An investigator with the Indiana Department of Child Services visited the Greensburg home of 12-year-old Devin Parsons just days before police said he was beaten to death by his mother, records show.
The boy was found dead June 3. His mother, Tasha Parsons, 29, later admitted to using her hands, feet, a belt and a metal tray to beat her son over a period of several hours while her boyfriend, Waldo Jones Jr., watched, police said.
According to confidential state records obtained by 6News' Joanna Massee
, DCS received several calls about Parsons' family in the months leading up to his death.
Several complaints came from the boy's school. Others came from people in the community.
One man, who did not want to be identified, said he called 911 after seeing Devin's then-6-year-old brother playing with a shotgun in the family's front yard.
"At first, I wasn't sure it was a real gun. But after I got a little bit closer and started looking at it, it was a real shotgun," the man said. "There was no doubt in my mind that it was a real shotgun."
As a result of the complaints, a DCS worker interviewed Tasha Parsons and Jones about in their home 11 days before Devin's death, records show. But the investigator decided the case didn't constitute neglect.
The family's history with DCS began when Devin was an infant. A neglect report dated April 20 1999, when Devin was 3 days old, was filed by someone in the medical community, records show.
Throughout Devin's childhood, investigators did at times determine there was abuse and neglect and referred the family for counseling.
Retired DCS case manager Barbara Waits said she handled Devin's case when he was a toddler but doesn't remember him.
"I personally feel that anybody, and I do mean anybody, has the capability of losing control given the right circumstances and the right stressors," she said.
Waits retired years before Devin was killed.
"After 32 years, I never ended up having head lice, I never ended up having scabies, I never was sued and I never had a child that died on my watch," she said. "Now that's not to say that during my tenure that children didn't die."
Sandy Runkle-Delorme, with Prevent Child Abuse Indiana, said each child's death tells the entire community it has failed.
"This is everyone's responsibility, not just the government's," she said. "From our point of view, the children can always be saved."
6News tried to speak with DCS Director James Payne about Devin's case, but before he could comment, a gag order was issued by the judge.
Tasha Parsons has been charged with murder. She told police she beat the boy because he had hidden her pain pills and wouldn't tell her where they were.
Jones faces a charge of neglect of a dependent causing death.
Anyone who suspects a child is being abuse or neglected is urged to call Indiana's Child Abuse Hotline at 800-800-5556. Reports can be left anonymously.
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