DENVER (CBS4)– The mayor of Denver announced a new team designed to protect the city’s children after the child abuse death of a toddler where the Department of Human Services was involved.
“What happened to Javion, I know everyone agrees, should never happen in this city,” said Denver Mayor Michael Hancock. “My heart continues to hurt as I know this entire city does for the loss of this little boy.”
Javion Johnson was just 23 months old when he died. His mother and her boyfriend, Candice Lampley and Delonta Crank, have been charged with first-degree murder, child abuse resulting in death and child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury in his death.
Johnson was brought to a hospital emergency room in Denver on July 8. The charges allege that the victim died from injuries sustained while in the care of Crank, 36, and Lampley, 29.
Johnson is the latest child to die in Denver allegedly at the hands of those who are supposed to be caring for them. Within the past 18 months, 2-year-old Kemit Smith was allegedly killed by his mother’s boyfriend; Kelsey Skinner was only 21 when she allegedly beat her 2-month-old daughter to death during a drunken night she said she doesn’t remember, a Denver caseworker was also charged in that case.
Johnson’s grandfather told CBS4 he saw burns on the boy just before his death, “It is an awful reality that children in our society are hurt and neglected by bigger people.”
Hancock brought together non-profits and nearly every government agency that deals with children in the Denver metro area.
“Denver and all our partners work hard to protect them but the child welfare system as we have found, is imperfect,” said Hancock. “To take steps to make sure our processes are tight continuing the review of the child welfare system and do everything we can to prevent our children in Denver from being harmed.”
Last year the Department of Human Services in Denver received 30,000 calls for 8,600 cases but only 20 percent were reported by concerned citizens.
“Who in the community has the eyes on Denver’s children and how do we help? All of help our children? That is what this impact team will be taking a deep dive into,” said Hancock. “Protecting children is all of our responsibilities.”
Crank and Lampley remain in custody without bond.