Family of starved infant say investigators could have prevented death
The family of an Indianapolis baby boy who allegedly died of starvation at the hands of his mother, claims investigators could have done more to prevent the death from happening.
Fox 59 news reviewed newly released records into the death of two month old Phillip Robey, and found that both the Indiana Department of Child Services and Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department investigated concerns about the welfare of baby Phillip. However, the two agencies say they were unaware that the other was involved until after the baby died.
In early November officer arrested 29 year old Bambi Glazebrook for murder. Investigators found marijuana in Glazebrook’s system, filthy conditions in her home and baby Phillip dead from starvation. According to the charging documents, baby Phillip weighed just five pounds, and he was stiff by the time officers arrived, meaning he had likely been dead for several hours.
Despite the conditions officers found during her arrest, when IMPD responded to calls from concerned family and friends on October 25th – just two weeks prior to his death – IMPD Public Information Officer Linda Jackson told Fox59 that the officer reported much different conditions.
“The officers responded and made contact with Ms. Glazebrook, her father (baby`s grandfather) and observed the infant. At that time, they determined that the conditions in the house were acceptable,” Jackson wrote, in a written statement to Fox59 News. “The officers also said the infant was alert and in good condition.”
“I don’t understand how (the officers) could say that everything was fine when there was clearly something wrong,” said Martha Robertson, Bambi Glazebrook’s cousin.
Robertson doesn’t believe the officers’ account. She was one of the two people who called police in late October. The other person who called police also painted a different picture. According to court papers, the woman told investigators she was in the home the home on October 24th. She said the “house was a disaster”, baby Phillip was “in a drawer in an entertainment cabinet” and when she touched Phillip’s back “all she felt were bones”.
“The baby was so sickly that, I mean, it looked like you would break him if you touched him and I don’t understand how a police officer could come in and say that everything was fine,” Robertson said.
The Department of Child Services never had a chance to see for themselves. Despite having an investigation of their own.
Glazebrook was no stranger to DCS. Her history included neglect due to a drug exposed infant and three children previously removed from her care.
From September to October DCS received several reports that baby Phillip was also in danger, but DCS wasn’t successful making contact with Glazebrook or baby Phillip.
Several of the early visits to Glazebrook’s home, were actually to an address where she no longer lived. DCS investigators still attempted to contact her, and did eventually make an attempt at the correct address, however, Glazebrook never responded to the door, replied to repeated letters or answered phone calls.
What DCS didn’t know, was that IMPD had successfully made contact with Glazebrook. In fact, child services didn’t know IMPD officers had visited the home until after baby Phillip died.
“DCS cannot speak for IMPD, or speculate on what might have happened during their run to the home,” said DCS Spokesperson Stephanie MacFarland. “Our social workers must rely on the eyes and ears of the community — including professional reporters (law enforcement, schools, hospitals, etc.) to report child abuse or neglect when they suspect or encounter it.”
IMPD stands by the officer’s account.
“There wasn`t justification, based on the information that the officers gathered on October 25th, 2012 to notify DCS,” Officer Jackson said in a statement to Fox59 News. “Additionally, IMPD had no information about prior contact between DCS and Glazebrook.”
According to IMPD, officers didn’t know about the DCS investigation because they didn’t have a “flag” on Glazebrook’s home, which tells officers about a court order assigning DCS to active supervision of a family. However, according to DCS, each time they investigate allegations of abuse or neglect, a different electronic report is automatically sent to IMPD.