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December 7, 2007 permalink
An adopted boy is the subject of attempted homicide by his "forever dad", child protective services worker Art Bracke. This case is another example of a child protection insider with an adopted child.
Man charged with attempted murder
A retired social services officer set fire to his home with his son inside, officials say.
— A retired Middlesex County social services officer is awaiting extradition from a Maryland jail to Middlesex County on charges he torched his Wake home while his adopted son slept inside.
Art Bracke, who retired this summer after more than 20 years as a child protective services officer in Middlesex, is charged with arson and first-degree attempted murder in the Nov. 17 fire at his Mill Wharf Road home.
A state police arson investigator was called to the scene shortly after firefighters responded to the blaze around 1 p.m. Nov. 17, according to Lavinia Thornton, public information officer for the Middlesex Sheriff's department.
Josh Bracke, 19, was inside the home when the fire started but was unharmed, Thornton said. He told police later that when he ran out of the house, he saw his father speed out of the driveway, according to the sheriff's office.
Around 5 p.m. that day, Bracke, 61, was involved in a head-on collision near Joppa, Md., north of Baltimore, said Maryland State Police Investigator J.E. DeCourcy. When Bracke was arrested, just a few miles from the accident scene, he was carrying two handguns that were not registered in Maryland, DeCourcy said.
Bracke was taken into custody and charged by Maryland state police with DUI, leaving the scene of an accident and two counts of possession of a concealed deadly weapon.
As the county's senior social services officer, Bracke investigated reports of child abuse and neglect and worked with courts to place children in foster homes. According to press clippings and a Web site maintained by Bracke, he founded and served as executive director of New Beginnings, a therapeutic foster home for boys located in Newport News and later in Middlesex.
He ran the home from 1975 to 1985, according to his Web site.
Bracke is being held without bail at the Harford County Detention Center, Bel Air, Md. Extradition to Virginia should take about a month, Thornton said.
Source: Newport News Daily Press