BUFFALO, N.Y.- Theresa Saysay stands on her Guilford Street home, looking across the street at the house where earlier this week, a horrendous tragedy occurred.
Theresa also remembers a day three weeks ago when her neighbor came over and asked her to take in her 10 year old son Abdifatah for a few hours because as she said, the boy was afraid to be home with his step father. Saysay remembers the woman crying, saying that the stepfather, Ali Mohamed Mohamud "wanted to beat the boy".
Saysay took the boy in until about 11pm that night, and things seemed to blow over. She never called police or Child Protective Services. Three weeks later, Tuesday night, police did respond to the home for a missing child report. Abdifatah was found beaten to death in the basement.
The next day his stepfather was arrested, charged with second degree murder. Theresa Saysay says that she is still in shock and her children have had nightmares.
Buffalo Police confirm to us that since the beginning of 2010, they have responded 8 times to 30 Guilford. 4 of them were alarm calls that checked out with no problem. One was a street sign down in front of the home. Another was a family disturbance between the mother and a child, the mother was taken into custody. The seventh call was a noise complaint and the eighth call was Tuesday night.
It appears CPS was never called to the house. Director Robert Diesz says the standard for making a report is set very low so people won't be discouraged from calling.
"They do not need to have knowledge. They do not need to know for certain that a child is being neglected or abused. All they need is a reasonable suspicion," says Dietz.
Dietz says if a child is seen regularly with non-play related injuries, the child should be asked to explain them. If a child is not coached, Dietz says a child is good about explaining what happened to him or her.
If a report is made, Dietz says CPS is required to begin an investigation in 24 hours. They'll question the parents, teachers, doctors, and other family members, and they'll try to question the child one-on-one on a variety of topics like drugs and alcohol in the home, and how parents discipline them.
"And if there is something of significance that we can obtain independent verification of, then we can go forward with making an effort to providing some remedial assistance."
The New York State Central Register for Child Abuse and Maltreatment is just one of the places you can call to confidentially report child abuse or neglect. Their number is 1-800-342-3720.