Mother of child struck, killed at group home wants answers

Neighbors of "The Lighthouse" are calling for drastic measures after 12-year-old was struck, killed on busy road.
March 13, 2014 7:31:14 PM PDT
The ABC11 I-Team is shining a spotlight on the state of a group home in Johnston County.

On Monday, a 12-year-old boy staying at "The Lighthouse" was hit and killed on the side of Ranch Road, in front of the home. Now his mom is pushing for answers. She wants to know who was watching him and how this could happen.

A survey from DHHS indicated problems at the group home as recent as last year. Neighbors say they frequently see children playing near or in the street, and they say it did not have to come this.

"I haven't slept in two days. I can't even close my eyes. And something's got to be done because it didn't have to happen," one neighbor told ABC11.

Neighbors of "The Lighthouse" mental health facility in Clayton are calling for drastic measures after 12-year-old Khalil Todd was hit and killed on the busy road Monday night.

One woman spoke to ABC11 but did not want to show her face for fear of backlash. She has reported the facility before for children playing in the street unattended.

"I saw him Saturday around lunch time running away with a stick in his hand and the counselor finally got up and got him, but that's a constant thing," said one neighbor.

Anthony Bullard also lives nearby and has encountered similar situations.

"It has surprised me for knowing what the place is for them to be out here in the road without supervision," Bullard said.

According to DHHS records, the lighthouse has been operating since 2001. It is a level three residential treatment facility for young men with mental health issues. That means it is structured and highly supervised. However, in its latest survey, DHHS reveals problems within the group home, including one client who ran away on three different occasions last year in less than three months.

DHHS says the facility did not have a strategy for dealing with runaways. It also revealed minor safety concerns inside the building and instances where medication was not being properly administrated. According to the report, the issues were fixed and no administrative action was ever required.

Since 2006, the Johnston County Sheriff's Office has responded to "The Lighthouse" 213 times, most of the calls involving runaways, disturbances, and residents going missing or having trouble with patients.

DHHS now has an investigator on the site and says it will take appropriate action if necessary.

The I-Team knocked on the door of "The Lighthouse" Wednesday, but a man inside said they are not saying anything until the investigation is finished. No charges have been filed.

The Highway Patrol is currently handling the case and says that it will be up to the Johnston County District Attorney once their investigation is complete.

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