Tuesday, a woman driving on a busy road saw a 4 year old little boy, alone and trying frantically to cross the street. She called 911.
Police determined the child came from the home of Danny Lee Stearns. Mr. Stearns was an interior designer, and a foster father of 4 children ages 9 to 17.
When they went to the home they found the body of Danny Lee Sterns, 47, dead in a downstairs bedroom. At the home was the mother of a 16 year old foster son, Angela Machelle Johnson. Police later found the 16 year old, hiding beneath a nearby home that was under construction. Police believe the two strangled Mr. Stearns with a belt. They do believe the foster son helped.
Police say they believe the motive to be a dispute over Mr. Stearns accusing the 16 year old of stealing an amount of money from him (I have seen $500 and I have seen $700) two weeks earlier.
Police have said that the unnamed 16 year old was in foster care, because he had been removed from his mother’s home due to allegations of neglect.
Both the mother and the son have been arrested for suspicion of wrapping a belt around Mr. Stearns neck and strangling him.
We’ve seen and heard the results of bad foster parents. And they are out there. But there are good foster parents also. And let’s face it, foster parenting is not an easy job. Foster kids are removed from their homes due to abuse, neglect, or sometimes for other reasons. Often the only way they know to cope with problems are the ways they have seen them handled in their previous homes…..since they were removed, that kinda gives you an idea of how successful that is. Often they are angry and resentful. And many times they can be aggressive.
Not only do the foster parents deal with the normal problems that come with children, and the problems associated with children who come from damaged homes, they also deal with the other obligations of keeping a child in foster care such as home visits, social workers, parents, and often law enforcement and the courts. So foster parenting is not always easy or pleasant.
Did the kid steal the money from him? Who knows. And it really doesn’t matter. When faced with an accusation of theft, whether true or not…..he is accused of responding with murder. Jointly with the mother who would been expected to support and guide him.
An accusation of theft. I have not seen any indication that Mr. Stearns was filing any charges on the accusation. But even if he had been, the most the 16 year old would have been facing would have been a charge of theft. Now under suspicion of murder, the stakes are much, much higher.
I picked this up at CrimeNe.ws which I now use as one of my sources for domestic crime stories.