A foster mom is devastated and outraged after a 2-year-old boy was put back in the custody of his drug-addicted parents and died just months later.
Holly Tremblay said the system failed Matthew Navarrete Reyes and his three brothers. Despite being born with meth coursing through his bloodstream, a California judge granted custody to his biological mother, Blanca Reyes, WUSA 9 reported.
“We had to drop them off at that home, and they're screaming, 'Mommy, mommy, mommy!' as we're driving away,” Tremblay told the news station.
The 2-year-old boy was found dead a few months later, covered with cuts and bruises. Reyes allegedly admitted to police that her son suffered weeks of abuse and neglect in the home she lived in with Jonathan Navarrete-Turcios.
“It wasn't hard to believe at all, unfortunately, because we saw the signs,” added Tremblay, who is a special education teacher.
Tremblay said she can’t believe Los Angeles County Children and Family Services returned the boys back to their parents. She said they were already in bad shape when she and her husband took custody of the two oldest boys.
“Ringworm, bronchitis, they had sand. Dirty, dirty from head to toe. It's just horrible that they were returned and what happened to Matthew,” Tremblay said. “They were just the sweetest little guys. We just loved them so much.”
Prosecutors said both parents were addicted to meth. The judge ruled to return the children after Reyes got some help.
Still, Tremblay said social workers should have known that Reyes would get back together with her abusive boyfriend.
“Shortly after they stopped checking on Blanca she moved right back in with Jonathan,” Tremblay explained. “Moved across the country. And it was only a couple of months later that Matthew died.”
A spokesperson for Los Angeles County Children and Family Services said that California law requires reunification between parents and their children if it can be done safely. Tremblay said that clearly wasn’t the case here.
The three surviving boys have been placed in the custody of Social Services. The parents are now facing charges of murder.