Two Department of Social Services employees fired after 4-year-old's death

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - The Missouri Department of Social Services has fired two employees after 4-year-old Lucas Webb died, citing that proper policy was not followed in the months leading up to his death.

DDS released records Monday showing exactly how much the department knew about 4-year-old Lucas Webb prior to his death in October 2012 from blunt force trauma to his abdomen.

The 41 Action News Investigators started requesting these records in October 2012, following reports that Lucas' daycare made repeated hotline calls concerned about his welfare.

Lucas' dad, Justin Webb, and step-mom, Melissa Webb, face second degree murder charges for his death. Prosecutors believe Melissa Webb kicked Lucas in the stomach weeks before his death and his parents did not seek medical care to help his injuries.

The records show that Lucas Webb was no stranger to case workers. Over his life, the department received five separate hotline calls concerned about his welfare.

The first call came in 2009, when Lucas was just a year old, concerning hygiene. Later that same year, they would receive another hotline call, this time about bruises on Lucas' body.

Months before Lucas' death, his daycare made two separate hotline calls about his well-being.

In January, the reporter expressed concerns about bruises on Lucas' bottom. Lucas reportedly told the caller that his dad had hit him with "a switch." However, the bruises were reported as round.

According to the report, the Webbs told the social worker that Lucas bruised easily and fell down on his bottom outside. The social worker closed the case as "unsubstantiated."

In September, the daycare once again made a hotline call about Lucas. This time, the caller named a number of concerns including scabbed over tooth marks on his lips, bruises on his face and temple. Lucas also reportedly told the caller that a "monster" had touched his private parts. He also said that his step-mom had kicked him in the stomach with a foot and that she was mad at him when she did it.

Workers at his daycare were concerned he looked much thinner and was lethargic. They were concerned primarily that he hadn't eaten.

Once again, social workers dismissed the case as unsubstantiated.

Lucas died on October 15, 2012. Medical reports show in addition to his internal injuries, he had bruises all over his body, including his private parts.

DDS issued the following statement Tuesday evening:

"The death of any child is a tragedy and the Department of Social Services deeply regrets the death of Lucas Barnes. In all cases where we have a child death or serious injury, we review those incidents to determine whether staff complied with law and policy, or to determine whether policy needed to be changed.  The department looked into the case of Lucas Barnes and determined that policy was not followed.  As a result, appropriate personnel actions was taken and two employees are no longer working for the Department of Social Services."

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