Contributed to TLB by: Health Impact News and Medical Kidnap
The past few months have been a nightmare for the Headley family, but last Saturday night may have been the worst yet for the South Carolina family whose children were medically kidnapped this summer. While 4 year old Jack was under the care of the Child Protective System, he was reported missing by the foster mother. He was found in some bushes about 4 hours later, but the thought of what could have happened to their little boy has concerned family and friends asking for some answers. They don’t understand how the state could take their child from them, and then allow him to go missing under their watch.
They have more questions than answers at this point. Fox Carolina news reporter Derek Delinger reported Saturday evening that Jack had been found safe. His tone was almost bubbly as he minimized the terror that the Headley family felt after learning their child was missing.
We’ve been able to find out that the child was just missing for a few hours.
Just a few hours? The family wonders if that is the acceptable range of time for a child to be missing without it being concerning?
The family is very thankful that Jack was found, but they don’t understand how he went missing in the first place. The child, who has had serious medical issues since birth, and his 3 brothers were taken by Child Protective Services on July 10, after Child Abuse Specialist Dr. Nancy Henderson at Greenville Memorial Hospital accused their mother Danielle of Munchausen by Proxy. See original story:
Munchausen by Proxy is a psychological disorder where a parent fakes or causes a child’s symptoms in order to get attention. The diagnosis itself has come under much scrutiny and debate, and it appears to be most often used as an excuse to silence parents who question or disagree with the medical care their child is receiving. It is a convenient diagnosis, as one of the chief symptoms is asking for a second opinion. (See also: Fight Rages for Teenager Isaiah Rider’s Freedom – His Mother Commits “Cardinal Sin” Of Questioning Doctors)
After the accusation, charges were filed against Danielle Headley, and all 4 of her children were placed in foster care. The oldest 3 boys went to a group home and Jack went to a separate foster home. As Health Impact News has previously reported, CPS allegedly has refused to consider any of the family members or friends for placement, in violation of federal law. The family believes that had the boys been in care of their family, perhaps Jack would not have gone missing Saturday night.
Headleys Receive Scariest Phone Call Ever
Danielle and her husband William had just been through a rough few days, and Danielle had just gotten home from the hospital herself, after having some serious medical issues of her own. The couple had decided to go to bed early, when they were awakened by a terrifying phone call. A social worker was on the phone, trying to reassure them. Jack had been missing for about 3 hours. She told them not to worry, because the police were on the scene and they had search dogs out hunting for Jack. She said she wasn’t allowed to give them more information.
They found a news report that listed the neighborhood where they were searching for their son, and they got in the car and raced to help with the search. William’s niece, Christine Bridges, also headed to the area. Shortly before they arrived, they received word that Jack had been found. The Headleys were still not permitted to see their son after he was located.
Christine, however, continued to the neighborhood and pushed past the crowd, so that she could see for herself that her little cousin was ok. She was able to hug him before they made her leave.
Since then, some details about that night have emerged, but many questions remain.
Why Was No Amber Alert Issued?
An Amber alert was never issued, and family members question why. On the Facebook page of the Fox news report, a number of people question why a photo of the child was never included, only a description of the boy in a Superman costume. Is this because Jack was in the foster care system?
Failure to issue an Amber alert or to provide a description and photo when the child is a foster child unnecessarily put the lives of foster children in jeopardy. According to the FBI, in cases where a missing child is murdered:
- in 76 percent of the murders of an abducted child, the child was murdered within 3 hours of the abduction;
- in 89 percent of the cases, the missing child died within 24 hours of disappearing
Time is of the essence in reporting missing children, and the first 3 hours are the most crucial. Do not children who have been taken into “protective” custody by the state deserve to have Amber alerts and accurate descriptions if they are missing? How does the state justify having less, not more, protection of those children in its care?
Jack was removed from his own home and his own family out of alleged concerns for his safety, yet it was under the care of a state-provided foster family that he was lost.
What Happened That Night?
Health Impact News spoke with Jack’s cousin Christine Bridges and his grandmother Tonda Vess. Both report receiving phone calls from the foster mother following Jack’s disappearance and recovery. The story that they were told is that Jack had attended a Halloween party with the foster family, and then they went to the home of the foster mother’s parents for a nighttime bonfire and marshmallow roast. Jack was still in his Superman costume. There were 7 or 8 adults present at the get-together, as well as some alcohol. Tonda reports that the foster mother told her that she “only had a beer and a half.”
One minute Jack was playing with the other kids; the next, he was gone. The foster mother called 911 about 5 minutes later.
Police came, and area residents began searching the neighborhood. There were search dogs and a helicopter out looking for little Jack. Around 11:30 pm, a man named Anthony Stone allegedly found Jack crying for his mommy, “behind some bushes at the corner of Hedgewood Terrace and Windwood Way.” Stone had joined in the search after seeing the commotion.
Bridges says that she was told that dogs had already searched the area where Jack was found, without locating him. According to Greenville County Sheriff’s Department, dogs had not searched that area, but had been searching in a different area.
Health Impact News asked the Sheriff’s Department if any charges were filed, or if Jack was taken to a doctor to be examined for any signs of abuse or harm that could have taken place within the 4 hours that the child was missing. They reported that no charges have been filed, and that there is no suspicion of “anything suspicious.”
The family reports that they have heard several different versions of the details of the story, including one version that says that Jack was playing hide-and-seek. Another says that someone would have to have picked Jack up and placed him behind the bushes. Jack’s grandmother wonders if he could have had a seizure. They wonder if anyone is telling the truth, and are afraid that there may be some type of cover-up going on.
Bridges reports that the foster mother told her that they have placed Jack in another setting. She allegedly wept to the biological family’s family member that losing guardianship of Jack was breaking her heart and that of her son. Christine wondered about the appropriateness of her tears to her, when Jack’s own real family is still devastated by the state’s taking him and his brothers. Christine’s own son still cries regularly for his cousin and best buddy, and he doesn’t understand why he can’t play with him.
To date, Danielle has not seen Jack since he was taken from her. Her husband William was able to see him on Wednesday for the first time since July. They were both, at last, allowed to have a visit Wednesday with the other 3 boys. This is their first time to see each other since the day that officer Tracy Moss came into their home and took the children.
Their attorney Donald Smith is planning to file an emergency hearing on behalf of his clients, in the hopes of the children being returned to their parents. He told Fox Carolina News that his clients were “livid” over the fact that the state lost their child and put him at risk of harm while he was in their custody.