Justin you say my clothes bothered you — that my shoes were on the floor that I bugged you — Wow that’s so terrible! Try I had a low self esteem because since we got married I felt like the paragraph above.
There was also that time before Justin and after few months Sydney, I felt really good about how I got back into shape and we made out. You beat the holy hell out of me & we lied at the X-ray lab and said I fell off a bike … Remember!??
Great for my self esteem.
There are a number of other instances that I could talk about that made my marriage so wonderful … like the televised Clipper game and going to (illegible) before the game & your 40th birthday party and the week leading up to it. But I don’t like talking about the past It depressed me.
Then came the pregnancy with Justin and oh how wonderful you treated me again — I remember swearing to God and myself that under no circumstances would I let you be in that delivery room.
I hated you so much.
And since Justin birth & the mad New Years Eve beat up.
I just don’t see how our stories compare — I was so bad because I wore sweats and left shoes around and didn’t keep a perfect house or comb my hair the way you liked it — or had dinner ready at the precise moment you walked through the door or that I just plain got on your nerves sometimes.
I just don’t see how that compares to infidelity, wife beating verbal abuse –
I just don’t think everybody goes through this –
And if I wanted to hurt you or had it in me to be anything like the person you are — I would have done so after the (illegible) incident. But I didn’t even do it then. I called the cops to save my life whether you believe it or not. But I didn’t pursue anything after that — I didn’t prosecute, I didn’t call the press and I didn’t make a big charade out of it. I waited for it to die down and asked for it to. But I’ve never loved you since or been the same.
It made me take a look at my life with you — my wonderful life with the superstar that wonderful man, O.J. Simpson the father of my kids — that husband of that terribly insecure (illegible) — the girl with no self esteem (illegible) of worth — she must be (illegible) those things to with a guy like that.
It certainly doesn’t take a strong person to be with a guy like that and certainly no one would be envious of that life.
I agree after we married things changed — we couldn’t have house full of people like I used to have over and barbeque for, because I had other responsibilities. I didn’t want to go to alot of events and I’d back down at the last minute on functions & trips I admit I’m sorry –
I just believe that a relationship is based on trust — and the last time I trusted you was at our wedding ceremony. It’s just so hard for me to trust you again. Even though you say you’re a different guy. That O.J. Simpson guy brought me alot of pain heartache — I tried so hard with him — I wanted so to be a good wife. But he never gave me a chance.
Note: O.J. Simpson testified he never received this letter.
The St. Louis Today newspaper wrote an article recently about two month old Kaden Danuser, one of four children to die in unlicensed child care centers in Jackson County in Missouri during an eight month period. Two deaths, including Kaden’s, occurred where caregivers were watching too many children without a license and allegedly had lied to parents about having one.
Kaden’s parents had dropped him and his older brother off to the home of Stella D’Anna (Maria Stella D’Anna) and within a few hours, their baby was dead. The Lee’s Summit child care provider was ran inside the home of Stella D’Anna and Nick D’Anna (Nicola D’Anna)
located at 912 SW Georgetown Rd., Lee’s Summit, Missouri in Jackson County.
Police said D’Anna at first insisted Kaden’s older brother was the only other child in her residence. But then another young child came into view. Downstairs, police reported finding two other children. Then D’Anna’s teenage daughter refused to allow police into another room, claiming it was her bedroom.
Police said that when they persuaded her to open the door, they found five more children, ages 2 to 4.
D’Anna not only was caring for too many children, prosecutors said, she tried to conceal them during a death investigation. Authorities later alleged that D’Anna had lied to Kaden’s parents about being licensed.
In January, D’Anna pleaded guilty of making false statements regarding a license. Prosecutors then went a step further. Using a vague Missouri child protection law, they took her to civil court. Arguing her “knowing violation places children at an increased risk of neglect, possible abuse or even death,” they asked a judge to immediately require D’Anna to “cease operating a child care facility.”
The law had not been applied to an unlicensed provider in a decade.
D’Anna, through an attorney, declined to be interviewed for the story with St. Louis Today.
“My client is very sad regarding this unfortunate death of a child, but she didn’t do anything wrong and was not at fault,” said attorney Michael McCausland, who is representing D’Anna in a wrongful death suit filed by Kaden’s parents, Joey and Danny Danuser. Citing the pending lawsuit, the Danusers also declined to comment.
In Missouri, state regulators have the legal right to shut down licensed child care facilities they consider to be dangerous to children or to put caregivers on probation. But when it comes to unlicensed day cares — even illegal ones — the law is not so clear.
Lawyers familiar with D’Anna’s case say the law does not adequately define whether unlicensed providers fall under the legal definition of a child care facility.
The law gives the court the right to keep a facility closed until it is in compliance with state laws. But with illegal providers, complying can be as simple as reducing the number of children in care.
Court orders based on this subsection are prime for appeal, the lawyers said.
In December, and again in February, a Jackson County judge ordered that D’Anna cease from operating a child care facility. But the judge used the narrow state definition of child care facility, one that allowed her to continue operating with four or fewer children.
The judge also opened the door for the state to have limited authority to monitor her for compliance of the enrollment limit.
St. Louis Today contacted another one of D’Anna’s attorneys, Lance LeFevre, said the court action never legally deterred her from caring for children.
“All it said all along was follow the law, comply with the law,” he said, adding that his client told the court in August she would no longer care for children.