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The Daily Guide - Waynesville, MO
  • The Blake Litton case: Beyond the headlines — Part 4 — A sheriff's reaction

  • Part 4 in a 6 part series on the aftermath of the Blake Litton murder
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  • When 3-year-old Blake Litton was killed, Jim Petty, Morgan County sheriff, didn’t assign blame to any particular agency, but he said there should be a shared responsibility within the system that is supposed to protect children like Blake.
    “I don’t have a particular red flag showing that someone or some agency did something wrong. It’s a general concern. This is something that none of us like, and I want to be sure that it doesn’t happen again,” Petty said at a news conference Feb. 17, the day after Blake Litton died.
    Jamie Litton’s boyfriend was charged with second-degree murder in the beating death of her son Blake. Jamie Litton was also charged with second-degree murder for failing to notify authorities about what had happened to her son.
    A case as tragic as Blake Litton’s should cause all agencies involved in child services to evaluate how they monitor and respond to reports of abuse, the sheriff said at the time.
    “I want to see that our feet are held to the fire and that every other agency also is,” Petty said at the Feb. 17 news conference.
    Now under a court-issued gag order that prohibits him from talking about the specifics of the case, Petty said in a phone interview last week he couldn’t say whether there had been a breakdown in the system in the case of Blake Litton.
    “I know that family services did some reviews of what happened … I think all of us at this office understand that anytime we have any kind of issues we need to follow up on them,” Petty said. “As far as we’re concerned we did what we could, but I can’t speak for family services. I just don’t know. I don’t think anyone is pointing fingers.”
    When asked if he thought a case like Blake Litton’s was preventable, the sheriff said he hoped so.
    “Yeah, you want to believe that it is preventable,” Petty said. ‘You want to think it could be prevented.”
     
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