Neighbor says several calls made to CPS before Ireland murder
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A neighbor's reports to police and CPS are now the focus of the trial to determine if CPS failed to protect Seth Ireland from the man who eventually killed him.
Ireland's father is suing the county, claiming CPS ignored warning signs and left his son in a dangerous home.
Seth Ireland's next door neighbor knew he was in danger, not long after the boy's mother let her new boyfriend move in back in the summer of 2007.
Within a year, Cynthia Potts started hearing banging on her shared wall while Lebaron Vaughn screamed at Seth and his half-brother.
"They were stupid, crazy, and they were going to die," Potts said she heard Vaughn screaming. "What do you mean?" asked Warren Paboojian, who represents Ireland's father, Joe Hudson. "Did he say they were going to die soon?"
"He said both of them were going to die soon," Potts said.
Potts says she saw bruises on Seth, like the black eye he had in his school picture in 2008, but the boy seemed terrified to talk to her.
So, she says she called police and Child Protective Services repeatedly over the course of a few months.
"How many times do you think you called?" Paboojian asked.
"I called numerous times," Potts said.
"More than 10?" Paboojian asked.
"About that many," Potts said.
But CPS says its records show only one such call -- from an anonymous reporter, even though Potts says she would've identified herself.
The CPS hotline call taker says her notes show there was a threat of physical abuse and behavior that was dangerous, but not extremely dangerous.
Her report made no mention of a specific death threat.
"Did the reporting person ever tell you specifically or words to the effect of 'I can hear the man telling them they're not going to live long?'" Paboojian asked call taker Melinda Garvey. "No," she said.
"Or they're going to die soon. Anything like that?" Paboojian asked.
"No," Garvey said.
Two and a half months later, Lebaron Vaughn killed Seth Ireland.
He's now serving a life sentence.
CPS reviewed its actions in the case and changed some policies, but eventually determined they didn't do anything wrong.
The jury in Ireland's father's lawsuit against the county will decide if they should've done more.
local, corin hoggard
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