Four days before a 23-month-old Oklahoma City girl was beaten to death, a state child welfare worker visited her home but found no significant problems, according to a Department of Human Services report released Thursday. Olivia Scroggins died Aug. 20 from alleged abuse, just four days after her grandmother said she called DHS because she suspected the girl was in danger of being hurt. Olivia is one of several Oklahoma children who have died in recent months after state child welfare officials were called and asked to intervene for their protection. Kerry Joe Smith, the boyfriend of Olivia's mother, was charged with first-degree murder and sexual abuse after police said the 21-year-old Oklahoma City man confessed to physically abusing and molesting Olivia and her 9-month-old brother. Olivia's mother, Wendy Scroggins, 22, of Oklahoma City was charged with permitting child abuse. In a written report released Thursday, DHS said about 10:30 a.m. Aug. 16, the agency received a report that Olivia "previously had a black swollen eye and a round red bite mark on her cheek.” The caller said Scroggins appeared to be doing drugs and that Olivia screamed when her mother came to pick her up. About 2:30 p.m. that same day, a child welfare supervisor attempted to visit Olivia's home, but turned around after observing a dog near the door of the house. The supervisor couldn't tell whether the dog was chained and couldn't get anyone to come to the door, the report said. A child welfare worker returned to the home about 7:20 p.m. that day and was able to make contact with Scroggins and the two children, the report said.Comments
Old scars foundAt the worker's request, Scroggins undressed both children. "Olivia was observed to have old scars on her legs, one old scar on her left arm, and a circular mark on her left cheek,” the report said. "Ms. Scroggins explained that the facial mark was from her (Ms. Scroggins) sucking on Olivia's face as this is how she kisses Olivia.” The worker didn't observe a black eye, but reported that Scroggins said Olivia previously had a black eye from jumping on a bed, losing her balance and falling onto the edge of the bed. Scroggins and both children appeared to be "healthy and clean” and there was an appropriate amount of food in the kitchen cabinets, the worker said.
Boyfriend was at storeThe worker attempted to speak with Smith, but was told that he had gone to the store to buy medicine for a sick dog, the report said. The worker left a contact number with Scroggins for Smith to call when he got home. Another adult living in the home was interviewed briefly and said neither Smith nor Scroggins hit the children, the report said. The investigation was still ongoing when Olivia's death was reported.