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Investigation reveals abuse suspected months before Sturgis boy was beaten to death

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- An exclusive ABC 57 News investigation revealed that the Department of Child Services knew about and even investigated abuse before police found 10-year-old Tramelle Sturgis beaten to death inside his home last month.


ABC 57 news poured through the documents obtained from the Department of Child Services.

 

The documents show that back in May one call was made to DCS and hours later another call was made to police reporting abuse at the Sturgis home.

 

The first caller said that for the past three years three adults had been beating all 10 children who lived at the Sturgis residence.

 

The person went on to say Dellia Castille, Tramelle's grandmother, along with father Terry Sturgis and aunt Tiffany Sturgis, often used 2x4's to beat the kids. 

 

The caller said that one of the Sturgis boys had been beaten so badly he did not go to school because his face bruised and his eyes were swollen shut.

 

After the second anonymous call police officers were dispatched to the house, but reported no signs of abuse.

 

Soon after DCS began its investigation.

 

Documents show a case manager visited the home and interviewed Sturgis, Castille and the children.

 

The investigator noted the kids denied all physical abuse and that there were no visible marks on any of the kids.

 

The Report goes on to say DCS made unannounced visits to two of the kids' schools, but the kids told gave investigators almost identical statements. 

 

By the end of June the investigation came to an end. The case manager said there was no evidence of abuse and closed the case.

 

By November investigator would learn the caller's accusations were all true. After Tramelle Sturgis was beaten to death, the other children finally admitted to police they were abused.

 

Although Terry Sturgis did admit to police he had beaten the 10-year-old to death and his 14-year-old son so badly he was put in intensive care, his lawyers plan on an insanity defense when Sturgis goes on trial of his son's murder.

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