• BREAKING NEWS Shelter in place lifted after prisoner captured

Woman tormented by 2-year-old son's death

March 19, 2010 3:39:05 PM PDT
The woman who was caring for the two year old boy is charged with his murder, but boy's biological mother says DYFS also didn't follow its own rules. "I haven't even had time to grieve," Vanessa Gentleman said.

She is tormented by the death of her 2 year old son Xavier.

Standing over his grave, she is forced to stare at the house where he died -- the place where police say he was beaten to death.

"It hurts. It hurts," she said.

Vanessa is the first to admit, she is no angel. She spent almost three years in prison.

When she got out and had Xavier, and then his little sister, unique, she was struggling and didn't want them living in a shelter. So, she placed them in the care of her friend, Diana Matthews.

Soon, she began to notice cuts and bruises, so she took pictures of a black eye, split lip and a gash on Xavier's head.

She says she complained several times to the Department of Children and Families.

A week before Xavier died, a case worker went to the house to check on him, but was told by Matthews that he wasn't there.

Vanessa asked the case worker if she asked to see Xavier?

"She said no and that she would come back in a week. A week later my son was gone," Vanessa said.

DYFS is limited with what they can, by law, tell us, but we have confirmed they "were" visiting the Matthews' home.

When there is an open case, a worker must see the child every 30 days.

The last time anyone from DYFS saw Xavier was on January 9th. He died on February 25th, forty-six days later.

Vanessa was also angry to find out that DYFS had past contact with Matthews.

A Department of Children and Families document shows Matthews was investigated 4 times from 2000 to 2006 for allegations of neglect, abuse and drug use surrounding her own children.

The department said the claims were unfounded.

"If DYFS knew something I didn't, why didn't they tell me?" Vanessa wondered.

So now, Vanessa is going door to door asking neighbors if they saw or heard anything while her children lived here.

But no answer she gets and no amount of jail time will ever be enough.

Nothing will change the fact that in his short life, little Xavier suffered and then died.


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