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Robert Guinyard Jr.

October 13, 2009 -  July 1, 2013

When someone is truthful enough to say out loud, to your face, that they do not want their child, 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 parents.

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 home:

"People had become involved in it, whether it was grandparents, whether it was DSS - DSS place three
of
the 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 being abused"
Maj. Stan Smith

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. It is
 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 Robert 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.

This page was created on June 3, 2014
Death Occurred in the state of North Carolina

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