Drug use haunted tot’s home, state says
The mother of the slain boy Cyrus Belt reportedly was beset with meth problems
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Slain toddler Cyrus Belt came from a largely dysfunctional family setting in which his mother struggled with drugs and domestic violence, state records released last night indicate.
Police, meanwhile, charged the man accused of throwing the boy off a pedestrian overpass into busy lanes of the H-1 freeway on Thursday. Matthew Higa, a neighbor, was charged about 11 p.m. Friday with second-degree murder.
Documents released by the state Department of Human Services show that Cyrus was exposed to drugs while his mother, Nancy Chanco, was pregnant with him and that she had difficulty caring for him in his early years, but she later quit drugs.
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State documents describe the mother of 1-year-old Cyrus Belt, who died on the H-1 freeway Thursday, as having a history of drug use and violent relationships with men.
The Department of Human Services released all documents last night created by the department's child welfare services agency relating to Cyrus' mother, Nancy Chanco, from 2002 to 2008.
"Our intention in making these records public is not to blame anyone for their action or inaction," said DHS Director Lillian Koller in a news release. "Rather, we hope to collectively determine if there was anything that could have been done to save the life of this child."
The department released roughly 180 pages, many with blacked-out lines, at about 8 p.m.
On the day of the boy's death, the report says, Chanco left him under the supervision of his grandfather, who allowed a "neighbor to take the child for a walk, precipitating the freeway overpass incident resulting in the child's death."
That presumably refers to neighbor Matthew Higa, who was charged with second-degree murder in the case late Friday. Higa is accused of throwing the boy off a pedestrian overpass into busy lanes of the H-1 freeway. Bail was set at $1.2 million.
The documents call into question her parenting skills over the years and said her children were insufficiently supervised. They also state that Chanco reportedly has a history of using marijuana, crystal methamphetamine and crack, and also had a history of violent relationships with at least three different men.
Chanco admitted to smoking marijuana during her pregnancy with Cyrus and smoked crystal methamphetamine or "ice" while five to six months pregnant, saying that she relapsed, according to the report. She said she didn't believe she had a drug problem.
While pregnant with Cyrus, Chanco stopped prenatal care between September 2005 and November 2005 because she relapsed on "ice."
There was one confirmed case of threat of neglect and threat of abuse by Chanco in a case initiated Feb. 8, 2006, a day after Cyrus was born.
The case assessment found that substance abuse had prevented the mother from protecting or providing for the child. "Other safety factors are directly related to the use of drugs or alcohol," it said.
That investigation confirmed threat of neglect and threat of abuse to Cyrus by his mother and threat of neglect to another one of her three children.
The agency also questioned Chanco about the care of her second child while still a newborn in 2003.
A family relative reported at the time that Chanco arrived at her home on Jan. 7, 2003, shortly after giving birth, and almost dropped her newborn. As Chanco held the baby, it s head was "flopping all around," the report said.
An investigation was opened based on the vulnerability of the child, the history of drug offenses among the child's three adult caretakers, and the need to assess the mother and stepfather of parenting skills and psychological bond to children.
That case was closed in Jan. 17, 2003, without any findings of threat of abuse or threatened neglect.