Her neighbors reported that she seemed to be a devoted mother, and often sat out on the front steps with little Zahree on her lap. They also said she was a good neighbor, always helping out whenever the need arose. However, late Tuesday night, they said they saw her sitting on the front steps looking distraught with her boyfriend by her side.
Around midnight, she called 911 to report that someone had harmed Zahree. She was still on the phone with the 911 operator when officers arrived on the scene, but by the time they broke a window on the second floor and got in, she'd apparently stabbed herself in the neck and died. Little Zahree's head was discovered in the freezer after police found his body.
Some questions that need to be answered:
- Was Camden mother Chevonne Thomas mentally ill, or was she on drugs that night? She had previously lost custody of Zahree in 2010 for leaving him unattended in a car after she smoked a mixture of PCP and marijuana called "wet," and passed out.
- Where does the boyfriend fit into all of this? Was he present at the time of Zahree's death? Why was Chevonne distraught earlier that evening? Had she already killed her son? Was she having a mental breakdown and the boyfriend was trying to calm her?
- Chevonne had previously tried to get help before she lost custody of Zahree in 2010, according to a former neighbor. Did she ever get help, and if so, was she still receiving help? If she wasn't getting help for drug addiction or mental health issues, why not, especially if she had previously sought help?
- Why was Ms. Thomas not evaluated by psychological professionals, and why do the Camden police not have enough information about her mental health, despite having records that Zahree had only recently returned to her?
Thomas had regained custody of her son not because she had fulfilled any requirements, but because a witness's testimony was found to be unreliable. But because the little boy was already in foster care, it took about 2 years for Thomas to get him back.
The poor little boy never stood a chance, and even the most hardened police officer is affected by this case. Could the mother have been helped? If the witness's testimony had not been questioned, then this little boy would be alive today, and his mother might have gotten some help.