Toddler's Death Reinforces Importance Of Reporting Suspected Child Abuse
LONG VIEW, NC - A Long View man accused of killing his girlfriend's young son and abusing her daughter will face a judge Monday.
William Lail is locked up in the Catawba County jail charged with child abuse and murder.
Neighbors say they often heard signs of trouble coming from the home where the children were recovered, but never called police. Some people just don't want to get involved.
Child abuse experts say suspected child abuse only stops when someone reports it.
"It was loud late at night," said neighbor Melissa Aguilar.
Neighbors describing what they heard coming from this Long View house for months. It's where 18-month-old Jaden was found dead and his 3 year-old sister Kylie burned and bruised Friday.
"If we would have known, we could have helped them. It's so sad," said Whisnant.
"That baby couldn't defend himself and we were all here but we didn't know what was going on and we probably could have saved his life," said Aguilar.
Brandy Stephens with Safe Alliance says North Carolina law requires even the slightest hint of suspicion to be reported.
According to Stepehens, keeping it to yourself can... "Impede an investigation, that can impede justice, that can impede holding a perpetrator accountable and slow down the process for a child to be protected."
Stephens says many people fear retaliation and worry they could be reporting something that's not true.
She says its important to speak up, even if you don't have proof, or only suspect a child is being mistreated.
For the Long View neighbors, there were red flags like never seeing Jaden or Kylie.
"They had to be hiding them or trying to hide something or else why wouldn't they be able to come outside?" said Whisnant.
Stephens says adults -even outside the home - have to protect children.
"Their fear and their hopelessness will continue if we don't call make those reports," said Stephens.
An estimated 25 percent of child abuse incidents go unreported. You can report a suspicion anonymously to your county's department of social services.