I-Team: Family Demands Answers to Boy's Beating Death - 8 News NOW

I-Team: Family Demands Answers to Boy's Beating Death

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Roderick Arrington Sr. and his dad George Roach want answers. Roderick Arrington Sr. and his dad George Roach want answers.
I-Team reporter Colleen McCarty talks with attorney Matthew Callister. I-Team reporter Colleen McCarty talks with attorney Matthew Callister.
In September 2012, 7-year-old RJ Arrington Jr. left his home in Illinois to live with his mom in Las Vegas. In September 2012, 7-year-old RJ Arrington Jr. left his home in Illinois to live with his mom in Las Vegas.

LAS VEGAS -- The biological dad of a little boy allegedly murdered by his mother and stepfather wants answers and he is planning a lawsuit to get them.

Roderick Arrington Sr. accuses the Clark County Department of Family Services and the Clark County School District of failing to protect his son, even after learning that he was being abused.

The I-Team has obtained documents the Department of Family Services doesn't want anyone to see. Those documents detail what the department knew, when it knew it, and what it didn't do in response.

From a television studio outside of Chicago Roderick Arrington Sr. and his dad George Roach search for answers nearly 2,000 miles away.

"The bruises and things that I seen on my son didn't happen in one night. I just want to know what happened," said RJ's father Roderick Arrington Sr.

In September 2012, 7-year-old RJ Arrington Jr. left his home in Illinois to live with his mom in Las Vegas. Two months later, he was dead. He was allegedly beaten and shaken to death by his mother and stepfather.

"He asked for help and nobody helped him out. I want justice in all of this," said George Roach, RJ's grandfather.

In the days after RJ's murder, the Clark County Department of Family Services revealed -- as required by law -- that someone reported RJ was being abused, but child welfare officials didn't respond in time. The department remains mum about what went wrong, acknowledging only that mistakes were made, and employees were disciplined.

An I-Team investigation has uncovered new details about the call that might have saved RJ's life.

The I-Team asked Tom Morton, the former director of the Division of Family Services, to review the information. Morton resigned his position in 2011.

"You have a 7-year-old reporting being frequently beaten," Morton said. "The real question here is how did three, if not four people, look at this information in the report and come to the conclusion that RJ Arrington could wait another day?"

The I-Team has learned that a neighbor reported the abuse to school officials on Nov. 28, 2012. She told them she heard violent sounds, crying and praying coming from RJ's home at 4 a.m. The neighbor said she feared the child was being raped. She noticed, the next day, RJ moved very slowly like he was in pain.

According to documents obtained by the I-Team, school personnel reported her allegations to the child abuse hotline. They even made a second call after speaking to RJ at 9:47 a.m.

RJ denied any sexual abuse, but confirmed regular beatings by both his mother and stepfather with a television cord, a broom handle, a spatula and a belt. The records note RJ lifted his shirt to show school officials quote "extensive scarring" on his back.

"You have evidence of very serious injuries, scarring in the past. You have a child who obviously was beaten the night before, beaten with the use of a serious and dangerous instruments, there's no time to waste. It's definitely an immediate response," Morton said.

The documents indicate the call taker coded the response as a priority two, meaning a response within 24 hours, instead of a priority one which would occur within two hours.

According to police, RJ went home that night and was beaten and shaken some 12 hours after the hotline call. He died two days later from his injuries.

"This one appalled me," said attorney Matthew Callister who represents RJ's family.

"They should've had police there, from Metro, from CPS. That child should never have left that school, should've never left that administrator's office. It should not have been a question," Callister said.

The records note that police were not called, however the next morning, a third call was made to the child abuse hotline. The caller reported that RJ wasn't in school because he'd been taken to the hospital.

"It's just hard for me to comprehend all of this," Roach said.

From Illinois, RJ's grandfather and father feel thousands of miles away from the truth, but they insist, they'll keep trying to get closer for RJ and others like him.

"I just want to know really what happened. That's all," Arrington said.

Questions remain about why school officials didn't call the police or have a school nurse evaluate RJ's medical needs. District officials insist their employees followed the law and the district's policies with respect to their response.

Going forward, the district is reviewing how it works with the Department of Family Services and how it might use school police in suspected abuse situations.

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