Child abuse hotline workers with the Florida Department of Children and Families made the first mistakes in the case surrounding the disappearance of Janiya Thomas who was found dead in a freezer in Bradenton last month.
MANATEE -- Janiya Thomas was unseen for more than a year before her body was found in a freezer because the workers responsible for protecting her failed to follow common practices, policies and statutes as they investigated her mother for allegations of child abuse and violence, according to a Florida Department of Children and Families report on Janiya's case.
While Keishanna Thomas had an extensive history since 2000 with the Manatee County Sheriff's Office Child Protective Investigative Division, there were few emails on record concerning Thomas or her daughter Janiya before Sept. 23 among sheriff's investigators and case workers.
The morning after Janiya Thomas' body was discovered in a freezer, a supervisor with the Manatee County Sheriff's Office Child Protective Investigative Division emailed an investigator that there wasn't much more they could have done, because they knew Janiya "had been dead for a long time."
A Department of Children and Families case manager thought there was an "intermediate" risk to Keishanna Thomas' children, but recommended the case be closed due to non-compliance anyway in June 2014, reports released Monday by DCF show.
Investigators noticed Janiya Thomas was not at her Bradenton home Sept. 23 when they arrived to investigate allegations that Keishanna Thomas had severely beaten her 12-year-old son, the latest reports released by the Florida Department of Children and Families reveal. It was the 12th time they had been called out to investigate abuse.
Teachers, Keishanna Thomas' children and others all reported that they were being burned, hit and living in filthy conditions for years. There were a dozen reports over 15 years. Yet prior to the most recent investigation, little action ws taken to protect the children.
Keishanna Thomas' children were considered to be 'unsafe due to the danger threat' revealed reports released by the Florida Department of Children and Families on Tuesday of its investigations involving Jainya Thomas since 2004.
When child abuse exists in a homeschool environment, it is typically deadlier than when abused children are enrolled in schools where people can notice their bruises, an emerging line of research shows.
Despite the disappearances of children going unnoticed for so long, opposition from the government-wary home-schooling community means it's unlikely these states will start keeping closer tabs on home-schooled children.