Relatives of dead infant question DSS handling of case
Relatives of a two-week-old baby allegedly murdered by his father said child protective services was involved with the dead infant’s parents but didn’t adequately monitor their home environment.
Social workers visited Stefany Renee Ash and Brian Jack Frazier as often as three times a week to check on the welfare of their children, according to Sandra and Bruce Alston, Ash’s mother and stepfather. The Alstons said the unmarried couple lived in squalor with their two sons – Khan, born Nov. 14 and Kane, who is 15 months old – with dirty diapers and other trash piled up throughout the Kimery Drive house they shared with Ash’s father.
The Alstons said they wish Guilford County Department of Social Services workers had done more to investigate the conditions in the home prior to the death of Khan on Tuesday. Authorities said Frazier, who has been charged with first-degree murder in the baby’s death, admitted to punching Khan in the face after the child fussed while Frazier was playing video games.
“(Social workers) were supposed to do walk-throughs, see the child, see how the parents interacted with the child, watch them change the diapers and so on,” said Bruce Alston. “You had to coax them to go into the home. They weren’t doing their job.”
A DSS spokesman said Thursday that state law prevents the agency from acknowledging whether it has or has not been involved in a particular child welfare case.
The Alstons said Ash and Frazier, both 20, have mental problems and were ill-suited to be parents. They said Frazier was abusive toward Ash but that they never saw him violent toward the children. It was unclear whether DSS received any reports of abuse or neglect involving the children. High Point police said they had no involvement with the couple prior to Tuesday.
Sandra Alston said that, shortly after her daughter came home from the hospital with Kane, “she called DSS and said, ‘Come get this baby. I’m not mentally capable” of raising him.
Alston said child protective services came to the couple’s home on a regular basis. She said, at one point six or eight months ago, a social worker called her and asked, “Do you have Kane? I haven’t seen him in two-and-a-half weeks.” She said she asked the social worker to do a walk-through at the house, but that Ash typically brought the baby to the door and refused to let DSS into the home.
She said Ash, who was charged with accessory after the fact, has been on suicide watch at the Guilford County Jail since her arrest. She said the couple was into a strange religion she termed “devil worshipping” that involves spells.
“She thinks that Brian has cast a spell over her, so that if she leaves him, she’ll die,” said Bruce Alston. “She’s been into this witch stuff for a long time.”
The couple said Frazier was addicted to video games and would sometimes play for 36 hours straight. Prosecutors allege he was in the midst of a PlayStation binge when he “snapped” and killed his son.
“I don’t know what made him flip,” said Bruce Alston.
The couple said that Kane is in the custody of child protective services, is undergoing treatment at Brenner Children’s Hospital and will then be placed in foster care.