A report by the Kansas Department of Children and Families found that five investigations conducted over the last thirteen months by state child welfare officials failed to confirm allegations of neglect or drug use by the family of a five-year-old girl who was later found raped and killed at a gas station, Heather Hollingsworth and John Hanna report for the Associated Press.
Child welfare officials made seven failed attempts to reach the family over the month of August alone after receiving multiple reports of neglect and drug abuse. The family also repeatedly declined offers of help. Neighbors said Zoey wandered their neighborhood dirty and hungry. Several reported calling child welfare to express concerns and believe Zoey and her father had been camping in a grove of trees on a vacant lot nearby the gas station where she was found dead. Mickel Cherry, a 25-year-old homeless man, is charged with first-degree murder, rape and capital murder, and could face the death penalty.