CHARLESTON, WV (WVNS) — Tuesday, December 8, 2021, marks the one year-anniversary of one of the worst crimes against children in Greenbrier County.
One year ago, five children were murdered and the woman responsible committed suicide. Shaun Bumgarner, Riley Bumgarner, Aarikyle, Myers, Haiken Myers and Kian Myers were all killed by Oreanna Myers. After the children were killed, the home they were staying in was set on fire. This happened in Williamsburg, Greenbrier County.
Now, we are learning more about whether or not there were signs of abuse before the murders.
During a hearing of the Joint Committee on Children and Families on Tuesday, December 7, 2021, in Charleston, there were some questions brought up about the reporting process done by Child Protect Services hotline once they receive a referral of potential abuse or neglect.
In the hearing, Sarah Peters, a dental hygienist, testified about what she saw when one of the children came in for an appointment.
“The child seemed super scared of his dad. We also witnessed the dad in the parking lot being verbally abusive to the smaller child,” Peters said.
Peters said she also took a photo of a bruise on the child’s arm. This behavior caused some concern, so Peters called the CPS hotline to report what she saw and told them about the photo of the bruise.
“I was not through with my description and she never asked for the photograph, she just abruptly said I think I have all the information I need and the call ended,” Peters said.
Peters called the CPS hotline on August 10, 2020. The same day, she received a letter that said the report did not meet requirements for possible abuse or neglect and there was no investigation into the claim. Since there was no report, this information was never forwarded to the local CPS in Southern West Virginia or law enforcement, which resulted in no action taken.
Just four months later, five children, including the child in the referral were murdered. This case is a big motivation in ways to reform CPS to ensure horrific crimes like this don’t happen again.
Rebecah Carson, the Director of the DHHR’s Centralized Intake said there is now a new protocol in place as of October 2021, to record every phone call that is made to centralized intake.
“So if we have a complaint about how a call was handled or information was gathered, we can review that entire recording and act accordingly.”
Still, Senate Minority Leader Stephen Baldwin told 59News CPS is very overwhelmed and could use some reform. He plans to introduce legislation next month during the legislative session. He believes he will have support behind a bill to give CPS more guidelines to follow when it comes to reporting potential crimes against children.
59News will follow the legislation once it is introduced.