Friday, December 22, 2006

Social worker murdered during home visit

Neighbor: Mom talked of taking son
Social worker was killed during supervised visit
Halladay, Jessie and Katya Cengel. Louisville Courier-Journal, Oct. 18, 2006, pg. A1.

HENDERSON, Ky. — Renee Terrell talked often about getting her infant son back, telling friends just Saturday that she planned to take him and flee to New Mexico, a neighbor said yesterday.

But Jean Davis, 38, who lives down the street from Terrell and her boyfriend, Christopher Wayne Luttrell, said she never believed Terrell would actually take the baby.

Yesterday, police were looking for Terrell, 33, and Luttrell, 23, who they believe took 9-month-old Saige Terrell on Monday.An Amber Alert for the child was issued about 8 p.m. Monday after police found state social worker Boni Frederick slain inside Terrell's home in Henderson.

Frederick, who was 67 and had worked 15 years as a social worker, had taken Saige, a ward of the state, for a court-ordered visit with his mother.

Henderson Police Chief Ed Brady said an autopsy done yesterday morning revealed that Frederick died of multiple blunt force trauma with several lacerations on her body.

"It was a violent death scene," Brady said. "It was a violent attack on her."

Yesterday, police confirmed that Frederick's credit card was used to buy gas in Smithboro, Ill., which is in the western part of the state, Brady said. Frederick's vehicle, a white, Korean-made 2000 Daewoo Nubira station wagon with Kentucky license plate 675-DRV, was also seen at the gas station.

A kidnapping warrant has been issued for Terrell, but no charges had been filed yesterday related to Frederick's death.

Police spent Tuesday tracking leads that were coming in from the Amber Alert, Brady said, adding, "We want the phones to continue to ring."

Davis said Terrell's threat to kidnap her son had been precipitated by the mother learning last Wednesday that the boy would be put up for adoption.

"She loved her baby. She talked about how she was going to get her baby and everything back. She was buying clothes. She had a baby bed and a high chair and everything. ... I guess it made her snap," Davis said.

Davis said Terrell has three other children, but none of them live with their mother, who neighbors said did not work because of a disability. A fifth child died in its crib, Davis said.

Authorities would not release any information about why Terrell's son had been taken from her, other than to confirm that he had been in foster care since birth. They also did not provide information about the other children.

Police got involved in the case about noon Monday when the foster mother taking care of Saige called social services and reported that the infant had not been returned, said Detective Ron Adams of the Henderson Police Department.

After getting a search warrant and entering Terrell's home, police discovered Frederick's body, Adams said.

Gary Myrick, a friend and former co-worker of Frederick's, described her as energetic, outgoing and enthusiastic about her job. "She was not afraid of anything," he said.

As a state social service aide, Frederick transported children in state custody to home visits, doctor's appointments and other activities.

That's how she ended up at the Terrell home Monday morning, taking Saige there to spend two hours with his mother.

Police say the baby is developmentally disabled and has a scratch on the right side of his face and a rug burn on the back of his neck. He has brown hair and eyes, is 27 inches tall and weighs 19 pounds.

Renee Terrell is described as white with brown hair and eyes, 5-foot-5 and 240 pounds. She wears glasses.

Court records show that Terrell pleaded guilty earlier this year to theft by deception.Luttrell is described as white with blue eyes, 6-foot-2 and 150 pounds with tattoos on his arms.

He was convicted in August 2004 of several counts of burglary and theft, said Cheryl Million, a spokeswoman for the Kentucky Department of Corrections. He was sentenced to five years in prison and was paroled from the Eastern Kentucky Correctional Complex in April.

After his parole, Luttrell was assigned to a halfway house in Jefferson County, Million said. On June 3, he walked away from the house without authorization.

A warrant was issued for him on June 26 for absconding parole supervision and failure to complete a halfway house program, Million said. That warrant is still active.

His Henderson County court records also show a 2003 conviction on a domestic violence assault.

Kentucky State Police Lt. Phil Crumpton asked the public to keep an eye out for the couple and the missing car. He said people should pay particular attention at rest stops, motels and to cars parked along the road.

"We believe the baby to be in danger because of the nature of the crime," Adams said.


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