Authorities Missed Signs in Case of Boy Burned and Beaten to Death

(CNN) -- New York City child welfare case workers failed to notice that the father of a 4-year-old boy who died after being tortured was locked up for five months after a court gave him custody of the boy, said a review of the case ordered by Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The review revealed that the agency charged with protecting children missed signs that boy was at risk.

"We can't look at a situation like this and say that business as usual is acceptable," de Blasio said at a Friday news conference.

On January 8, Myls Dobson was found unconscious and unresponsive on the floor of a bathroom at the Ritz Plaza, a luxury high-rise in the Hell's Kitchen section of Manhattan. He had been subjected to weeks of abuse, allegedly at the hands of his caregiver. Myls was later pronounced dead at a hospital.

The boy's father, Okee Wade, 37, who has a lengthy arrest record, pleaded guilty in New Jersey on Thursday to a charge of second-degree racketeering in connection with an elaborate bank fraud scheme. A judge ordered him released on his own recognizance until February 6 to attend his son's funeral, according to the state attorney general's office. Wade was arrested days after dropping his son off with a caregiver in mid-December.

The review, which includes a list of reforms for the city Administration for Children's Services, found that the agency never checked in with Wade's parole officer as a judge had ordered. In addition, case workers did not know the boy's father had been arrested on fraud charges in another case in 2012 -- even after visiting the Brooklyn apartment where he lived nine times while he was behind bars.

"We were told that the father was working, and was working very long hours, 16 hours a day, and that's why he wasn't available," Gladys Carrion, the head of the agency, said at the news conference.

She added, "Should we have done something differently? Yes, we should have."

2011 abuse allegation

Myls' family first came into contact with the ACS in January 2011, when the agency received an allegation of abuse. The case was closed in August.

The review found that case workers failed to learn that Wade was in jail from September 2012 to February 2013 despite visiting his home. Wade's girlfriend at the time told them he was at work.

Carrion said that case workers reported that Myls appeared safe and healthy during the visits.

De Blasio ordered a review of all cases involving court-ordered supervision at the agency and said custodians must now get a family court judge's approval before supervision ends.

"It is very, very painful to know that this child went through such agony," the mayor said.

The review of the case found that the ACS "did not explore in detail" the allegations of abuse and did not seek an emergency removal of the child from the home.

Wade had left Myls with a woman in Manhattan days before he was arrested, police said.

The woman, Kryzie King, 27, was indicted in connection with the boy's death in Manhattan criminal court Wednesday.

She has been charged with first-degree assault, first-degree reckless endangerment, endangering the welfare of a child and unlawful imprisonment. A prosecutor told the court that King also was being investigated on suspicion of murder and faced additional charges. The indictment will be unsealed on February 5.

In a statement after her arrest, King's attorney, Bryan Konoski, said: "My client is not charged with homicide at this time, and she is presumed to be innocent of allegations against her. I would tell everyone not to jump to any conclusions at this time."

The boy's mother, Ashlee Dobson, faced abuse and neglect charges in South Carolina and New York City before ultimately losing custody of Myls in 2011. Myls' parents are expected at attend his memorial service Tuesday night at First Corinthian Baptist Church in Harlem. De Blasio has been invited.

Myls' body was claimed from the morgue in New York on Wednesday, one week after his death.

In the final weeks of his brief life, Myls suffered unspeakable acts of neglect and violence, according to a criminal complaint.

The boy had burn marks and abrasions on his head, neck, face and testicles, court papers said. There were bruises and numerous marks made by an object on his abdomen and legs and wrists -- bruises consistent with being restrained -- lacerations to his fingers, abrasions to his armpit, and bruises and scars on his back. The child appeared to be malnourished, the complaint said.

King told police that Myls' father dropped the child off for her to watch on December 17 and that she was the "child's primary and sole caretaker" until the time of his death, the complaint said.

"We lost a child in a horrible manner," De Blasio said. "We want to learn from this tragedy and make changes as a result."


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