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Children Killed Preemptively

July 16, 2006 permalink

Child protection efforts have caused the death of two children in Ohio. The story below reports the death of one, the other died later.

A woman who had both an abortion and a child given up for adoption reported that the emotional pain of giving up the live child was much greater. The mother in today's story made a choice out of the same pain, and killed her children in preference to losing them. Many of the other news stories on this incident omit the threat of child loss, reporting on a mother killing her children without apparent cause.

Because of the notoriety of the case, the newspaper reported the steps of family destruction, normally kept confidential. First the father, who admitted to improper conduct, was driven out of the home. His livelihood was imperiled, facing him with loss of his income. The then-defenseless single mother was bullied into making concessions to child protectors, leading ultimately to the total loss of her children.



Agency was within hours of removing kids from the home

Allegations of sex abuse led to the intervention of a protective agency and a ban on the dad's presence in home.

July 18, 2006, Dayton Daily News, By Lou Grieco, Rob Modic and Kelli Wynn

WEST CARROLLTON — Hours before Thursday's fire that killed a 4-month-old girl and severely injured her brother, a Montgomery County Children Services caseworker visited their home.

The purpose of visit was to tell their mother, Heather R. Silverman, that the agency was moving to take custody of the children, according to Ann Stevens, Children Services spokeswoman.

Though Children Services would appear before a Montgomery County Juvenile Court magistrate later Thursday, Keylee Silverman died before the 3 p.m. hearing. Her mother was charged Friday with murder and aggravated arson.

Firefighters were called to the Silverman's home, 642 Maple Hill Drive, at 12:47 p.m. It was fully engulfed when they arrived, West Carrollton Deputy Police Chief Doug Woodard said.

"Several valiant attempts were made to save the 4-month-old," he said.

The baby, found in the burning house, was pronounced dead at the scene. Her 4-year-old brother suffered second- and third-degree burns over much of the front of his body. He remained in critical condition Friday night at Shiners Burns Hospital.

Early Friday, after an alert was issued to law enforcement officers in southwest Ohio to be on the lookout for Heather Silverman, police arrested the 24-year-old at the Cincinnati hospital, Woodard said.

An autopsy was done Friday, but the cause of death would probably be deferred pending the return of tests and additional investigation, said Ken Betz, director of the Montgomery County Coroner's Office.

How the children services' case evolved

The agency had an open case with the Silverman family since June 6, Stevens said.

That day, West Carrollton police received a complaint that the children's father, Doron Silverman, had been sexually abusing the son, according to an affidavit filed with a search warrant.

The boy told two people he had been molested by his father, according to the affidavit, which also reported that when questioned by police, Doron Silverman admitted engaging in sex acts with the boy.

Silverman, who worked at Chuck E. Cheese, 30 Prestige Place in Miamisburg, also admitted having a temptation with sexual thoughts concerning the children he saw at work. He was convicted of child molestation in 1994, when he was 13, the affidavit said. The offense occurred in Marion County, Ind.

On June 14, detectives visited Silverman at the Red Roof Inn in Miamisburg, where he was staying. When they asked to search his laptop computer, he refused, according to the affidavit.

A warrant to search was issued June 21 to West Carrollton police by a Miamisburg Municipal Court judge. That day, police searched the couple's home and their vehicles. They seized computer disks, cell phones, a computer, a video recorder and a remote camera found in one of the children's bedroom.

No charges have been filed against Doron Silverman, but Woodard said the investigation will continue.

Following the June 6 complaint, children services had put a "safety plan" in place with several restrictions, including that Doron Silverman, 25, not be allowed in the house, Stevens said. Doron and Heather bought the house in 2003, according to county real estate records.

About 9:45 a.m. Thursday, a case worker went to the house and told Heather Silverman the agency was moving to take custody, and that there would be a hearing before a Juvenile Court magistrate at 3 p.m. The mother was cooperative and said she might attend with an attorney, Stevens said.

The agency moved to take the children because caseworkers thought the family was not meeting the terms of the safety plan, Stevens said, noting that she could not be more specific about those concerns.

Late Thursday, Judge Nick Kuntz of Juvenile Court placed the boy in the temporary custody of children services, Stevens said.

Doron Silverman has worked at the Chuck E. Cheese since September 2002. He was suspended June 14, Dick Huston, executive vice president for Chuck E. Cheese, said in a phone interview from his Irving, Texas, office.

"He came to his general manager and told him that he was under investigation by child protective services," Huston said. "One of the child protective services' conditions was that he not be around children."

Huston said he was told by management in Miamisburg that Silverman said he was being investigated "because his in-laws are alleging child abuse."

Silverman's job was to repair games, the sound system and computers. Huston said that doesn't mean that he wasn't around children.

When Silverman told his general manager about the investigation, he asked if he could work nights. His request was rejected after local management notified the corporate office about the investigation.

If the suspension continues another 15 days, Huston said, Silverman will be fired.

Friday, Silverman declined comment.

The charges against Heather Silverman

After meeting with West Carrollton investigators for five hours Friday, Montgomery County Prosecutor Mathias H. Heck Jr. announced charges of felony murder and aggravated arson would be filed against Heather Silverman.

The murder charge does not require evidence of purposeful killing. It requires prosecutors to prove the infant died as a result of an aggravated arson.

Murder carries a mandatory penalty of 15 years to life in prison; aggravated arson carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

Heather Silverman's mother, Deborah L. Boyd of Kokomo, Ind., said, "They love those kids. We visited their house a month and a half ago."

Doron C. Silverman and Heather R. Boyd applied for a marriage license in July 2001, according to the Indianapolis Star. Their son was born the following February, according to Star archives.

Martin Silverman, who adopted and raised Doron, said the couple married about five years ago and lived with the Silvermans for a while.

"Doron got a job in Dayton. They settled down. We had had the grandchildren every six or seven weeks."

Frank Malocu, Doron's attorney, said he became involved in Doron's case two weeks ago but neither investigators nor prosecutors have provided any information. He said Doron Silverman had moved to Columbus.

Jeffrey Rezabek, Heather Silverman's attorney in the dependency case involving the children, said she had signed a safety plan with Children Services that was to have expired Thursday night.

About a week ago, West Carrollton investigators sought to interview the 4-year-old boy again, Rezabek said.

Rezabek said he countered that the boy had been interviewed twice and questioned the necessity of a third interview. Nevertheless, Rezabek said, the boy was interviewed and afterward there were allegations the child was being coached.

Next, Rezabek said, Children Services sought custody of the children, contending it was anticipated that Heather would not sign a second safety plan. Rezabek said he was never presented a second safety plan.

Staff Writer Jim DeBrosse contributed to this report.

Source: Dayton Daily News