First off, I want to thank you for taking time to listen to my story, I have reached out to numerous local reporters and it seems none of them are willing to help. This involves my daughter (Arianna Haley) and grand daughter (Ava Duque) This entire nightmare started January 11, 2016. At around 4:30 p.m. my youngest daughter went to wake her 18 month old son (Arlo) to prepare him be picked up by his aunt (Anna) and stay with me for a few nights.
When Anna arrived at the house to pick him up Arianna ran outside screaming he wasn’t breathing and she didn’t know CPR, at which time a neighbor came to assist and EMS was en route. By the time they reached the hospital it was too late to resuscitate him. It wasn’t until the police pulled me aside to talk to me that we learned that he had asphyxiated on 2 foreign objects, a bobby pin and a nickle. I immediately told the police that they should investigate his death because I knew Arlo and his habits as well as my own and he was not prone to putting non food items in his mouth.
Within2 hours CPS had gone to my daughter’s home and took custody of 5 month old Ava. They said that until they determined Arlo’s manner of death they would retain custody of her to ensure her safety and asked Arianna for a list of family members that would be willing to accept custody during the investigation. At which time she gave them her aunt (my sister) Julie Broussard’s name and telephone number.
The next day my Arianna called me and I asked what exactly had transpired the previous day. She told me that her fiance (Justin Duque) and his step father (Jeremy Edgington) had stepped out to run errands at which time Justin’s mother (Kenda Duque) told my Arianna she looked stressed and she would watch the children while she took a bath. When Arianna got out of the tub Arlo was in bed “sleeping” according to Kenda.
Approximately 2 hours later is when the discovered him unresponsive. After hearing that I began pleading with the Orange County sheriff’s department to look further into the matter but they said until the medical examiner determined the manner of death there wasn’t anything they could do. In less than a week the medical examiner had ruled his death an accident, therefore no one was charged with abuse or neglect.
Fast forward 2 years and my daughter is still fighting to regain custody of Ava. CPS never contacted my sister in regards to taking temporary custody of Ava and simply told Arianna they didn’t qualify. Julie and her husband Tony are both business owners who live in a 5 bedroom home in an affluent part of Beaumont.
CPS required Arianna attend and complete a plethora of classes which she attended and completed, told her she had to retain steady employment, which she has and secure an acceptable residence for herself and Ava. When she applied for housing assistance and listed Ava on the application CPS promptly called the apartment manager and told them that Ava could not be used on the application, thus disqualifying Arianna for assistance.
Her court appointed attorney (Bryan McEacehrn) has failed to ask even the most basic questions on her behalf (ex: if Arlo’s death was an accident without neglect or abuse involved on what grounds are they denying my daughter custody). I have done extensive research on CPS protocol (none of which was followed) even sent my documentation to him via email, still nothing. When Arianna asked the CPS caseworker (Dustin McAlpine) what the justification for refusing to return Ava was he told her “we don’t feel you will utilize the skills we has taught you” so now they are prolonging a case that should have been closed 2 years ago on pure conjecture.
I personally know of a woman who was under the influence of alcohol and xanax when she overturned her vehicle while her infant daughter was a passenger, resulting in both being life flighted and requiring emergency medical treatment and not for 1 day did she lose custody of her daughter. My best friend’s daughter lost custody of her child for failing a drug test and CPS told her that in order to get her daughter back she had to discontinue her psychiatric medications and within 2 weeks she had committed suicide.
My point is Orange County CPS picks and chooses who to go after and who to sweep under the rug. My daughter deserves Ava back, she lost Arlo and it just adds insult to injury. I myself lost custody of my children for a time, and when 1 of them got assaulted by another girl while in placement she ran away. When I asked what they were doing to locate her Kerrie Revere (CPS supervisor) told me “they do not actively look for runaways”.
The entire system that is tasked with ensuring the safety of children is grossly flawed and needs to be reformed. The only evidence of proof I have is the firsthand experience of myself and others involved in this case so I don’t know if that is enough, I pray someone will take time to look into what I have said and see the truth, if not in time to help me and Arianna then some other young mother who CPS sets their sights on.