DSS to Investigate Following Salisbury Toddler's Death - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

DSS to Investigate Following Salisbury Toddler's Death

Kyla Edwards Kyla Edwards

01/10/2007

SALISBURY- Officials are trying to get to the bottom of a 2-year-old foster child's murder. 

At a news conference held Wednesday morning, at the Wicomico Child Advocacy Center, officials with Wicomico County Department of Social Services discussed the death of Kyla Aranae Edwards, who was killed in December.

According to police, Kyla died from blows to the head and stomach.  Police say her foster mother's boyfriend, 44-year-old Edson Lamont Brown of Salisbury, murdered the girl while the two were alone.

During the conference, DSS officials said that while there is an ongoing investigation, they will be working with other agencies to find out how the child's death could have been avoided and review department policies and procedures relating to foster care.

They said they were not aware that Brown- who has a criminal history- was living in the same home as Kyla and her foster mother.   

DSS officials also said they will be holding talks with Salisbury police, Maryland State Police, the Wicomico Sheriff's Office as well as the Wicomico State's Attorney's Office.  

DSS officials say that in a few weeks they should have a clearer idea of what happened and what more needs to be done to protect foster children from becoming victims of similar tragedies to Kyla's.

Kyla's grandmother, Cathy Wharton, said she tried to contact the foster care program for six straight weeks but got no response. She and and her husband suspected abuse at the home Kyla was in.  Wharton did not attend the press conference, but upon hearing what was discussed said she was not satisfied with the DSS' response.

"I don't understand having a press conference without answers," Wharton said. "My response to that is, who are you trying to protect that is taking so long?  Just tell us anything [because] we have nothing."

Meantime, police have charged Brown with second-degree murder, child abuse by a parent (household member in this case) resulting in death, first-degree assault, second-degree assault and child abuse of a child resulting in death while in his custody. 

Brown is being held without bond at the Wicomico County Detention Center.

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