Mother Says DHS Ignored Complaints Of Abuse Made Before Child's Death
POTTAWATOMIE COUNTY, Oklahoma - A 6-year-old boy says his stepmother stuck his head in the toilet and in the tub. The child made the allegations after his sister died in the home, but the Department of Human Services received complaints before the death.
Doctors, teachers, neighbors, and the children's mother, Christina Potter, filed 27 complaints of possible child abuse to DHS, but the state agency left the children in the home with their father and stepmother.
Alexis Morris eventually died in the home on September 25, 2009. Potter says her daughter's death could have been prevented, but DHS did not do its job.
"Your family is traumatized, your kids are traumatized and your life, believe it or not, goes downhill and nothing will ever be the same," Potter said.
Court Records show the complaints were made against Jennifer Jimenez. Court records show Jimenez beat, choked, and force fed Alexis and her younger brother Jordan over the course of two years.
Potter says DHS ignored multiple complaints during that time but did not remove any children from the home, until Alexis died.
"People like her [Jimenez] take my baby away and all you are left with is memories," Potter said.
Potter explains Alexis was the third child to die in Jimenez's care, and she says her younger son could have been the fourth.
The then 6-year-old told investigators Jimenez is "mean and beats him up" and he claims Jimenez "choked him in the bathroom," then said "don't tell or I will do it again."
Christina Potter says no one listened to the complaints until it was too late.
"These kids cannot be replaced. Enough is enough," Potter said.
More than a year after Alexis's death, the District Attorney filed charges on Jennifer Jimenez. Jimenez is set for trial in a couple of weeks.
Christina Potter has a lawsuit pending against DHS.
DHS released the following statement concerning this issue:
"Our hearts go out to all of the family members over the tragic death of Alexis Morris. Because there is pending litigation in this case we cannot comment on the details of our agency's interactions with the family. We hope the family can find peace during this difficult time."