ASHEVILLE, NC (WIS) - Representatives from the North Carolina Department of Social Services were not able to release information on the case involving Theia McArdle, but officials say they do not take children into custody unless there is an imminent risk of danger even if the parent or caregiver has a lengthy criminal record.
McArdle's criminal history includes more than 15 arrests for assault, child abuse and communicating threats. Reports indicate that some of the threats made by McArdle came while DSS was working with the family.
McArdle first came to the attention of NCDSS after she was arrested for a misdemeanor child abuse charge in 2013. Buncombe County officials say a misdemeanor child abuse charge may not have warranted removal of a child from the home.
"The child has to be in immediate risk of imminent danger for the Department of Social Services to take immediate custody of a child," Buncombe County Social Work Director Angela Pittman said. "Certainly throughout the life of a case, we're addressing that on-going, we're aalwaysgathering information, and if at any time it reaches that critical place, we will absolutely petition the court and request custody."
Newberry Police say McArdle was working as an escort shortly before her son's death. North Carolina DSS says even that would not be grounds to take away custody from a parent.
South Carolina's Eighth Circuit Solicitor will have the final say over which files are released by NCDSS . That decision is expected to be made within the next week.