Monday, February 7, 2011

Times does 2 part series on Celeste Lowe

Reporter Alison Bath of The Times completed a two part series today on the situation leading up to the death of 5 year old Celeste Lowe.
Part 1
Part 2
I’ve heard a lot of comments from people who were curious as to why Bossier Parish judges would keep reissuing protective orders against the natural mother of the child. The answer is in the Times today.
  • Finally, Social Services completed their investigation in December and validated the reported abuse. The news was a crushing blow to the 32-year-old Mercer, who never saw the report but was told that the agency had found against her because of consistent statements made by Celeste.
Since Social Services validated the abuse and found against the mother, how could the judges in Bossier Parish lift the order, effectively giving custody back to the mother?
Now we know that Celeste was in peril for her life in Bossier Parish; the judges and the hearing officer did not know that before the fact.
What is more troubling is the fact that in December the Bossier Sheriff’s department was called to Elm Grove School because one of Celeste’s teachers noticed a bruise on her neck. The sheriff’s office investigated.
  • Bossier sheriff's spokesman Ed Baswell said a detective talked with Wesley Lowe, a Social Services worker and the teacher. All pointed the finger at Mercer — not Catherine Murray Lowe, Baswell said.  As a result of those conversations, the detective concluded the abuse occurred in West Monroe and was not within the Bossier sheriff's jurisdiction, Baswell said.  But the detective didn't talk with Celeste. The detective also didn't call Mercer or contact the Ouachita sheriff's office.  Although the detective was aware a Sept. 29 temporary protective order kept Mercer from her daughter, that knowledge didn't appear to trigger any questions about how Mercer could have abused Celeste.  "We had no reason to believe that any abuse occurred here and the child would not be in danger with the offending parent until court proceedings and the criminal investigations were concluded in Monroe," Baswell said.
What Baswell didn’t answer was how the mother could have been responsible for the bruise since she hadn’t seen the child in five weeks. If the sheriff’s office wasn’t aware of that fact, they should have been.  It is pretty apparent from the timeline that the abuse occurred in Bossier Parish.
Had this been fully investigated, would it have been the trigger to remove the child to foster care?  We'll never know.
Go to the Times and read the articles. There are no easy answers for any of it.


  1. It seems clear that with a good investigation by the sheirff's office things could have been much different. Maybe this child's life could have been saved. Some have blogged that Larry has top notch organization which was terrible until he was elected. Well maybe it is not as good as some claim.

  2. You really can't blame the Bossier Sheriff's department for messing up the investigation, it's the blind leading the blind. No one at the department knows how to conduct a criminal investigation on anything. Even if they have a suspect to put in jail... they won't make an arrest, but they will yell at the top of their lungs that they are the best of the best.... give me a break.

  3. This is not a failure of the system. The law says death penalty because under 12 so fear is not a detrrent. The Sheriff's office did its job. The Judges did their job. Evil happens, even with the best of intentions. If someone can make it around the law, the sheriff and the judges, then we as a society have a duty to show them no mercy.

  4. This case still really bothers me for a lot of reasons.

    You wrote, "There are no easy answers for any of it." And, I think that's true.

    Human error, or simply not having info available, or going on "gut" about what a kid says...I just don't know. Regardless, I'm not going to pick up a rock and throw it at a Deputy...I wasn't there, so I don't know.

    It's still just a darn shame...the whole sad mess.

  5. Anon@7:37: How could you NOT blame the BPSD for messing this up? There were complaints from a teacher in December about bruises and when the bio Dad explained it off as it being the Mom the Detective just took that and didn't bother to ask the accused. Really??? Not saying this could ave been prevented however, if they had bothered to speak with the Mom in December maybe she could have given some critical information (like she didn't have the girl for weeks) that would have gotten that baby out of his home.

  6. "The blind leading the blind"??? You are obviously either a disgruntal ex employee or a really jealous police officer from another agency. If it's another local agency your from, I can see why you would be jealous....Just look at the Stats of the S.O. and compare them to yours....The S.O is the best of the best and guess what, your not working for them...must not be good enough


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