Two people are in jail and a little boy is dead. Sound familiar? It should as it continues being repeated over and over again in Missouri. The other familiar part is the role that the Division of Family Services seems to play. Kimberly Helmes, 21, and her boyfriend Kyle Cooper, 25 of Blue Springs are being held in the Jackson county jail on a $500,000 cash bond after firefighters found Helmes's 1-year old boy dead in their home on Friday. The home was also occupied by Cooper's parents.
The little boy identified as JB along with his brother were being abused by Cooper according to Helmes. Firefighters had responded to a 911 call in which the caller had stated the little boy was not breathing. When they arrived they found the 1-year old dead with injuries that included a broken arm, fractured skull and ribs, malnutrition and his tongue split in half. A thread was hanging from his tongue where the couple had tried to stitch it back together. It is believed that the little boy had been suffering with these injuries since at least Labor Day. Cooper had however told authorities that the boy had fallen in July and they had "successfully" stitched his tongue back together at that time. The stitches had began to fall out last week.
Both the boys had been taken into protective custody in May by the Division of Family Services because the 2-year old had excessive bruising. Four days later they were returned to the home.
Four days later they completed an investigation in what usually takes a month. Apparently there were no monthly visits or does stitching up a child's tongue not fall within the guidelines of abuse? And certainly one cannot expect a trained caseworker to see the signs of malnutrition. So, either the case was closed because excessive bruising does not warrant a watchful eye or the caseworker never bothered with the visitation. What excuse will they use this time?
I will repeat again, and continue to repeat for as long as it takes, How many Missouri children have to die before we realize "the system" does not work? Is there a magic number that we have to reach before caseworkers and those involved with the system are held accountable? Yes, I said accountable. Two people are responsible for this little boy's murder, but there are others who are responsible for failing to prevent it!