Krystal Scurry
 February 1989 - November 2, 1991
Find A Grave Memorial

On January 26, 1990, a family member of Theresa Tyler called the Aiken County Department Of Social Services to help because there was no electricity in the home. Ruby Chambliss and Louise Blount showed up at their home and found Krystal Scurry and her half brother, Debarge Staley, were sick with colds and their mother had the flu. Rather than help them, the women took action to remove the children from the home.

Theresa objected to her children being taken from them and so did Jessie Scurry, Krystal's father who told the women:

"I ain`t signing nothing. I ain`t giving my kids to nobody" 

The women told them that if they didn't cooperate, the police would be called. The children were taken and in their report, they said the trailer was cold, smelled of urine and milk that had gone bad and they had tried to contact Police  who were unavailable at that time. The two children had never had shots nor had they been seen by a doctor, since their births. Krystal, who was 11 months old and Debarge, who was three years old, were placed in the foster home of Clarissa Bell Bates.

For about a year, the children saw their parents rarely and their social worker was also scarce. Their parents would say that the department did little to help reunite them with their children and the department would claim that the their parents had made no effort to see them.

While the children were in her care, Debarge said that Clarissa shook him violently, slapped him, yanked on him, forced food into his mouth and made him sleep on the floor. Debarge said that worse was done to his sister. Stacy Brown, another foster child who was 19 years old and one of the six foster children who lived there, backed Debarge up on his claims:

 "She'd get mad when Krystal wouldn't eat. Sometimes she'd 
do it until Krystal would vomit. It was bad; she was so tiny" 

This wouldn't prove to be the worst thing that Clarissa was doing.

Mary Craft, a child services coordinator with the support group, Babynet, said that the signs of abuse were obvious. Krystal was 22 months old and at that  time she was just starting to walk and she couldn't talk very well. One of her arms hung down by her side and she wouldn't allow anyone to touch it in order to check it. A knot could be seen on her forehead. Mary reported what she had seen to the the Department Of Social Services on more than one occasion. She would later state that five different names were given to her for social workers. None of them knew anything about Krystal at all and they all would say:

"It's not my case. It's not my case" 

Mary said when she finally did get a hold of the real caseworker, he said he had just took over the case and didn't know much about it.

On February 15, 1991, Clarissa took Krystal, Debarge and two other children to the Aiken Community Hospital. A hospital social worker made a report that said Clarissa had pinched one of the children on the buttocks, grabbed one of the children by the throat and Clarissa had left without anyone having treated Krystal. Clarissa then took Krystal to the Medical College Of Georgia where Dr. Rebecca Jean Atha admitted her and kept her there for almost two weeks. Dr. Atha would later say that she kept her there because she was afraid to send
her back to the foster home.

Krystal seemed depressed for a two year and had a paralysis on her right side that could not be explained and she had a broken arm. She was suffering from two healing leg fractures. Dr. Atha said that she had called the Department several times and had talked to Bill Perkins, the caseworker:

"I told him that I was very afraid for this child, that I did 
not think she should go back to this foster home" 

Dr. Atha said that Bill told her he understood what she was saying and that he was going to take full responsibility for Krystal. Bill was going to put her into the best foster home he knew of, that would be the home of Clarissa, which was where Krystal had been injured in the first place.

Eventually, Clarissa's son, John Bell, who was 44 at that time, moved into the home with them. He was a transient and and ex-convict. Debarge told the people at DSS that he didn't like John, that John had kicked him in his belly, hit him with a belt and also hit him in the head with a hammer. Debarge also told them that John had kicked Krystal and two of the other children living in the house and that Clarissa had known about it.

On November 2, 1991, John took Krystal and left the home in the car. Four days later, Krystal's naked and bruised body was found in the woods outside of Aiken. Workers who were gathering pine straw for bailing, found her. John Bell admitted that he had been smoking crack cocaine on the day of her murder. He was prosecuted and sentenced to 30 years for the rape and killing of Krystal. What a ridiculous sentence!

After her death, the extent of the injuries that Krystal had suffered at the hands of Clarissa were finally out in the open. In November of 1993, Clarissa was arrested and charged with multiple offenses including assault and battery as well as physical and medical neglect. The postmortem x-rays revealed that she had fractures to her right shoulder, both of her knees and her right pubic bone. By the time she died, Krystal was partially paralyzed and she could no longer walk at all.

Barbara Morgan, a Solicitor of Aiken said that she didn't know how to describe the foster home other than to say it was a hellhole where a child was tortured for over 20 months and had almost every major joint in her body, broken. The DSS workers who took these children from their mother, simply because they had colds, placed her with the foster parent and then either didn't notice that the children were being abused or they did notice and they chose to ignore it and refused to provide protection.

In December of 1993, the two caseworkers who had removed the children, Ruby and Louise were arrested. Ruby, who was the supervisor of the county child protective services unit, was charged with illegally using DSS control over the children when she removed them. Also among her charges was her failure to investigate the neglect allegations against the parents of the children, ill treatment of a child and failure to perform her state mandated child protective duties.

Louis, the supervisor of the county treatment unit,  was charged with illegally removing the children by forcing the parents to voluntarily place the children in the custody of DSS. The two caseworkers were also charged with illegally taking $50. from Krystal's father. The money was given to pay for the medical care of the children, the two women used for themselves instead.

For what these two disgusting women did to this family, they were suspended with pay, in December of 1993. Their suspensions were to remain in affect until the outcome of the proceedings. They enjoyed their paid vacations until they returned back to work in May of 1994. The charges were still pending against them. They both worked desk jobs until in February of 1995, they were both let go due to falsifying the records in the case. They had reported that it was snowing and that the house was cold due to a lack of heat. It was later learned that it had actually been warm outside that day.

The two child protective workers most responsible for Krystal's tragic death would be suspended, with pay, in December of 1993 pending the outcome of the proceedings. Ruby Chambliss and Louise Blount would enjoy their paid vacation until the Department would call them back to work in May of 1994, with the charges still pending against them in court. In all, six social workers, that included the director of foster care, would be charged in connection with the death of Krystal. The charges included ethics violations, falsification of
records, embezzlement and neglect of duties.

"The whole system killed Krystal. If they hadn't took her from me, she'd still be with me
 now. I know she'd be safe when she was with me, and I wouldn't let nobody harm her" 

Theresa Tyler

A settlement with the Aiken County Department Of Social Services was settled and Krystal's parents received $467,000., not nearly enough to compensate for what they lost. Between February 1991 and January of 1992, there were five foster children killed in South Carolina.

Clarissa Bell bates was charged with assault and battery of a high, medical neglect for failing to get medical attention from May of 1990 to November of 1990, for Krystal, after a doctor told her to. Physical neglect charges from February 1991 to November 1991 and failure to provide nutrition. Records show that Krystal's weight went up and down and right before her death, she only weight 22 pounds 3 ounces.

Charges against the Social Workers, other than Ruby and Louise included:

Cassie Scott Wilson, who supervised the caseworkers in charge of Krystal, unlawful neglect, 23 counts of embezzling funds set aside for 13 foster care children. Reports say that Cassie took over $9,000., spending about $6,000. for her own personal use.

Marie A. Moore, the former director of foster care was charged with ill treat- ment and unlawful neglect of a child and failure to report child abuse.

Clarence H. Graham and William Perkins were also charged. William had been the caseworker who was called by the Dr. at the hospital and ignored her warnings and placed Krystal back in the foster home.

This case seems to stop here. Repeated attempts made by me, to find out what the final outcome was, to find out what people were prosecuted for and what sentences were handed down, have been unsuccessful. This case seems to have dropped from sight.

UPDATE:

Today is June 15, 2014 and while searching for updates on Krystal's story, I have not found any new information.

Death Occurred in the state of South Carolina

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