A retired U.S. Secret Service agent and retired chief investigator for the Oklahoma County district attorney's office were among 16 members named Thursday to the DHS Special Review Committee that will look into Oklahoma child death cases.
Wes Lane, chairman of the committee, said retired Secret Service Agent Don Newsom and retired Oklahoma County investigator Larry Andrews were chosen for their “critical thinking skills.”
The committee will review cases in which children have died from abuse or neglect after the Department of Human Services had received complaints, he said.
Lane said he believes Newsom and Andrews have the experience to look at complex investigations and spot key issues that could prompt policy changes to prevent future deaths.
Newsom is part of a team of retired investigators that works with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to help locate missing children, Lane said.
Lane said he attempted to recruit committee members with diverse backgrounds and areas of expertise who all have an interest in helping children.
Other committee members joining Lane on the committee include: Paco Balderrama, an Oklahoma City police lieutenant; Barbara Bonner, director of the Center for Child Abuse & Neglect; Kathryn Brewer, Canadian County assistant district attorney; Steven Dow, DHS commissioner; Stephan Moore, Shiloh Camp executive director; Sandra Park, deputy superintendent of Oklahoma City Public Schools; Anne Roberts, DHS commissioner; Lee Roland, Tulakes Elementary School principal; Ira Schlezinger, retired executive with Integris Health; Steve Shafer, chief investment officer of Covenant Financial Services; Dr. Deborah Shropshire, pediatrician specializing in child abuse/foster care; Karen Waddell, president and chief executive officer of The Lynn Institute; Terri White, commissioner of the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services; and Aneta Wilkinson, DHS commissioner.
Three advisory committee members also were appointed. They are Dr. Robert Block, president of the American Academy of Pediatricians; Ryan Leonard, attorney and volunteer with Lawyers for Children; and Roger Stuart, an Oklahoma County district judge.
Serving as staff members will be Deborah Smith, director of the DHS Child and Family Services Division, and Peggy Wilson, who will temporarily serve as an administrative