State failed to investigate abuse before girl's murder

State failed to investigate abuse before girl's murder »Play Video
Jeanette Maples

EUGENE, Ore. -- Four official complaints; one investigation; no action.

"I say between five and eight times that I called and got no response," said Lynn McAnulty, Angela McAnulty's mother-in-law.

Lynn testified Tuesday that she called the Department of Human Services multiple times in the months before Jeanette Maples' death to report the suspected abuse.

Angela McAnulty pleaded guilty to aggravated murder in the death of her daughter, Jeanette Maples.

"I started repeatedly calling in August when we came home with Angela, and her husband and the  children," said Lynn McAnulty. She says she called DHS anonymously, but didn't see any action taken by the agency.

The school counselor at Cascade Middle School also testified about contacting DHS.

"We had to make two DHS reports in one year. It was within four or five days of each other," said Jennifer Smyly. "The third referral in her seventh grade year, I honestly don't know what DHS did with that report. I don't know if DHS came to even look at the bruise."

DHS submitted a two-part report after Maples' death. In it, the agency details its own failures in investigating Maples' case:

  • "This was a high-risk family, with a past history with a child welfare agency in another state that included physical abuse and neglect. That information was not adequately considered when evaluating the reports of abuse against J.M."
     
  • "The Department received information from credible sources that was not adequately considered when evaluating the reports of abuse against J.M. made several years ago."
     
  • "J.M.'s capacity to protect herself and disclose abuse was not appropriately evaluated in determining whether or not to investigate abuse reports received about J.M."

In the 2010 reports, DHS also laid out methods to improve.

KVAL News wanted to know: after a year, how has DHS improved services and practices? A spokesperson said DHS would not comment until the end of Angela McAnulty's penalty phase so as not to influence the trial.