Investigator: Numerous abuse reports involving mom

11:47 PM, Nov 27, 2012   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- By all accounts, Camilia Terry had a rough life, but she also dished out her share of abuse to her own children, including Emilliano, according to his father and those who knew her.

Police discovered the body of 3-year-old Emilliano Terry stuffed in a garbage bag at a local trash processing plant Monday night. They arrested his mother in connection with the death.

Camilia Terry was 14 years old and in the care of county social services in 2007 when she gave birth to her first child, court records show.

Related story: Mother of boy found dead laid her life out on YouTube

Three years ago, Terry brought Emilliano into the world, and just five months ago she had a third son.

A spokeswoman for Cuyahoga County Department of Children and Family Services said the agency has received a number of calls, alleging Terry abused her children, dating back to 2007.

However, none of the allegations was ever substantiated, said DCFS spokeswoman Mary Louise Madigan.

Emilliano's father, Shawn Dotson, says that Terry changed after the birth of their son.

"She wasn't the same," Dotson said. "She was very depressed and stressed out...miserable. He was neglected. She didn't really give him as much attention or really care for him like she did the other children."

Dotson says he hasn't seen Emilliano for more than a year, believing that he was still living out of state with his mother. He said Terry continually dodged his attempts to connect with the boy.

In fact, Terry sent Emilliano more than a year ago to live with her grandfather in Mississippi so she could concentrate on caring for her older boy and attend school, according to court records.

Dotson did not even know Emilliano was back in town until he heard news reports Sunday that the boy was allegedly abducted from an East Side park.

"I want to know what happened," Dotson said. "What did she do to him?"  

Mildred Cobbs, the biological grandmother of Terry's oldest son, said she witnessed Terry physically and verbally abuse her two oldest children.

"I was really scared for the kids," said Cobbs, a school crossing guard who Emilliano called 'grandma.' "He was a sweetheart...a sweetheart."

Cobbs sought custody of the oldest boy in 2011 after Terry said she intended to send the boy to live with Emilliano at her grandfather's home in Mississippi, court records show.

She eventually dropped the complaint after Terry agreed to keep the boy in Cleveland.

Still, Terry mentioned several times to Cobb that she wanted nothing to do with the children, saying: "They get on my nerves. I just want them away from me."

Terry is no stranger to a difficult upbringing, according to DCFS records. She was first taken into DCFS custody as a 12-year-old after receiving allegations that Terry was abused.

The county first received reports that Terry was physically abused and neglected when she was just 8, said Madigan. An investigation found indications of neglect but could not substantiate the physical abuse.

Social workers received at least a dozen calls reporting that Terry was being abused, but none was substantiated, said Madigan.  

Terry remained in DCFS custody until February, 2011 when the court terminated custody.  She re-entered the system five months later, seeking help with housing, food and energy assistance.

Terry's other two children, ages 5 months and 5 years, were taken into foster care on Sunday when police went searching for Emilliano.


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