O’FALLON, MO (KMOX) – Two years after a six-year-old autistic child was discovered in a makeshift cage in an O’Fallon, Missouri home, child endangerment charges were filed Friday. However, several questions remain.
Among them, why weren’t the parents, Victoria and Terry Smith, charged in December, 2010 when police, paramedics and a case worker found the child unclothed in a cage with urine and feces? The prosecuting attorney at the time was Jack Banas who is now a circuit court judge. Banas told KMOX that as a judge, he is not able to talk about the case.
Another question posed by many is whether or not officials in St. Charles County were derelict in their duties when they returned the child and five others to the home.
“Nobody dropped the ball on this case,” says Ken Simmons, a juvenile officer and family court administrator for St. Charles County. According to Simmons, the Smiths were compliant with the services provided to them, such as family counseling.
“All of the appropriate protocols, policies, and procedures were followed. Children were initially removed and a more thorough investigation was conducted and services were provided and it was later determined that the children can be safely returned,” Simmons explained. That determination was made by a “family support team” in St. Charles County, including law enforcement and social service officials.
According to Simmons, some on the team were opposed to the decision but the court’s involvement in the case was terminated in June, 2011. He said it is his understanding the St. Charles County Department of Community Health and the Environment is “remaining involved with the family” and he is confident the children are safe.