HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) – A former Horry County investigator with the South Carolina Department of Social Services has been charged following a child’s death, authorities announced Wednesday.
According to information from the State Law Enforcement Division, 29-year-old Amanda Marie Sutherland, who worked as a Horry County child protective services investigator with DSS, was charged Tuesday with misconduct in office.
Online records from the J. Reuben Long Detention Center state she was booked July 6 at 11:50 a.m., and remains in jail under no bond.
According to the warrant affidavit from SLED, Sutherland was assigned to investigate allegations of child abuse and/or neglect on April 21, “and had a legal duty to begin an appropriate and thorough investigation with twenty-four hours of receiving the report.”
On May 5, 14 days after receiving the report, one of the children listed in it died, authorities said. A week later, on May 12, Sutherland created a “detailed falsification” in the case dictation, stating she conducted a home visit with the mother and children, according to the affidavit.
Authorities allege that Sutherland had never met with the parents or children, been to the home, or began an investigation into the allegations or assessment of the welfare of the children.
“To aid in her creation of this falsification, the defendant used facts and notes about the family from the electronic case file, added after the child’s death, to make the falsification appear to be more believable,” the affidavit states.
A DSS spokesperson released the following statement in regards to the case:
“The South Carolina Department of Social Services (SCDSS) is aware of the allegations against a former employee and is cooperating with SLED. DSS consistently collaborates with law enforcement and other agencies to investigate child maltreatment and fatalities in coordination with community partners. It is always a tragedy when a child dies as a result of a parent’s actions. In the last 5 years, South Carolina has averaged 11 fatalities per year due to trauma inflicted by a caregiver and 10 per year due to unsafe infant sleep. As a result of our own review of these circumstances, the individual who was arrested was separated from DSS employment on June 4, 2021. DSS has reviewed all the matters assigned to this individual to determine whether there is reason to believe any falsification of records has occurred in other cases and no further concerns have been identified.”
SLED conducted the investigation in conjunction with the Conway Police Department.
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