Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Child Abuse Deaths on Military Installations

Newswise — Pediatric researchers today called on the Department of Defense to investigate the rates of child abuse homicides at military installations across the nation. The appeal from the North Carolina Child Advocacy Institute was prompted by results of its study showing children in jurisdictions with military bases were twice as likely to be killed by a parent or caregiver than other children in the state.

The findings were presented in Washington, D.C., at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies.

The study examined all North Carolina resident cases of child abuse homicides from 1985 to 2000 in children 0 through 10. The deaths were identified by individual record review. Four military installations (Ft. Bragg, Pope Air Force Base, Camp Lejeune and New River Air Station) are in the two counties with the highest rates. Child abuse homicide was defined as the killing of a child by a parent or other person responsible for its health or welfare. Military cases were those whose victims were children of one or both parents on active duty.

“In this study period, the long-term patterns of child abuse homicides are not coincidence,” says Marcia Herman-Geddens, DrPH, senior fellow at the Institute and adjunct professor at the School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. “They suggest problems in and around North Carolina military families and military communities that predictably result in a consistently higher number and rate of child abuse homicides than in non-military communities.”

In the study period, the state had 378 abuse homicides of children from birth through age 10, for a rate of 2.2 deaths per 100,000 children. Cumberland County (Ft. Bragg and Pope Air Force Base) had an annual abuse homicide rate for children of military families of approximately 5.0 per 100,000 (ages birth to 10) over the same period. Rates also were higher than the state average for non-military children, suggesting community-wide problems and needs.

In Onslow County (Camp Lejeune/New River Air Station), the average child abuse homicide rate for children of military families was approximately 4.9 per 100,000 during the study period. Again, the rates county-wide were higher than the state average for non-military children.

Herman-Geddens adds that “although military bases have many laudable programs and interventions to reduce child abuse and other family violence, strategies with sufficient effectiveness may be lacking, missing, inadequate and/or undermined by other influences on military and civilian families.” She warns that “action could and should be taken at the local, state, and national levels to reduce child homicides.”

Aside from a national study of all military installations in the nation, the study strongly recommends:

· The Department of Defense must initiate a data collection system for victims of family violence that captures all pediatric and adult cases. The data should include appropriate epidemiological detail and be available to the public for prevention research.

· Current prevention, treatment, and support services available to military families should be examined for effectiveness and expanded with a coordinated response to family violence to reduce spousal and child abuse.

The North Carolina Child Advocacy Institute is a non-profit, independent organization based in Raleigh. Since 1983, NCCAI has worked to make the state a better place in which to be a child and to raise a child. Information is available at http://www.ncchild.org.


Catonya said...

I lived in Wichita Falls, TX for a long time before returning to Oklahoma. Shepphard Air Force Base is in Wichita Falls. A few years ago, a young boy (can't remember his exact age, 5 - 7yrs old maybe) was found in the dishwasher of his family home which was inside the base. He had been sexually assaulted, tortured, murdered, then his body ran through a full cycle in the dishwasher- officials speculated the killer had done that to wash away evidence.
After the initial report on the local news- nothing else was ever reported on it. very hush hush.

not sure why I'm leaving this comment except that this entry reminded me of that.

(may God watch over the children)

bcfig4 said...

I am also from Wichita Falls. I think that it was more than a few years ago. I had heard that no one was home and he was a latch key kid. When the father came home he found him because the dishwasher racks had been taken out and in the middle of the floor. It was said that he was being harassed by older kids and that all logs of people in and out of the base were questioned. But nothing ever happened. I seen a webpage put up by his aunt not too long ago asking for any information. I think about this about every week. I really wish this would have been solved. It probably would have been if it happened now, but at that time they didn't have all they do now.

bcfig4 said...

Sorry about that, I just found out that it was only 5 years ago. I guess when I heard of it 5 years ago I misunderstood and thought it was old then. Here is what I found:
Another unsolved death marks its 5th anniversary this week. The case has baffled local and national experts called in to assist. 11-year-old Christopher Morris was found by his father, dead in a dishwasher when he came home to their house on Sheppard Air Force Base. According to investigators, at least five agencies have conducted hundreds of interviews, and logged thousands of hours in the case.

shelby said...

christopher was my best friend and they say his dad did it but i know him and he loved christopher and he wouldnt never have done such a thing when christopher died at 11 i was 11 also he lived down the street from me and we were insepertable i am now 15 yrs old and i live in oklahoma and there is a website about chris and if you know can you plz give it to me i would appreciate it adn i miss him everyday

Anonymous said...

i dont know if anyone is still looking at this or still investgating this case but i knew chris he went to school with me in sheppard afb. i still cant believe this happened and its been 10 years and still it haunts my mind. plz if someone has any updates plz email me maria08_89@yahoo.com thank you

Anonymous said...

For those who were referencing back to the Christopher Morris case. This happened on September 25th, 2000. I was raised in Wichita Falls and no longer reside there because of being in the military now. I have often wondered what ever happened. It seems like the case just became cold or like nobody cared enough to continue on with the investigation. How can someone lock themself in a dishwasher. This is just like a murder that took place at Ft. Stewart in the Fall of 2008. I say murder for the following reason. A young girl went home from school to find her mother dead in the closet. The mother was bound and had a plastic bag wrapped around her head. But, the military repeatedly said this was a suicide. Seems fishy too me.

Brittany Scholz said...

Hey all, I am Christopher's cousin, my name is Brittany Scholz. I am also looking for any and all updated information on the case. If anyone hears anything contact me on facebook, or email me brit3_06@yahoo.com Christophers murder has yet to be brought to justice.

Thanks for your prayers.

alexandra_awna said...

Hello my name is Ashley Morris I am Chris MOrris's sister. It brings me happiness that people still think about Chris and still care about bringing whoever did this to justice. I pray that one day we will know what happened until then my family will never be whole. After that day eveyrhitng changed, no one in my family is the same. We go on with our lives with this in the back of our minds everyday and no one can possibly know what its like unless you have gone through something like this yourself. So please, if anyone knows anything about what happened that day dont be afraid to contact my family or the police. All we want is closure, to be able to move on with our live. my email is anm7@pct.edu if you can remember anything, anything at all no matter how small you might think it is please email me.

Anonymous said...

I had joined the af in 2000 as a medic and happened to be on that ambulance that responded. Very tragic.

Anonymous said...

I am Christopher's mother...I miss him each and every day!!! Like my daughter Ashley said...our family has never been the same since. I can't believe that whoever did this could live with themselves...they have no idea what a precious soul they took away that day. If anyone has any information about what happened please call me at (570)506-6634. And for all his friends that are still remembering him...thank you so much...it means a lot to all of his family.

Courtney Bouldin said...

Hello All, I'm Courtney Bouldin, I know it was a long time ago. I lived in Wichita falls as well... I was in Christopher's class. I remember it like it was yesterday. All these years later it still brings chills to me. I missed him then and I still miss him today. I think about it still to this day. I never heard much about it after that day but I'm happy to know its never been forgotten. Even if its something that's not a happy memory, I remember him, and that's not a bad memory. Love and Respect to his family.

Anonymous said...

I've got no info, wish I did. My heart ached for that poor kid. My own were close to his age. I think about him still. There are things in life that have no real connection to you but still impact you. His death was that for me. To his parents, family and friends you still have my condolences. He's not forgotten.

Anonymous said...

hello, I lived in Wichita Falls when Christopher Morris was found back in 2000. I thought of him today and my internet search lead me here. Its 2016 and I still hope they find who did this to him. It was sad.

Anonymous said...

It is very disappointing that this has yet to be solved. What happened to Chris runs in and out of my head over the years. My family and I lived in the same base housing village when this happened. I remember that morning when the cops were all gathered by the gate as my school bus drove by. My house was just in the street over.The case petrified my mom so bad that she kept me in a house lock down. There was no going to a friends house, the park, or anywhere without her. I didn't know Chris personally but the story still terrifies and baffles me to this day. So much about this case does not make sense and it leaves an uneasy feeling knowing that so many questions are still unanswered. My family's prayers and hopes of closure goes out to the Morris'.