City Council to launch investigation into death of beaten and starved girl

January 14, 2003|By Laura Vozzella | Laura Vozzella,SUN STAFF

The City Council plans to investigate the death of a Baltimore girl found beaten and starved to death last month and to call on social service, school and court officials to explain how Ciara Jobes slipped through the cracks.

Councilman Keiffer J. Mitchell Jr. called for a hearing into Ciara's death at a meeting last night, introducing a bill written in unusually dramatic language.

"Forgotten by family, neglected by school officials, ignored by neighbors, and abandoned by the very system that had a moral and a legal obligation to protect her, she was left to the twisted ministrations of a guardian who, by all accounts, reigned over a Dante-like realm of calculated, cruel abuse and neglect," the bill said.

Mitchell said the language, crafted by the city's Department of Legislative Reference, was meant to convey the horror of the 15-year-old's death.

Police found Ciara's bruised and emaciated body in her guardian's kitchen in a Southeast Baltimore apartment Dec. 11. The guardian, Satrina Roberts, 31, is charged with murder and child abuse.

Councilman Robert W. Curran said he hopes to hold the hearing before the council's Judiciary and Legislative Investigations Committee, which he heads, by the middle of March.

Mayor Martin O'Malley and Curran's brother, Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr., also are investigating whether officials missed opportunities to save the girl.

Mitchell said the council will look into claims by Ciara's relatives and two school officials that the Baltimore City Department of Social Services failed to follow up on reports of abuse.

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