HOLT, Mo. - Friends and family of Lucas Webb, the 4-year-old Holt boy who died after his stepmother allegedly kicked him in the stomach, are questioning if state agencies did enough to help the child.
Those who claim they knew Webb best are pleading for answers. Their asking why, if Lucas told someone his stepmother was abusing him as court documents reveal, was nothing done to stop it?
RELATED | Friends, family of Lucas Webb want answers in his death http://bit.ly/OVZ9gw
Shanna Crocker cared for Lucas as his babysitter during the first three years of his life. She nicknamed him "Happy Camper."
"The kid could fall down and get back up and laugh and I don't think I could recall a day I ever saw him cry," Crocker said.
Crocker hasn't watched the boy since January. That's when family members told 41 Action News the boy’s father and stepmother moved him to Acorn Patch, an early childhood development center in Kearney, Mo.
Family members alleged daycare teachers contacted the Missouri Department of Social Services when they noticed injuries on Lucas' body.
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"It's heartbreaking. People need to be aware if you see it, or you know it, tell somebody. And authorities have to listen. Why don't they listen?" Laurie Rogers, a family friend, asked.
Jeanetta Issa from the Child Abuse Prevention Association may have an explanation, claiming that part of the problem is due to confidentiality.
“Child protective services are not obligated and certainly don't get back to the people who report abuse because they're not allowed to," Issa explained. "So, the bottom line is if people make a report and they don’t see the conditions improve, they need to report it again."
According to court documents, Lucas Webb had told somebody several weeks ago that his stepmother, Melissa Webb, kicked him in the stomach.
Investigators said Lucas was kicked a second and final time before he died.
Melissa and the Lucas' father, Justin Webb, have both been arrested and charged in his death.
RELATED | Dad, stepmother charged with murder http://bit.ly/RXcp1W
The director of the Acorn Patch School, Jacque Banks, could not confirm that her employees contacted authorities. She did note that her staff follows state guidelines to report any suspected child abuse and they "take that role very seriously."
Issa noted that all too often adults dismiss children's story about abuse because of their age. However, she said it is extremely important to take those stories seriously.
The Missouri Department of Family Services told 41 Action News it could take several weeks to know if they have any information on the abuse of Lucas Webb.
A funeral date has not been set.
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