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Maryland- outsourcing, starvation, autopsies, and previous entanglement with MD CWA under a false name

Special note to readers-

I’ve done multiple posts within this 24 hour period so be sure to see the post beneath this one as well.

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This is my fourth post following the horrific events in Maryland this past week, the grizzly discovery of two of Renee Bowman’s adopted daughters kept in a freezer in a Southern Maryland home and a third adopted daughter barely escaping with her life by jumping out of a window after being locked in and left alone. The brave 7 year-old showed long term signs of severe abuse.

My 3 earlier posts can be found by way of my Maryland tag.

As many new readers are finding my page via websearches, the short introduction is I’m an adult adoptee Bastard blogger, who lives in Maryland. If you want to know more, visit my about page, or simply explore some of the tags down the left side of my blog.

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I don’t have a lot of time to put this post together, but I at least wanted to provide a few of the links readers may want to explore further.

This AP piece details some of the concerns surrounding the issue of outsourcing home studies and other aspects of the process. Lack of oversight on the private contractors has been an ongoing issue.

AP, by way of The Capital DC welfare agency questioned about adoptions after deaths October 1, 2008:

Marcia Robinson Lowry, executive director of Children’s Rights, said the New York-based advocacy group has long had concerns about whether D.C.’s child welfare agency adequately supervises private contractors. The group brought a class-action lawsuit against the city nearly 20 years ago that eventually forced the child welfare system into receivership.

In July, Children’s Rights sought to hold the city in contempt for failing to make adequate progress. Lowry said work done by contractors was one of the concerns.

Wexler, of the reform group, said he worries that D.C. social workers might have been under pressure to hastily finalize adoptions because of payments — up to $8,000 per child — that state and local governments get from the federal government for adoptions.

Gerald said D.C. received an incentive award only in 2004, the year Bowman adopted the two younger girls.

While autopsy findings are not in yet, (and may not be for some time) we do have, by way of the Post, what Renee Bowman told police about how the two girls died.

Washington Post Starvation, Injury Cited as Causes of Girls’ Deaths October 2, 2008:

The Calvert County woman who is being investigated in the death of her two adopted daughters found frozen in her home told police that one child died of starvation and the other died after apparently falling backward, two law enforcement sources said today.

Also be sure to note this paragraph from the same article concerning the private contractor who did the initial home study (Board of Child Care of the United Methodist Church in Baltimore, a faith-based organization:)

The private agency that performed the initial study of Bowman’s application to become a foster parent, and eventually an adoptive parent, released a statement yesterday saying that its recommendations were reviewed by CFSA and Superior Court. The Baltimore-based agency, the Board of Child Care, has a $2.7 million contract to provide services to CFSA through Jan. 31.

Also see the Washington Post for More Tests Are Needed To ID Girls In Freezer October 2, 2008, which clarifies the series of moves, county to county:

“This is an unusual case where all of these girls had limited exposure to the outside world,” Baur said.

As detectives awaited further findings from the medical examiner, they continued to try to trace Bowman’s movements from Montgomery to Charles County to Calvert. The children were apparently in the freezer when it was moved to each location. Investigators have found no record of school attendance in those counties for the children, who would be 9 and 11, or for their 7-year-old sister, who was found wandering a Calvert street last week.

Here are two more pieces:

Gazette.net Initial autopsy of frozen human remains did not show cause of death October 2, 2008

AP, By way of the Baltimore Sun Girls in freezer had likely been dead for months October 2, 2008

WTOP radio is reporting that the remains are those of the two adopted girls, Sources: Remains in freezer are adopted girls October 2, 1:04pm

Authorities are confident the two young girls found in a freezer in a southern Maryland home are the adopted daughters of Renee Bowman, according to sources close to the investigation.

and

Sources say the girl’s names and photos will be released in the hopes someone may remember seeing the girls alive. Police say this could help determine when and where they died.

As I had mentioned in earlier posts, many neighbors were unaware Bowman even had kids.

See WJZ-TV 13 Dead Girls’ Mother Was Investigated For Neglect October 2, 2008

Montgomery County police say it’s almost as if the three adopted girls didn’t exist in to the outside world.

In the house where they believe two of them were murdered, neighbors say they don’t remember seeing children, and they were never enrolled in any Maryland school.

Neighbors in southern Maryland also say they didn’t ever see the surviving child outdoors.

We also learn that Bowman HAD been visited by a caseworker responding to an anonymous tip about her while living in Charles County (between her time in Montgomery and Calvert Counties.) The visit had not shown up in initial searches as Bowman was living under an assumed name in Charles County:

For a short time, Bowman lived in Charles County too, and Social Services is reporting it did respond to a complaint about a neglected child there in January.

They say when they arrived, the child looked healthy and the house clean.

and

Earlier this week, the state Child Welfare Agency said it had never been contacted about Bowman, but when they learned the 43-year-old woman did use an alias late Thursday, they did find that complaint about child neglect.

The Maryland Department of Human Resources issued the following statement involving the case:

“Earlier this week, the Maryland Department of Human Resources (DHR) conducted a state-wide search of our data systems to determine whether our agency had ever received a child abuse, neglect or abandonment complaint regarding the Bowman family.

After learning yesterday that Ms. Bowman may have used a fictitious name while she resided in Charles County, we conducted an additional search of our records.

This additional search has uncovered that DHR received a single, anonymous call from a person reporting an allegation of child neglect.

This call resulted in a caseworker visiting Ms. Bowman’s home in January of 2008. During the visit, the caseworker observed the home to be clean and appropriately furnished but did notice a smell of mildew in the home. Dogs and cats were also in the home.

Ms. Bowman reported the smell in the home was caused by a water leak in her basement. The child was observed to be of appropriate weight and good health. Conditions in the home were adequate to meet the needs of the child. Based on these findings and observations no neglect was found at that time.

DHR staff will work with law enforcement and the state’s attorneys’ office as this complicated investigation continues.”

A second similar story can be found in the Baltimore Sun Social workers found no problem at Bowman home, October3, 2008, which confirms the name deception:

Bowman used a false name while living in Charles County, officials said.

It appears that Bowman moved from Charles County to Calvert County sometime shortly after the social worker’s visit, perhaps trying to stay one step ahead of entanglement with the system in any form.

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Finally, perhaps somewhat separated from links bearing at least some resemblance to ‘news’, we find today’s Washington Post piece, Shopping On eBay As Girls Lay Dead, which begins to looks a hell of a lot less like actual news and more like the national tabloids. None-the-less, read the piece, it does contain some pertinent details, it’s a shame the writers, Petula Dvorak, Meg Smith and Ashley Halsey III couldn’t be bothered to write such into a real news story.

While titillating readers and appealing to Americans’ socially voyeuristic tendencies, detailing Bowman’s recent eBay purchases down to the clothing size, or her “love for the Internet — she had at least three e-mail addresses” (good grief! Utilizing three e-mail addresses is enough to tag you as somehow extraordinary? Oh please!) and her mention of “Dexter” as her favourite television show, the article completely misses the core fundamental aspect of the Bowman case when the authors ponder:

…fact-finding is unlikely to answer one of the questions that make the case so horrifying: How could a mother go on with life knowing that her daughters lay encased in ice in the freezer?

That aspect of course, being that Bowman was an ADOPTIVE mother, these were her ADOPTED daughters.

Whether or not that made it any easier for her to do what she did we may never know.

But what we do know is that unlike biological parents, Bowman went through a state-run (o.k. D.C, District run) vetting process, and was state approved to parent, not once by three times over.

That is what lies at the heart of this case, not irrelevant space fillers along the lines of “”I love to shop!”

(All of which is to say, articles focusing on eBay habits on page A-1 means it’s time for the Post to get its eye back on the ball.)

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