Parents Charged In Deadly RV Fire Investigated 5 Times By DHS

Monday, March 7th 2011, 6:39 pm

By: News 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- New documents reveal the parents charged with felony child neglect after their children died in an RV fire in Del City were investigated by the Department of Human Services five separate times in the past three years.

On Feb 10, 2011, Christopher Lee Dunham Sr. and Stephanie Mae Dunham were charged with three counts of child neglect and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia. The couple's three children, Christopher Dunham Jr., 4, Crystal Dunham, 3, and Kaylee Dunham, 1 were killed in the fire on Jan. 4 when the family's RV caught fire.

Police said their investigation revealed Stephanie Dunham was not in the RV when the fire broke out, and the door to the mobile home had been locked. Stephanie Dunham tested positive for meth at the time of the incident and drug paraphernalia was found inside the RV.

Reports released from DHS revealed the agency had five prior reports concerning the welfare of Christopher, Crystal and Kayla in the past three years.

Read the documents released by DHS

On April 17, 2008, DHS received a report that Christopher Dunham Sr. was allegedly physically abusing Christopher Dunham Jr. It was reported that Christopher had a knot on his head after being pushed down by his father. The report was dropped after doctors and law enforcement could not find any injuries.

There were two separate reports in October 2009 and June 2010, alleging the three children were present during domestic disputes between Christopher and Stephanie Dunham. In September, DHS received a report involving substance abuse, hitting and exposure to domestic violence. The children were reportedly present during a fight between their parents and Stephanie filed a VPO against Chris, but according to the report, the children had no visible injuries and reported no abuse. During the June incident, agents also concluded there were "no specific allegations of child abuse and/or child neglect."

Another report made in November 2009 claimed Stephanie left the children with an inappropriate caretaker. Following an investigation, DHS recommended the children "be supervised by a responsible adult when in this home," but no immediate action was taken by the agency.

DHS received another reported on September 17, 2010, alleging Christopher Dunham had sexually abused his daughter Crystal. After an investigation, DHS said there was no substantial proof to the claims and no action was taken.

"In this particular case, mom and dad were fighting a lot there were some accusations of domestic violence things of that nature that the children were witnessing, and while that is disturbing it doesn't rise to the level of abuse or neglect," said Sheree Powell, DHS spokesperson.



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