Protests failed to prevent Elk City death

BY RANDY ELLIS Modified: November 8, 2008 at 9:54 am •  Published: November 8, 2008
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/> 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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