ELK CITY — A 3-year-old boy was beaten to death at his home here, even though his foster mother said she begged a judge and the state Department of Human Services three months ago not to return him to his mother. "I begged and pleaded and boohooed,” said foster mother Danna Paulino. Paulino said she repeatedly complained to DHS workers after the boy would return from home visits with bruises. Ryan Weeks — described as loving and sweet — died Tuesday. He would have turned 4 on Sunday. Charged Thursday with first-degree murder was Rocky Allen Moore, 22, of Elk City. He is the boyfriend of the mother, Trinity Anderson, said the foster mother. Moore is being held without bail in the Beckham County jail. District Attorney Dennis Smith said it is too early to determine whether he will seek the death penalty. The state medical examiner determined Ryan died from blunt force trauma to the head and ruled his death was a homicide. Ryan had a "large abrasive bruise on his back” and other bruises on his face, head, back, chest, legs, arms and base of his penis, according to an Elk City police affidavit. Ryan died after being flown to the OU Medical Center for treatment of "massive head trauma.” A juvenile witness told an Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation officer he watched Moore slam Ryan against the wall and onto the floor,” according to the police affidavit used to support Moore’s arrest. The witness demonstrated how Ryan was abused using a doll, the affidavit states. Moore told a police officer a different story. Moore said Ryan "was throwing up and fell down several times and hit his head on the bath tub and on the corner of the wall,” the affidavit states. He attributed the scrape on the boy’s back to Ryan sliding down a dresser after Moore had placed him on the dresser to pull up his underwear. Moore also told the officer that Ryan and his brother "fight a lot.” Paulino said she warned DHS workers and Beckham County Associate District Judge Floyd Douglas Haught months ago that Ryan and both of the boy’s half-siblings would be in danger if they were sent home. She said she had custody of the three children Sept. 12, 2007, through Aug. 1 and was concerned because the two boys would return from home visits with bruises. Paulino said she showed the judge and DHS workers photographs of Ryan and a 5-year-old half brother that revealed they had hand prints on their buttocks and legs and bruises on their bodies when they returned from home visits. She said the DHS case worker claimed the kids were lying and the judge ordered them sent home, saying he had to follow state policy and "I hope I don’t regret this.” Haught said he couldn’t discuss the case. "I’m not free under Oklahoma law to make any comments at this point,” Haught said. Lois Huddlestone, a former DHS child adoption worker, said Paulino repeatedly called her asking for assistance in getting DHS officials to listen, because Huddlestone had previously helped Paulino and her husband adopt three other children. Huddlestone said she personally called the case worker and the worker’s supervisor several times to warn them the children would be in danger if allowed to return home. She said they thanked her for her concern and said they would investigate the situation. "They really checked into it and they really did listen because we’re burying a 3-year-old,” Huddlestone said. Huddlestone said she is frustrated by many DHS workers’ unwillingness to give proper attention to warnings from foster parents, who frequently are in the best position to know what is happening on home visits involving children in their care. "It’s not right,” Huddlestone said. "I’ve been on the inside. I’ve seen.” At the time of Moore’s arrest, he was serving four years on probation after pleading guilty in February to enabling child neglect by smoking marijuana in the presence of Ryan and his two half siblings.
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