Good news out of Georgia this week!

Remember Jessica Scovil, the 9-month old baby who died of heatstroke from being strapped into a hot mini-van for two hours while her foster mother, Wendy Osborne, snoozed off strep throat medication?

On November 26, Osborne, 29, was indicted by the Jackson County Grand Jury on charges of involuntary manslaughter and reckless conduct. She faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000 on the manslaughter charge and up to 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000 on the other. Osborne will be arraigned on December 11.

Piedmont Circuit DA Rick Bridgeman said in a press release that Osborne unintentionally caused Jessica’s death “by consciously disregarding a substantial and justifiable risk by leaving her in the car.” ( I have been unable to locate the press release online, and am quoting from news articles).

Jessica’s father Robert Scovil told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, that he’s happy with the indictment. “She [Osborne] made a mistake, and she’s going to have to pay for her mistake. We’re going to have some justice for Jessica.”

Jessica was removed from her parents Evelyn Carter and Robert Scovil on an anonymous tip connected murkily over Carter’s learning disabilities and bi-polar condition for which she was reportedly under treatment. She was placed with Osborne, a more “suitable mother,” and her husband Chris, while Carter and Scovil jumped through hoops to regain custody. The Osbornes had two adopted 3-year old daughters and two foster teens living with them at the time of Jessica’s death. DYFS has never explained why a 29-year old woman with two toddlers and two teens in her home was considered qualified or suitable to take on somebody else’s baby who was suffering no abuse or neglect. The little girls, btw, were brought into the house and left to entertain themselves while Osborne slept and Jessica died.

After Jessica’s death, her parents and their public defender said that DYFS had blocked the baby’s return home for several weeks. A court hearing that would probably have ended with Jessica’s return to her parents was scheduled for September 16. She died on September 2. State officials did not inform Carter and Scovil until the next day.

Right after Jessica’s death, Robert Scovil told the Journal-Constitution, “They (DYFS] are responsible for this.” Carter reiterated, “If the state had done it’s job, she’d be alive.”

Not surprisingly, Wendy Osborne’s friends have jumped to her defense. (Click on Jessica’s name under my “labels” sidebar on the right for their comments on my previous Jessica entries and for more details on the case.)

Here is a sample of one new comment, posted in response to the indictment, from the Jackson County Herald. Be sure to read the comment in its entirety. It appears the writer is accusing Scovil and Carter of using drugs — while their friend was zoned down on medication. Thankfully, most of the other comments aren’t so dewy-eyed and offensive.

There is always a reason and a purpose for everything that happens to anyone and we are still looking for the reason and purpose of this.

All we can say in defense is we loved little Jessica alot and she blessed everyone she came in contact with. That was her purpose indeed!

So, let’s get this straight. Jessica was born to Evelyn Carter and Robert Scovil, torn from their arms and home for everybody’s own good by the government, and placed with a “more responsible” caregiver who let her boil to death with a core body temperature of 108 degrees, so she could “bless” a bunch of strangers.

Talk about “suffer the little children”!

The more I’m in this business, the more words fail me. I’ve heard better excuses coming from the Bush administration


  1. Ugh!! This kind of tragedy is what shows up the logical fallacy of “everything happens for a purpose” most clearly. That is a statement that never fails to piss me off.

    “Shit happens” for no reason, or in this case because the government was wrong and the foster mother was criminally negligent. She deserves some jail time and all those kids removed from her home.

    There is no good “reason” for the horrible suffering of any innocent child.

  2. “torn from their arms for no good reason…… bless some strangers…”

    It does seem rather inane, doesn’t it? Criminal negligence is just that…CRIMINAL. And for what? That baby died because some SW had to try to play God. It’s the new “get the adoptable baby first and ask the real questions, later” school of social work.

    As a coerced mother, I am tired of agencies and officials moving people around like pieces on a chessboard.

  3. Another example of musical mothers played by the state in their eagerness to insure that the right kind of people have children. The Child Protective Service is so badly bent that it is broken. It needs to be dismantled entirely and rebuilt so that families are supported first, and not as a last resort.

    This “right kind of person” will pay, but the one who paid the most dearly is the child. In addition to the foster woman charged, the state should also be charged in complicity for her tragic death. Possibly that is the only way things like this will stop.

  4. This child should not have died.

    However, solutions are not easy. The notion that you can just leave these kids in their family of origin when there are significant charges of abuse or neglect doesn’t work either. We periodically see stories about children who are left in abusive homes despite complaints of abuse and who eventually die. Than the public screams at DYFS for doing that.

    This is a terrible tragedy, but if the intention is to make this an indictment of the foster care system–well I’ll have to see the alternatives.

  5. There is no evidence, in Jessica’s case, that she was in any danger from her family. Reportedly, she was removed due to an anonymous tip. She was held by state authorities way after her parents were jumping through bureaucratic hoops to get her back. Jessica was adoptable. She was a HWI who would have no problem being redistributed to “more worthy parents.”

    While the foster is directly responsible for Jessica’s death, the state of Georgia and its bumbling “welfare” services is ultimately responsible, but we’ll never see any heads roll there.

  6. Can I make a comment about Wendy and her “friends”…

    Wendy Osborne works at the J&J Flea Market in Jackson County. My mother had a booth out there and was kicked off the flea market and told to never come back because she made a remark about Wendy being a baby killer (without even using Wendy’s name). Wendy was three tables down when my mom made the remark, and Wendy overheard her.

    I was told by the OWNER of the flea market that Wendy “made a mistake” and it wasn’t right to talk about it.

    The people involved with kicking my mother off the flea market (a man I don’t know, Wendy’s Mother-in-law, and the owner, Pam) told my mom that Wendy is a “good Christian” and “feels bad” for what happened. I am willing to bet that some of the friends posting here are connected to that flea market, because the comments sound the same as what was told to my mother (or in the case of the male, yelled at my mother).

    I will not be shopping at that flea market anymore because of the low standards they have.

    If calling people idiots and yelling at them for reading stories in the newspaper is the Christian thing to do, no wonder I don’t go to church anymore.

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