Mother Arrested in Child's Death; Second Case This Month

Thursday, September 17th 2009, 11:35 pm
By: News 9

By Jon Jordan, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Oklahoma City police have arrested a mother in the death of her own child, the second case in a month. One advocate said while that may be shocking to most, he is not surprised by the dangerous trend.

Tye Johnson and her boyfriend, Eddie Valdez, were arrested on first-degree murder complaints in the death of Johnson's 3-year-old boy. The arrests happened about a week after police arrested another mother, 20-year-old Brittany Nabors, for a similar crime to her 1-month-old boy. One advocate who deals with child abuse cases said she is not surprised.

"I think it's kind of well founded that when the economy takes a downturn and families are strapped for resources that we probably see an increase in child abuse neglect," said Annette Jacobi, Family Support and Prevention Services Chief.

Jacobi said prevention is the key for families.

"Prevention is absolutely the biggest bang for your buck, and I think we all know that," Jacobi said.

However, at a time when families are being hit hard by the economy, so is the state's Office of Child Abuse Prevention, which is run by Jacobi. She said the department has seen cuts of 7.5 percent.

"We're looking at budget reductions where our childhood prevention services, family support services, are being cut back," Jacobi said.

Jacobi said prevention services are so important because child abuse crimes are nearly impossible for police to stop.

"It's not like burglaries where we can just put extra patrols in a neighborhood to try and stop it. Child abuse is a different animal completely," said Gary Knight, Oklahoma City Police Department.

Authorities also removed seven other children from Johnson's home and put them into protective custody.

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Mother, Boyfriend Arrested in Child's Death