When someone is truthful
enough to say out loud, to your face, that they do not want their
you should listen. In the case of Robert Antonio Guinyard and Courtney
Shante Thompson, the Department Of Social Services were told that a
child was not wanted, however, in all of their wisdom, DSS gave the
child back to his parents and the worst thing that could happen, did,
Robert Guinyard Jr. ended up dead.
It would be hard for DSS to come up with a legitimate reason for
putting a child in a home where he wasn't wanted, but in this case it
would be harder since one of Robert's Aunts was trying to get custody
of him. Family members had been reporting incidents of child abuse and
reporting them to DSS for quite some time. When told that proof was
needed, Natalie Thompson took pictures of her nephew and brought them
to DSS. Sadly, DSS did not protect this child from the abuse he was
suffering and on July 1, 2013, Robert was beaten to death by his
On the day he died, Robert was beaten with a curtain rod because he had
an accident. Robert was found by Police, face down and it was obvious
that he had been beaten. An autopsy revealed that he had been being
abused for quite some time. It would come out later that Robert had
been denied food and water and was beaten when he was found drinking
water from the toilet. Antonio and Courtney were arrested and charged
with homicide by child abuse and were denied bond. Police said that
family members had been trying to get help for Robert and had not been
successful adding that Robert had only recently been returned to the
"People had become
involved in it, whether it was grandparents, whether it was DSS - DSS
other children, so obviously the environment wasn't a good environment.
We believe through
some of the
interviews that Courtney wanted to have Robert stay at the house
because she was afraid
he was going to tell people he was
The Department Of Social Services didn't have much to say:
"The state level of DSS
is conducting a full review of all of DSS' involvement with this child.
premature to release information
before have fully investigated and evaluated what happened
in this case"
For good measure, they added that Robert's death was a horrible tragedy.
In May of 2014, Robert Guinyard Sr., who was 28 years old at the time
and Courtney Thompson, who was 25 years old at the time were sentenced
to life in prison without parole. Experts testified in court that
had been beaten severely in the weeks leading up to his death. Autopsy
showed he had broken ribs and one arm broken as well as blood that was
collecting in the tissues of his head.
In court, each of the parents had tried to blame the other for the
death of Robert, while Courtney did admit to starving her son as well
as using a cable to beat him, she denied killing him and Robert said
that he had tried to protect his son from Courtney and claimed he had
not hit his son with the curtain rod.
As a result of the death of Robert, "reviews" (there's that word again)
were done to try to find out what went wrong and what changes needed to
be made. Eight employees were fired and it was said that there was no a
new DSS call intake department as well as new training in communication
and a full understanding of risk factors.