CAMDEN, NJ — New Jersey's child-welfare agency, long under federal oversight for high-profile lapses, said it will review its role in the case of a mother who decapitated her 2-year-old son and killed herself just five months after regaining custody of the child.
The Department of Children and Families said Wednesday night it had been working with members of Chevonne Thomas' family to support the woman and her son, who were reunited under a court order in April. Police on Wednesday found the decapitated body of 2-year-old Zahree Thomas on the first floor of the Camden rowhouse he shared with his mother. Chevonne Thomas fatally stabbed herself in the neck after calling 911 to report her son's slaying, authorities said.
The agency said in a statement that its staff had visited the family regularly and was providing "extensive" support and counseling services, including substance abuse testing and treatment. Thomas lost custody of Zahree after being charged in 2010 with child endangerment.
In that case, Thomas admitted to police that she had smoked marijuana laced with the hallucinogenic drug PCP, blacking out in a park and leaving her son unattended in a car. The charge was ultimately dropped due to a problem with a witness, according to Jason Laughlin, spokesman for the Camden County prosecutor's office.