Falling Through The Cracks in our System?

Tonight at 5pm, join us for part two of our look at what's being done to keep our children from falling through the cracks of our child welfare and court systems.

In the one month since Anna Celeste Lowe's death, the reaction from the community and the outcry from our viewers has been overwhelming. Many of you have asked, is Anna Celeste just the latest innocent victim to fall through the cracks of the child welfare and court systems?

In the first of a two part series, KSLA News 12's Doug Warner takes a closer at how case workers do their jobs, if they're overworked, overwhelmed, and if signs are being missed in high profile cases all across our state.

"I'm so damn mad", write Christy Kennedy, as KSLA News 12 viewer.

"Why was Celeste in the court system for months and now she's dead. don't you care?", Christy adds. Her email was one of dozens we received either on Facebook on in our email inboxes.

She feels there's no excuse for this life being lost, or the life of any innocent child, especially when a death hits so close to home.

"12 years ago, January 12, 1999", states Christy, as she begins discussion of the death of a young girl named Miranda. Christy was close friends with the girls mother. Miranda was shot to death by her father, Charles Salley, just seconds before police shot Salley dead.

Christy says, "The problem with that was, nobody would listen to the mother." She adds Miranda's mother begged the courts, case managers and lawyers for supervised visitation only with the father. That didn't happen.

And now in the Lowe case, more questions if the courts, investigators or case workers missed signs .. miscommunicated .. or didn't communicate at all.

After a month of requests, the Department of family and Childrens' Services finally agrees to an interview. Agency's spokesperson Trey Williams.

(reporter question) "Can you confirm if workers in the Bossier Parish office have been fired in this case?

Mr. Williams response, "We are still in the process of conducting internal investigation. I do expect discipline actions to be taken in that area."

KSLA News 12 has learned roughly a month before her death, Anna Celeste's school reported a bruise on her neck to the Bossier Parish Sheriff's Office. In an article in The Times a couple of weeks ago, the Sheriff's Office claimed a detective concluded the alleged abuse happened in West Monroe, and not within Bossier's jurisdiction.

But court records show Anna Celeste mother, Jamie Mercer, hadn't seen her daughter since October. And Ouachita investigators confirmed for us that they concluded Wesley Lowe's original claims of abuse were declared unfounded back in October as well.