Mother and son charged with abusing 9-year-old Boy - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Mother and son charged with abusing 9-year-old Boy

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WALKER COUNTY, GA (WRCB) - LaFayette Police have charged a mother and her son with abusing a 9-year-old child.

According to the police report, the 9-year-old's siblings told teachers the boy was not allowed to eat with the rest of the family, they said the boy was forced to eat from the trash or from a bowl of mixed leftovers. 

The child's teachers who also noticed signs of abuse, stated they had reported the abuse to the Department of Family and Child Services more than 13 times since November of 2014. 

The child was not removed from the home until January of 2015 when LaFayette Police were called in to investigate the allegations.

"Being a father and having small children myself it does impact you," said Captain Stacey Meeks, LaFayette Police Dept.

Capt. Meeks tells Channel 3 it was during a welfare check inside of a home on Pledger Parkway the night of January 26, when officers found the 9-year-old boy with severe bruising on his face, head, neck, chest and thighs.

"When they made contact with him they could tell he had been abused, he had bruises on his body, on his chest cavity, on his face and he looked extremely malnourished," said Capt. Meeks.

Officers noted in their report seeing the boy's ribcage beneath his shirt. 7-weeks later police charged the boy's legal guardian Shirley Chandler, 58 and her son Richard Voivedich, 31 with felony Cruelty to Children in the First Degree.

"The victim and 3 siblings were initially removed," said Capt. Meeks.

According to the report the boy's teachers first noticed bruising and abuse as early as November. School officials stated they had sent more than 13 referrals through the Department of Family and Child Services to investigate. The elementary school finally called police when Chandler withdrew the special needs child from school.

"We don't know really what the nature of those initial complaints were," said Capt. Meeks. "We do know the situation once we got involved was pretty serious."

Channel 3 wanted to know why it took 13 referrals before the boy was removed from the home but DFACS cited privacy laws for not answering that question.

Officials did say that not every complaint warrants a mandatory investigation. Case managers have the authority to accept or deny an investigation into a report of abuse based on the information reported.

"If you suspect child abuse you need to notify law enforcement or local Department of Family and Child Services as soon as possible and get the ball rolling because without that initial notification we don't get involved a lot of times," said Capt. Meeks.

The accused mother and son lived with 9 children in all, they had no biological relation to the 9-year-old or any of his siblings. 

Neighbors tell Channel 3 they suspected abuse but didn't report it to police because DFACS agents were already seen visiting the home. 

Chandler is charged with 4 felony counts of Cruelty to Children in the First Degree. Voivedich is charged with 2 counts on the same charge. Authorities say both are out on a $5,000 bond.

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