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Child Protector Kills Her Own Son

February 25, 2009 permalink

What kind of people do social service agencies hire to protect your children? Sandra Renia Joseph is an employee of the Louisiana Department of Social Services, recently with the Office of Community Services, the agency administering child protection. Last Saturday she deliberately killed her own eleven-year old son Samuel Udomeh by running over him with an SUV. The second article enclosed below gives enough details that we know the boy was her natural child, not adopted. One clue to his problems is that at the age of three months a court rubber-stamped a protective order that kicked his father Fidel Udomeh out of his life.



February 25, 2009

Cops: Mom runs over son

Posted: 09:38 AM ET

Sandra Renia Joseph
Sandra Renia Joseph was charged with first-degree murder.

Gabriel Falcon, AC360° Writer

There are cases that shock even the toughest of cops. The crimes that make hardened detectives sick to their stomachs. This is one of them.

A mother in Louisiana is accused of killing her own child. Investigators say the murder weapon was an SUV. And published reports describe the suspect as a former police officer.

The incident occurred Saturday morning. At around 9:15am on February 21, a call came into the Saint Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office. A woman said she was walking along a rural road when she noticed a silver Suzuki SUV with extensive front damage. She said the driver told her to contact the police because she had just run over her son.

When the authorities arrived at the scene, they say the driver said the same thing to them – that she had run over her son. They also allege she directed them to his body. The victim was found next to a barn near the road. Samuel Utomeh was 11-years-old.

According to the police, there were multiple points of impact that caused severe blunt force trauma to the child. His mother, Sandra Renia Joseph, was charged with first-degree murder. The 49-year-old is being held without bond.

The Daily World newspaper says Joseph was a Lafayette Police Officer from 1985 until 1990. According to the paper, she now works at the Louisiana Department of Social Services, which is in the process of suspending her until the case is closed.

The story has stunned many in the community, among them, Jimmy Darbonne. The Public Information Officer for the Saint Landry Sheriff’s Office says he’s worked in law enforcement for years, but has never seen anything like this before.

Source: CNN / Anderson Cooper blog, February 24, 2009

Child's death investigated

Officials say mother admitted to running over 11-year-old son

William Johnson, (Opelousas) Daily World

As police spent Monday trying to piece together why a mother would run down her 11-year-old child in a sport utility vehicle, family members expressed shock and disbelief at the brutal act.

Sandra Renia Joseph, 49 of Lafayette has been charged with first-degree murder after her son Sam Udomeh was found dead Saturday in a rural area outside Grand Coteau.

Samuel's father and stepmother, Fidel and Felicia Udomeh, said the news came as a shock to them.

"I didn't think she would have done anything to hurt Sam," Felicia Udomeh said. "I thought she would have taken her own life before the child's. I didn't think it was that bad."

Investigators say the boy was standing beside a metal farm building when his mother's vehicle struck him with great force.

Joseph, a former Lafayette police officer, has no criminal history in St. Landry Parish or Lafayette Parish.

Investigators are trying to find out what led to the child's death.

"I met with the lady's family today - her mother, father and brother - they were very disturbed," St. Landry Parish Sheriff Bobby Guidroz said Monday.

"Anytime a mother takes her own child's life, there is a possibility of mental issues. I think that is the case here," Guidroz said.

According to Guidroz, the mother admitted during questioning that she ran over the child on purpose.

Joseph is being held in the St. Landry Parish Jail without bond.

Felicia Udomeh, said Sam, a Paul Breaux Middle School sixth-grader, was an "energetic and loving" child.

"Sam had his good and bad days just like any other child his age, but he was very intelligent and captivated everyone that he came across," she said. "Children and adults that knew him are very broken up over this."

The aspiring doctor played basketball and baseball, loved the French Immersion Program offered at school and loved to try different restaurants in the Lafayette area, they said.

Investigators say the scene revealed multiple points of impact where the vehicle had struck Sam, causing severe blunt force trauma.

Joseph, in what police described as "a very confused state," was found in her vehicle about a block away. The brand new silver Suzuki SUV, its left front end badly damaged, still carried its cardboard dealer's license plate.

The former Lafayette police officer - from March 1985 until October 1990 - grew up in Opelousas, Guidroz said she has no criminal history in St. Landry Parish or Lafayette Parish.

The murder investigation began when Sheriff's deputies were called to a rural area in the 200 block of Boxie Road outside Grand Coteau at 9:15 a.m. Saturday.

Joseph had apparently asked the someone to alert authorities after the incident, according to investigators.

When deputies arrived, the body of Joseph's son Sam was lying on the ground beside a farm building about 100 yards off the road.

Like investigators, the boy's father and his wife say they are trying to figure out what could have driven Joseph to this point.

"She has family and his father that would have taken [Sam] easily," she said. "She could have dropped him off here with only the clothes on his back, and we would have taken him just like that."

The last time they said they saw Samuel was in October 2008, when they took him to a Nigerian Independence celebration.

Fidel said there was a huge time gap from when he last saw his son because Joseph had gotten upset with him about disciplining Sam.

According to Lafayette Parish court records, Joseph filed a protective order against Fidel Udomeh in September 1997, when Samuel was about three months old.

"He has made threats to shake the child, place the child in danger and threatened to run off with the child," according to the protective order.

Fidel Udomeh denies these claims.

The protective order was officially court approved in Dec. 1, 1997 and was resolved in 2002.

Fidel Udomeh said because of the order, he was only allowed to visit with his son in public places.

Samuel, according to his stepmother, did not begin visiting their home without supervision until 2006.

At the time of the incident, Joseph was employed with the Louisiana Rehabilitation Service, which is part of the Department of Social Services, according to DSS spokesman Trey Williams.

Since 1995, she has worked at DSS on disability issues.

Prior to working for the Louisiana Rehabilitation Services, she worked at the Office of Community Services, another service that falls under DSS' umbrella.

Williams said in accordance with civil service rules, the department is taking steps to suspend her employment until criminal proceedings are complete.

There were no records filed with the department indicating "any history of abuse or neglect in the family," according to Williams.

"Tragedy is always difficult when a child is killed, but especially tough on the staff," he said. "To have an employee allegedly responsible for this act is particularly troublesome."

(Public service reporter Claire Taylor contributed to this report.)

Source: The Daily Advertiser, Lafayette