Love and Betrayal

A South Carolina man killed his 5 young children this summer [1][2]. Whatever his state of mind at the time, Timothy Ray Jones, Jr. managed to drive across several states in order to dispose of the bodies.

Social workers had visited the engineer’s home a dozen times in the last three years without removing the children. Aged one through eight, the children seemed happy and normal, though their father appeared overwhelmed by the challenge of raising them alone. Jones and his wife are divorced.

Heartbreaking photos of the three boys and two girls appeared in the press. They were smiling.

Meanwhile, the FBI opened an investigation into the abuse of deaf and autistic children at NDA Behavioral Health a/k/a the National Deaf Academy, a 22 acre residential school in Florida licensed for 60 adult and 72 child patients [3]. Patients (some dually diagnosed) have reported physical and sexual abuse, and neglect. Three patients have died under allegedly negligent circumstances since 2009.

Between 2008 and 2013, there were over 500 calls to police ranging from abuse to runaways. Experts consider this figure high.

The Florida Department of Children and Families conducted 99 investigations, during roughly the same period, verifying only 5 cases of physical abuse and one of sexual abuse. However, the Agency for Health Care Administration verified that the facility failed to report 3 of 6 incidents, during a sample three month period in 2012.

Former NDA employees say they saw bruising, black eyes, and chokeholds, but incidents were covered up. NDA disputes this.

Parents who entrusted their children to the school are distraught.

Which of these was the greater betrayal, that by a parent or that by a facility holding itself out as specially qualified to deal appropriately with vulnerable patients? We may as well ask how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Both betrayals were tragic.

[1] Huffington Post, “Police: South Carolina Man Killed 5 Children Violently at Home” by Jeffrey Collins of Associated Press with Emily Wagster Pettus, John O’Connor, and Rogelio Solis, 9/11/04,

[2] NBC News, “Timothy Ray Jones, Dad of Five Slain Kids, Will Face Murder Charges” by Tracy Connor and Vivian Glover, 9/10/14,

[3] NBC News, “ ‘Mom, Please Help’: FBI Probing Alleged Abuse of Deaf, Autistic Kids,” by Aliza Nadi, 9/14/14,


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Filed under Abuse of Power, Child Abuse, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Sexual Abuse

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