NASHVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — North Carolina Human Services has sent a letter to Nash County Social Services notifying the county of concerns and violations after an 8-year-old girl was murdered in February.
The letter sent Friday said the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reviewed case No. 94959 — the death of 8-year-old Christal Lane in February — and found “concerns with Nash’s child welfare practice, which included violations of policy.”
The letter specifically listed the following six violations:
- Collateral contacts were not contacted according to policy;
- Supervision was not conducted according to policy;
- Prior CPS History from South Carolina was not obtained;
- While interviews with children and adults are well documented, there is insufficient follow up to verify the information;
- Child Medical Exams were completed, however, there is insufficient follow-up with the concerns expressed by the examiner;
- Additional information regarding the actions of the grandmother and additional injuries found on the child were not taken as new reports.
Patricia Ricks, 72, the grandmother of 8-year-old Christal, has been charged with first-degree murder and felony child abuse with serious injury.
Christal was found suffering from severe, life-threatening injuries. Detectives said the grandmother brought the 8-year-old to the hospital. They also said, “the child had severe injuries throughout her entire body and head.”
Detectives also learned the girl lived in the 5000 block of Dutchman Road, went to her home, and questioned those at the residence.
“It was determined that the 8-year-old juvenile was beaten so severe by the Grandmother that she died from the injuries,” Maj. Eddie Moore with the Nash County Sheriff’s Office said.
Additionally, from March 1-3, the letter said NCDSS completed 23 more CPS assessment review cases. The reviews found further flaws:
- Supervisory oversight was conducted according to policy in 39 percent of the cases.
- Ongoing Contacts after initiation were made with the children according to policy in 48 percent of the cases.
- Ongoing contacts with the parents were made according to policy in 50 percent of the cases.
- Safety Assessments correlated with the information obtained from the interviews and addressed the identified safety concerns in 65 percent of the cases.
- Case decisions were appropriate and supported by documentation in 67 percent of the cases.
- Documentation did not reflect discussions of ongoing safety and risk.
The state is ordering Nash County “to develop a Corrective Action Plan (CAP) to address these violations within 30 days,” the letter said. The letter details a 7-step template on how to form the CAP plan.
Ricks was appointed a lawyer during her first hearing with the option of hiring her own attorney and she has a probable cause hearing scheduled for later this month.
CBS 17 reached out to Nash County, who said “staff also received the letter today and are reviewing it.”
Deana Harley contributed to this article.