EAST ALTON — State investigators on Tuesday visited a home to check on the welfare of 33-year-old Leann Singleton, who has cerebral palsy, is blind, deaf and cannot speak.
The Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Human Service's Investigative Team Leader Sheira Bennett Davis and Investigator Brad Davis, who are not related, arrived at the house Singleton shares with her father Jimmy Singleton, 68, and her stepmother and legal guardian Rose Goode-Singleton, 50.
The investigators went inside the home at 196 Goulding Ave. and emerged 20 minutes later. Next, they went to the East Alton Police Department, where they were met by reporters in the lobby.
When asked if Leann was safe, Bennett Davis responded, "No comment" and continued to walk out to her state car in the parking lot.
"This is an open investigation, and it's ongoing. We cannot provide information on an ongoing investigation," said Department of Human Services spokesman Kayce Ataiyero.
But Police Chief Dwynn Isringhausen said the investigators came to East Alton on Tuesday to do a wellness check on Leann, a 4-foot-8, 90-pound disabled woman who was the topic of a story in the Belleville News-Democrat Sunday. They found Leann well-fed and cared for in a clean house with working utilities and water, Isringhausen said.
"I will continue to send them reports as we receive them, just as we as always have," Isringhausen said.
Sunday's story chronicled periodic investigations over six years by the OIG into the safety of Leann. During this time period, local police came to the house 96 times in response to 911 calls.
Family members expressed fear that other family members might kill or sexually molest Leann, according to sworn statements filed by family members seeking orders of protection.
There have been at least eight calls over the last six years to the OIG's hotline alleging abuse, sexual misconduct and neglect of Leann. But only one resulted in any finding of abuse and neglect after a state investigator substantiated allegations in 2007 that Goode-Singleton had roughly yanked Leann by the arm and up a wheelchair ramp.
Both Jimmy Singleton and Rose Goode-Singleton have denied all allegations of wrongdoing regarding Leann.
On Nov. 1, Isringhausen sent an officer to check on Leann after he received an e-mail from an OIG investigator concerning still another complaint to the hotline.
Isringhausen told the officer to request that an OIG investigator go along because the state agency is responsible for investigating allegations of abuse and neglect against disabled adults who live at home. But Isringhausen said an OIG staffer told one of his men that they were too busy to send an investigator.
The officer found two sex offenders at the home, Larry Kemp, 51, and Terry Wayne Davis, 42. Davis, who was convicted of forcibly molesting a 16-year-old girl, said he wanted to move in to the Singleton house. Kemp was found guilty of sexually abusing a 12-year-old girl.
A previous OIG investigation revealed that at least seven Social Security numbers came back to the two-bedroom house. The Singletons said they did allow people to stay there in the basement for short periods.
Isringhausen said Tuesday that Leann was staying around the corner from Goulding Avenue on Silver Street with her state-paid caregiver and stepsister Jamie Cunningham. Last year, Cunningham filed an order of protection to keep Goode-Singleton away from her and Leann because she feared that Goode-Singleton would molest them in their sleep.
Goode-Singleton asked for a court order to keep Jimmy Singleton away just a few months before that because he allegedly threatened to kill Goode-Singleton and anyone who got in his way. Goode-Singleton later asked that the order of protection be dropped and told the judge Leann needed her father. Cunningham's order of protection has also been allowed to expire.
Goode-Singleton remains Leann's guardian.
In June, the newspaper reported that the agency rejected hundreds of hotline calls, judged "non-reportable," and if the subject of a hotline call later died, there would be no investigation because the dead are "ineligible for services." When the agency did investigate alleged abuse or neglect, the disabled person was seldom removed from the home. In hundreds of cases, calls to the hotline continued even after substantiated investigations.
One of the eight calls concerning Leann was deemed "non-reportable" and not fully investigated.