Failure to Protect:
The Taking of Logan
ANNOUNCER: In her 5 years of life, Logan Marr
lived in three foster homes. In
the last, she died.
NEWSCASTER: Little Logan was in the custody of her foster parents, Dean and Sally
ANNOUNCER: Logan's death has wrecked the lives of
two women, the mother who gave her birth but was deemed unfit to raise her-
CHRISTY MARR: The system is failing again, once
again, this little girl.
ANNOUNCER: -and the mother who sought to take her
in but did not keep her safe.
NEWSCASTER: What's most shocking about this case is that Sally Schofield had worked
for the DHS in the Division of Child Services for years.
ANNOUNCER: Between them is Maine's Department of
Human Services, which has had to answer troubling questions about its handling
of the case.
ANNOUNCER: Why did the department separate a child
who had never been abused from her mother? Did they miss signs that she was in trouble? What does the short life and sudden
death of a little girl reveal about the shrouded work of one state's child
HOCKENBERRY: Right now in this country there are
about 600,000 children living in foster care, removed from their homes after
allegations of abuse or neglect. That's a population roughly the size of Baltimore. Yet taking a child remains one of the
most closely guarded exercises of government power.
FRONTLINE begins a special three-part series focusing on this decision, how it
is made and what are the consequences. Coming up in Part 1, the story of one little girl named Logan Marr and
the series of decisions that led to her tragic death in foster care.
week, in Part 2, FRONTLINE goes inside one state's child protective system and
follows stories found in the normally secret files of a group of
caseworkers. Directly after that,
we will convene here at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism to
talk with experts and ordinary people who have been caught up in this system.
Part 1, The Taking of Logan Marr.
NARRATOR: The story of Logan Marr begins
here. It's a poor neighborhood,
like most of the places in this state where child protective cases begin. A phone call to the state's Department
of Human Services warned that an infant girl living in this building with her
teenage mother might be unsafe. A
DHS caseworker was sent to investigate.
MARR: Logan was still in her crib. And I had just gotten up, and I had
just put out my first cigarette. And I walked to the door, like, "Who is it?" She's, like, "Diane Sanborn,
Department of Human Services." I'm, like, "Yeah? What
do you want?" "We need
to talk to you." So I opened
the door. And she wanted to look
in my cupboards and she wanted to look in my fridge, and she wanted to see
Logan. So I brought Logan out of
NARRATOR: Caseworker Diane Sanborn's notes from
[scrolling on screen] "Logan is a very beautiful child,
with brown curly hair and big brown eyes. Logan did not appear fearful of her mother and, in fact, because I was a
stranger, was more attached to her."
NARRATOR: Christy asked Sanborn who had made the
MARR: She wouldn't tell me who had
called. And I said, "I think
I know where you got it." And
she wouldn't confirm it, but she wouldn't deny it, either. So it was one of those things.
INTERVIEWER: Who was it?
MARR: My mother.
NARRATOR: Christy and her mother, Kathy, had had
a stormy relationship. Shortly
after giving birth to Logan, Christy had moved into her mother's small
apartment. The two fought
constantly over how to raise the baby.
MARR: I used to stand up for myself. She used to get so mad, you know, and-
"Well, then you need to leave"- you know, one of those
attitudes. Then I'd leave, and
she'd call the state.
NARRATOR: Caseworker notes on Kathy's phone call.
[scrolling on screen] "Kathy has always been concerned
that Christy is too immature and troubled to be a good parent to Logan. Kathy said Christy screams and hollers
at the baby all the time. Kathy
said the other day, Christy was left alone with the baby. When Kathy returned, Christy was crying
and said "I can't stand this" and ran out the door."
**SHALEIGH ANTHONY, Caseworker: [on the phone] Hello. My name is Shaleigh Anthony from the Department of Human
ROBIN WHITNEY, Caseworker: But you do have some concerns about her
ability to protect.
NARRATOR: Kathy's phone call was one of over
15,000 reports of suspected neglect or abuse fielded by Maine's DHS that
year. Many of these reports must be
investigated by child protective workers, some just out of college.
**SHALEIGH ANTHONY: The baby fell out of the bed, and I
didn't know whether that would be "inadequate care and supervision"
or "threat of physical abuse".
NARRATOR: In cases where there is an imminent risk
of serious harm, caseworkers will immediately seek the removal of the
child. More often, they will first
try to fix whatever is wrong inside a family. In Christy's case, despite her mother's charges, the agency
at first found little to fault in her mothering of Logan.
MARR: I was never accused of being an abusive
or an unfit mother. I just had
things I had to work on, is what they- how they claimed it.
NARRATOR: What Christy had to work on was what
DHS considered an unhealthy relationship with a boyfriend who had admitted
using drugs. The department told
Christy that she would have to follow a new set of rules.
[scrolling on screen] "Christy will not allow anyone to
live, reside or stay over until this person has been screened and approved by
the Department of Human Services. Christy will submit names of people or person with whom she is or plans
to be intimately involved, and shall not allow any contact between that person
and Logan until assessed and approved by DHS."
NARRATOR: As the months passed, records show,
Christy tried to live by the agency's mandates, but she became more and more
MARR: Somebody else was running my life. I was just a person following rules. It wasn't my direction, it wasn't my
thoughts, my opinions, it was theirs. It made it really hard to have your own life personal. Angry? That goes without saying. I think it was more hatred.
NARRATOR: But things for Christy only became tougher. Not only were her own relationships
under scrutiny, soon so were her mother's. Kathy had married a man named Mitch, whom DHS had been told, falsely, had been convicted of sexually assaulting a teenage girl years before. As long as Kathy and Mitch remained
together, DHS warned, Christy would have to stay away or risk losing custody of
tried to keep away from her mother, but she had few other sources of emotional
support. Inevitably, she ended up
[scrolling on screen] "Christy is missing Kathy very
much and missing the companionship of that relationship. She says that she is lonely and does
not feel that she has a lot of friends."
NARRATOR: Then Christy made a costly
mistake. One day, she left 2-year-old
Logan with a babysitter at her mother's house. Mitch, who had previously moved out, showed up outside. He was spotted by a neighbor, who
called DHS. Citing Christy's
failure to protect her daughter from the threat posed by others, the department
immediately sought custody of Logan.
MARR: They went to court, and they got an
order saying that I was allowing my daughter around unsafe people. I'll take some- some of the blame,
sure. If I wasn't there, it
wouldn't have happened. But at the
same time, he wasn't supposed to be there.
NARRATOR: DHS affidavit requesting Logan's
[scrolling on screen] "Despite the Department's
involvement with Christy since June 1996, Christy continues to demonstrate
recidivism under scrutiny, a clear sign that Christy is unable or unwilling to
make the necessary changes to provide a home free from threat of sexual and
emotional abuse. The department is
asking for custody of Logan Marr to be granted to the State of Maine's Department
of Human Services."
NARRATOR: Hearing of the department's plan to
take Logan, Christy took her daughter and fled, heading south towards
Boston. But she realized her
efforts to flee were futile and returned the same day. By the next morning, two caseworkers
had come and taken 2-and-a-half-year-old Logan. She was now in the custody of the state of Maine.
JEAN LEONARD, Caseworker: [on the phone] You know, who knows, we- what will
happen between now and when the hearing is set, but at this point, we are still
going to ask for custody.
NARRATOR: The removal of a child from a home
deemed unsafe is the most emotional aspect of a caseworker's job.
MELISSA DUMONT: [on the phone] That's why when you asked me if you
could visit with Mom again, I said no, because Mom, you know, isn't going to be
a part of your life anymore.
NARRATOR: Though any decision to take a child
must be vetted in court, the caseworkers themselves have the key voice. It is often an anguishing choice
between protecting a child and destroying a family.
Sometimes we'd have to go, you
know, at night and get them. I've
removed kids who were sleeping in their beds, you know, because that was the
safest time to go and get them.
NARRATOR: Sally Schofield was a well-regarded
caseworker in the Bangor office of DHS. Over time, as she participated in more and more removals, she began to
feel distanced from her clients.
SCHOFIELD: I remember more than once having a
birth mother tell me, "Well, go ahead and take that kid. That's all right. I'll have another one," and being
astounded by that- I guess the audacity to make that comment.
I would think, you know, "If anybody took my children, how in the world
could you not cry? How in the
world could you not lose it? How
do you function? They're taking
your life, your being. How do
these parents not feel that?" And my first supervisor used to tell me that's why they're clients, and
NARRATOR: By the fall of 1998, Logan and Christy
had been separated for three months. Christy seemed unable to make the changes necessary to get her daughter
back. She was pregnant again,
skipping mandatory counseling sessions and leaning on her mother more than
ever. The department issued an
ultimatum. If Christy hoped to
regain Logan and keep her new baby, she would have to end her relationship with
her mother once and for all.
9th, 1998, service agreement:
[scrolling on screen] "Christy will sever all contact
with her mother and demonstrate that she is able to maintain herself separately
from her mother's negative influence. Christy will participate fully with the Department of Human Services,
understanding this is the last attempt that the Department is willing to make
to reunify Logan with Christy and that custody of her second child will also be
NARRATOR: To get Logan back, Christy, now a
21-year old single mother of two young girls, would have to go it alone.
CHRISTY MARR: This is the girls' closet, so you have
the little toys. Then we'll
venture out here-
NARRATOR: Christy moved into a new apartment with
her new baby girl, whom she named Bailey.
CHRISTY MARR: There's Bailey, wide awake, as
always. Say hi!
NARRATOR: She communicated with her mother only
CHRISTY MARR: Please remember me and the kids love
you. We think about you all the
time, even though we can't be together.
NARRATOR: Christy's efforts to stay away from her
mother reassured her DHS caseworker. After seven months, satisfied that Christy had changed, the department
MARR: I remember March 24th, she was
home. She was back in my custody,
and they closed the case in June.
INTERVIEWER: And what did they tell you when they
closed the case?
MARR: That I had accomplished everything that
I needed to, to become a stable and a safe environment for my children to be
together with me.
NARRATOR: But Christy had paid a heavy price to
regain Logan. She had cut herself
off from the only lasting adult relationship in her life. Now completely on her own, responsible
for two young girls, Christy went looking for her father 1,000 miles away in
Florida. He had become alienated
from the family after an ugly divorce in which Christy had accused him of
molesting her, an accusation her father denied and which she later
recanted. Putting the past behind
her, Christy and her girls moved in with her father and his new family. For a while, things were good. With something approaching a normal
family life, Logan appeared to thrive.
BAKER, Christy's Stepmother: Never once did I have a problem with her here- no throwing herself down
on the ground, no nothing. I mean,
she was a typical little girl. Got
mad cause something didn't go her way? Yeah. A tantrum? No. They just needed a life that was stable. She didn't have one, and she had it
here, you know, for the nine weeks that they had lived down here.
NARRATOR: But Christy chafed under her father's
rules. Her attempt at
reconciliation soon failed. After
nine weeks in Florida, she headed back to Maine. It was the dead of winter and Christy had no job, no home
and no prospects. Then she made
two fateful decisions. She moved
back in with her mother and attached herself to another boyfriend of
questionable character, a convicted burglar named Paul. Before long, they were married.
of Christy's trip to Florida and her new relationship, DHS reopened her
case. They assigned it to an
inexperienced child protective caseworker named Allison Peters. Peters received a tip, never confirmed,
that Paul had hit Christy in front of Logan. She moved quickly, arriving unannounced at Christy's door
with two police officers and a court order to remove her girls.
MARR: There was a knock at the door. It was 11:30 in the morning. And I remember them walking in. Yet they didn't have the door- my hand
on the door, and they just walked right in!
NARRATOR: Allison Peters's notes:
[scrolling on screen] "I took Christy aside and
explained what was going to happen. She was very upset. I asked
her to try to remain calm for the children's sake."
MARR: And I'm, like, "You can't do this." She goes, "Oh, yes, I can, and I'm
going to." Logan started
screaming, "No, Mommy! Don't
let them take me! Mommy, please
don't let them take me!" I
told her it was going to be OK. She's, like, "No, Mommy! Don't make me go!"
[scrolling on screen] "Christy helped us dress the kids
and helped us put them in the car. She was appropriate in reminding the children that they knew me and they
would be OK with me."
MARR: I carried them all the way out to the
van. I was- I was surrounded by
two cops and two caseworkers. They
slammed the door and took off.
NARRATOR: The girls were driven to a foster home
two hours away. It would be the
last time that Logan would ever live with her mother.
Christy was struggling with the loss of her girls, DHS caseworker Sally
Schofield had begun to think about adopting a little girl of her own. She had two boys, one from a
previous marriage. But she had always longed for a girl.
SCHOFIELD: I sort of felt like if I had 12
children, they'd probably all be boys, so I'd never get a girl. So we decided to pursue adoption.
NARRATOR: DHS discourages its caseworkers from
adopting children from within the system, but Sally was determined to be an
exception. She enrolled with her
husband in a mandatory training program for adoptive parents, where her
experience as a DHS caseworker immediately set her apart.
SCHOFIELD: I think probably the general consensus
was that I was some sort of know-it-all, you know, because I would say,
"Well, you know, I think that maybe we ought to look at this piece,"
if something came up or whatever. And the instructors, clearly, were looking to me for clarification or
for answers. And although I didn't
notice it, my husband was noticing that there were certain people in the class who
were just, like, "Oh, great. Here she goes again."
NARRATOR: In her years at DHS, Sally had
developed great confidence in her own ability to handle children. When a pre-adoption assessment made
some critical comments, Sally complained so loudly that the authors removed the
Schofield's pre-adoption assessment:
[scrolling on screen] "When asked how she would deal
with a child in a very challenging parenting situation - for example, a child
who is out of control and not following the rules - Sally said she couldn't
imagine a situation in which a child of theirs would be that far out of
**CASEWORKER: [on the phone] Well, we don't have a home for him yet,
a definite home. So until we do,
he'll be with you.
NARRATOR: Sally picked a good time to pursue
adoption. In an effort to rescue
kids from the limbo of foster care, the federal government had begun offering
states like Maine financial incentives to place children in adoption. Also, biological parents were given
less time to turn their lives around before losing their children
permanently. The new legislation
reflected a philosophical shift in child protective work, which for decades had
emphasized keeping families together. Now the focus was on keeping children safe, even at the expense of the
rights of their parents.
Examine the new policies]
Christy, the clock was running out. By July, 2000, her girls were still in foster care. Christy had only eight months left to
prove herself or face the likelihood of losing her daughters for good. Determined to get her girls back,
Christy divorced Paul, worked two jobs and attended mandatory classes and
therapy sessions, riding for hours in DHS vans to get to them.
MARR: It was just hard to keep up with things
sometimes. It felt like I was
dragging all the time. I didn't
know when it was going to end. Well, where is the end to this? You do everything and you do everything, but it doesn't seem like
there's an end.
NARRATOR: While Christy struggled to prove
herself, 4-year-old Logan was beginning to show the effects of separation from her
mother. The department had placed
the girls with a new foster mother named Mary Beth Anderson. According to parts of Mary Beth's
journal, Logan asked her from the start when her mother would "get her
[scrolling on screen] "April 16th. I told her I didn't know, that Mommy
had choices and needed to make the right decisions so they would have a safe
"April 21st. Logan asked at breakfast if I thought her mommy was going to
get her back. She told me a story
of how the cops came to Grandpa's house and said they would take her away, and
Mommy cried. She says cops are
NARRATOR: That month, Logan was seen by a
therapist five times. The
therapist listed the themes in Logan's play as, "Mommy and Daddy fighting,
Mommy and Daddy losing their baby, big sisters taking care of little sisters,
and someone took me away, but I don't know why." The little girl who had seemed so happy in Florida only a
few months before was now in obvious pain.
NARRATOR: Mary Beth Anderson's journal:
"May 10th. Logan's outrage is still bad. The child has anger by the ton. Logan pushes and pushes, and if I don't react, pushes
further with whining and screaming, "No!" and punching with closed
fists and kicking."
"May 24th. Logan started right off with `Do you think my mommy will get
me back?' My pat answer is, `I
don't know.' She didn't get a
reaction from me, so she escalated by talking loudly and non-stop about her mom
right next to me."
NARRATOR: By July, Mary Beth was having trouble
coping with Logan. Concerned that
she might have been abused sometime in the past, she brought Logan for an
evaluation to the Spurwink Clinic. Despite extensive examinations, Spurwink counselors could find no
evidence of any abuse, physical or sexual. Instead, they recommended that Logan receive counseling to
cope with the separation from her mother.
the night before Logan's first day of kindergarten, something happened. There was a physical incident between
Mary Beth and Logan, an incident both Mary Beth and DHS refuse to discuss. Whatever took place in Mary Beth's
home, DHS moved quickly to find a new foster placement for the girls.
turned to one of their own, Sally Schofield. Department rules normally bar caseworkers from becoming
foster parents to children within the system. Nevertheless, just a week after the incident in Mary Beth's
home, Sally received a call from caseworker Allison Peters.
SCHOFIELD: Allison told us that, you know, the
girls were beautiful little girls. They didn't have any issues. They didn't have any behaviors. They had to move the girls, and they were heading for TPR and-
NARRATOR: Terminating Christy's parental rights
would free the girls to be adopted.
SCHOFIELD: The plan was that they would be freed
for adoption. So at the time that
the girls needed to move, the department wanted to find a family that would
take them now, and then, ultimately, down the road, adopt them, so they
wouldn't have to move again.
INTERVIEWER: And that was you.
INTERVIEWER: Did you get the sense, when Logan was
brought to you, that she was a difficult little girl? Did anybody tell you she was a difficult little girl?
SCHOFIELD: No. Actually, what we were told was that they didn't have any
behavioral problems and there were no known emotional problems.
NARRATOR: The girls moved in with Sally in early
September, 2000. She took to them
SCHOFIELD: You know, we fell in love with those
girls probably that first weekend. These were our children, and we didn't treat them any differently than
we did the boys. I mean, they were
NARRATOR: While Sally sought to win the girls'
trust, DHS cut back Christy's visits with them. She would have to provide her own transportation, though she
didn't have a car. She was not allowed
to know Sally's address, last name or occupation.
SCHOFIELD: We never met. The plan for visits was that I would get there early and
drop off the girls and then leave, so she wouldn't even be able to identify the
vehicle the girls got into. And
then at the end of the visit, the visit supervisor would leave the birth mom in
the room, bring the girls out to me and then go back. And once I'd left the parking lot, she would then allow the
birth mother to come out of the building. So that was the plan.
NARRATOR: Discouraged, Christy began to
falter. She missed classes and
counseling appointments. At one
point, she stormed out of a meeting with her DHS caseworker.
INTERVIEWER: You knew you might lose your kids. How could you not go to every single
thing that they wanted you to do?
MARR: I was tired, very tired. I was losing faith and hope. Why bother? What's going to come out of this, anyway? You know, they're going to try to take
my kids, and they're not going to, you know, give them back, and they know
it. Why- why are they doing
this? Why am I fighting so
hard? No matter how hard I'm
fighting, what would be the point? I'm going to lose in the end, anyway.
Read the interview]
NARRATOR: In a fit of pique, Christy quietly
remarried Paul, the man whose presence had led to the removal of Logan and
Bailey, in the first place.
INTERVIEWER: Did you think they wouldn't find out?
MARR: I knew they'd find out. I think I- I didn't want to tell them
because I wanted to do it out of spite, because that's how much I hated them.
NARRATOR: In December, Sally sent a Christmas
card to her family and friends.
SCHOFIELD: [reading] "Seasons greetings to you
all. I hope this Christmas finds
you in good health and even better spirits. On September 1st, we had two little girls join our
family. They are just darling, as
you can see, and have settled in rather nicely. I'm still waiting for it to hit
me that we now have four kids."
INTERVIEWER: Though not rich herself, Sally was able
to give Logan things that Christy had not- swimming lessons and dance
classes. But Logan didn't seem
SCHOFIELD: I remember one day Bailey was upset
because she couldn't get down and play during supper. She was having a problem with that, and Logan was trying to
comfort her and said, "Well, don't worry, Sister. Maybe our next home, you won't- we
won't- they won't have that rule." And she said that very matter-of-factly. And I said, "Well- well, sweetie, where do you think
you're going?" She goes,
"Well, you know, in our next home." Definite survival skills. She had to know everything that went on and why. She thought she was a parent. She thought she had to take care of
Bailey and herself.
LOGAN: No, no! Like this! Like this!
DEAN SCHOFIELD: No, no, Logan! Let's just let her be.
NARRATOR: By the time she arrived at Sally's,
Logan was in her third foster home in four years of life. Sally would be the fourth woman to
assume the role of mother.
SCHOFIELD: I really think that there was a lot of
turmoil inside of her. And she would
have these moods where she was terribly confused. When she would come home from the visits, she would start
talking about something that her birth mom had said, or say, "Oh, Mommy- I
mean, Sally- I mean, Mommy- I mean, well"- she was struggling.
NARRATOR: According to DHS' own notes, Logan
seemed especially upset during her visits with Christy.
[scrolling on screen] "October 12th. Logan kept telling Mom throughout the
visit that she was her favorite person in the whole world. As the visit was ending, Logan ran to
Mom and said, "I want to go home with you." Christy said, "That's not possible. And you have a lot of things to keep
you busy, like swimming and dancing lessons."
[scrolling on screen] "October 30th. Logan tells Christy, "I don't like
Sally." Christy replied that
Sally seemed like a very nice lady, did many nice things for the girls and
dressed them beautifully. Logan
burst into tears, and Christy held her and told her that she would always be
there for her."
"December 7th. Out of the blue, Logan said, "Do you know what Sally
looks like?" Christy said,
"Yes, I have seen her." Logan said, "I don't like her."
SCHOFIELD: Then she started with the
tantrums. I mean, things like
normal temper tantrums, kids- you know, they get mad and they scream and they
cry, and they, you know, stomp off to their room or whatever. Those are normal temper tantrums. She really had rages. She would scream at the top of her
lungs that she didn't need parents, she didn't need us, she could take care of
herself. She'd always done
it. She didn't need parents for
would destroy her bed. She would
kick the wall. She would beat on
the wall with her arms. She would
thrash around. She was out of
she was- I don't know. She was responding
to something, but not the situation at hand. And as a parent, your first response is, "Oh, what is
going on? What is this
about?" And then, almost the
very next feeling is, "Who did this to my baby? What did they do? Why, at 4 years of age, is she in so much pain? What's happened to her? What demons is she dealing with?"
NARRATOR: Suddenly, all the confidence which
Sally had accumulated as a parent and a DHS caseworker seemed to vanish.
INTERVIEWER: You had these years and years of dealing
with difficult children. Where did
that training go?
SCHOFIELD: [laughs] The thing about dealing with difficult
children is that there's a world of difference between book knowledge and
actual experience. And there are
all kinds of people who know all kinds of things about attachment disorder and
children with attachment issues and all kinds of other special needs that
children have. But until you've
lived with those children, you have no idea what it's like.
MARR: So when they said that she was raging
and she was throwing things and- that- that wasn't Logan. That was not
Logan. And it didn't make sense to
me, and it didn't- I'm, like, "All right, I can understand temper
tantrums." I mean, yeah,
she's got them when she don't get her way. But it wasn't often. And these people are saying she had one every time she saw me. Well, what could be the reason she was
doing it after she saw me? Maybe
because she wanted to come home.
NARRATOR: In mid-October, Christy had a visit
with her girls. As a DHS
supervisor watched, Christy reportedly became alarmed over some discoloration
on Bailey's behind, which later turned out to be diaper rash.
[scrolling on screen] "I told Christy
that her concerns would be noted. Christy then told Logan that if anyone does anything she doesn't like or
doesn't feel right, she should tell her. She told her that she could tell her mother anything and Christy would
never get angry with her."
NARRATOR: A few weeks later, according to a news
account, caseworker Allison Peters sent Christy a letter chastising her for
voicing her concerns. "Logan
does not need to distrust her foster home, nor any of the individuals caring
for her," Peters wrote. "You could have very well left Logan with a sense of fear and
distrust." She ended the
letter with a warning: "Help make your visits a positive experience for
Logan and Bailey so that they will continue."
MARR: She would beg and fight with me at the
end of the visit not to go back. I
didn't know why. You know, she
would tell me things and- but I couldn't really discuss them with them or
comment on them or ask her questions.
MARR: She would tell me that the foster
parents would wrap her and her sister up in blankets and grab her face. And you know, she said that she would
get in trouble sometimes. I'm,
like, "You want to talk about it?" She goes, "No, I don't want to talk about it."
NARRATOR: On December 18, Christy had her
Christmas visit with her daughters. In a roomful of gifts, she waited.
MARR: And I remember going in that room and
just waiting with the camcorder. I
could hear them coming down the hall - here they come - because it was my mom's
Christmas present because she couldn't be there to see the kids.
NARRATOR: While a DHS visit supervisor sat
listening, Logan told her mother that Sally had hurt her.
**LOGAN: Mommy? Just so you know-
you know Sally, my birth mom?
CHRISTY MARR: No, I'm your birth mom. You mean your foster mom?
LOGAN: She did this to me, and I cried. And it hurts me.
CHRISTY MARR: Oh, I'm very sorry.
**LOGAN: And she did it to my sister, too.
MARR: It- still it stunned me, what would
make a 5-year-old stop opening Christmas presents on that day to say what she
did to me about Sally grabbing her face, making her hurt and her sister- on her
INTERVIEWER: What did you think when she said that?
MARR: I didn't know what to think. I believed her, though. And I just- I wanted to ask her so many
questions. Why? What happened. I went to say something, and I got a
look from the supervisor, like, you know, head shaking, "No, don't go into
detail." And so I kind of-
just kind of had to bite my tongue. And it's, like, "Well, let's try not to worry about that. Let's try to have a good
**CHRISTY MARR: Well, why don't you sit down, and we'll
have a good Christmas. And let's
not think about that right now, OK?
INTERVIEWER: But you couldn't ask her.
MARR: Couldn't ask her. No.
LOGAN: Mommy, I love you!
Whatever you guys got here today, you guys are
more than welcome to play with. That is the whole purpose of having Christmas together. That way, we can spend it together.
NARRATOR: In early January, 2001, during another
supervised visit, Logan again told her mother that Sally had handled her
roughly, wrapping her up in a blanket. And again Christy was signaled not to pursue the matter. DHS's own rules require caseworkers to
visit every foster home quarterly and to promptly investigate any complaint of
physical abuse. Allison Peters did
neither. Peters declined
FRONTLINE's request for an interview.
January, Sally had quit her job as a caseworker and DHS had decided to pave the
way for her adoption of the girls, despite clear and repeated warnings that she
was having a difficult time dealing with Logan. On January 8th, just five days after Logan's last
allegation, Allison Peters emailed Sally, "Christy is still up to her old
tricks, so she continues to make termination of parental rights easier and
easier to get."
late January, Christy wrote what would be her last letter to her daughters.
MARR: [reading] "Dear Logan and Bailey, my sweet
little ladies. I think of you so
much and often, it seems hard to believe you girls have been gone so long
now. In a month or so, I stand a
chance to lose the both of you forever. It's been no picnic, but this is not your fault. It's mine and mine alone. From what I understand, you girls have
things I couldn't or didn't know how to give to you. But I'm trying to learn, and I hope some day you will
forgive me for messing up your lives. Please don't forget me. When the day comes you need me or want me, you'll find me. I love you girls forever and
always. Love always, Mom."
INTERVIEWER: You had given up.
MARR: I had given up. I couldn't do it anymore. I was hurting too much. I was too tired. No matter how much everybody says,
"Don't give up, Don't give up, you've got to keep fighting," they weren't
walking in my shoes. They didn't
know what I went through day in and day out. Maybe if they did, they'd know- you know, getting pressures
from different ends of the world. Just too tired, too frustrated.
NARRATOR: Logan never heard Christy's letter. Christy had hoped to give it to her on
their next visit, scheduled for January 31st. There was a blizzard that day. Sally called her babysitter to tell her that Logan's visit
with Christy was off.
SCHOFIELD: When I got home, I don't know, a little
before 3:00, I guess, Logan was asleep. And when she woke up about, I don't know, a half hour, 45 minutes later,
she woke up raging. And I went in
and- and asked her what was going on. And she just- I mean, she just wasn't even responsive to my
questions. I mean, it was like she
didn't even know. She couldn't-
couldn't even tell me. She just
wasn't herself. I asked her if she
needed to scream, and she said yes. I said, "OK, well, then, let's put you some place where you can
Read the interview]
NARRATOR: Sally put Logan in an unfinished
portion of her basement in a high chair.
INTERVIEWER: She was free to get out of that chair?
INTERVIEWER: How long was she there?
SCHOFIELD: Must have been over an hour. I kept going down to check on her, see
if she was OK, see if she needed to go to the bathroom, if she was done, you
know, did she need something.
NARRATOR: At one point, Sally says, she left
Logan in the basement to start cooking dinner.
SCHOFIELD: So I went upstairs and put pork chops
and baked potatoes in the oven and might have been up there three minutes. And I came back, and she was
quiet. And I said, "Are you
done?" And she didn't answer.
NARRATOR: Sally would later say she found Logan
lying in a heap on the floor, still confined to her high chair. She wasn't breathing.
SALLY SCHOFIELD: No. I tried CPR, and I can't find a pulse.
NARRATOR: Logan was rushed to Maine General
Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead. That night, the police came to interview Sally Schofield.
SALLY SCHOFIELD: I went down to the bottom of the stairs
and I said, "Logan are you done?" And she was on the floor, still in the high chair. My first thought was, "Oh, my
God," you know, "she hit her head and she knocked herself
out." So I picked her up and
I took her out to the bottom of the stairs and laid her down. And I- at that point, I was just- my
heart was racing so hard, I couldn't tell if it was her pulse or my
fingers. So I was- at that point,
I was sure that what had happened was she had somehow managed to get herself
tipped back and hit her head, you know, and kind of knocked herself out or
NEWSCASTER: Logan was in the custody of her foster parents, Dean and Sally Schofield.
NARRATOR: In a subsequent search of Sally's home,
police found evidence that raised doubts about her story. Strewn amid boxes in the dank basement
were clumps of duct tape, some 40 feet in all. Police tests revealed that the tape had been looped
repeatedly around Logan's body and head and across her mouth. Tufts of Logan's hair could be seen
stuck to the tape. An autopsy
revealed that Logan had not died from a blow to the head but from asphyxiation.
than 48 hours after Logan's death, detectives confronted Sally with the new
evidence. At first, Sally said
that Logan had tangled herself in the duct tape, but her story soon crumbled.
1st DETECTIVE: There are some things that we are able
to see from the medical examiners. There are some conclusions that we can come
to so far. We can see that she was
fully duct-taped in that seat and that the duct tape went all the way around
the seat. Is that what you recall
SALLY SCHOFIELD: I honestly and truly don't remember. I mean, I didn't pay attention to
it. It was just- I didn't pay
attention to the details.
1st DETECTIVE: And that's one thing that does surprise
me, that she would be able to do that, to duct-tape herself into the seat. And that's why I'm coming to you today
to say, Sally, that if you put her to secure her in that seat, it's very
important, at this point, that you tell us that.
2nd DETECTIVE: We know that a 5-year-old girl isn't
going to take duct tape, and especially in the ways you described it. So you didn't just tape her in at all,
just one roll to keep her there-
SALLY SCHOFIELD: No. She was talking about the duct tape, and I said, "What
were you trying to do?"
2nd DETECTIVE: See, Sally, it's there, though. That's the thing.
SALLY SCHOFIELD: The thing is that she made some [unintelligible] comment, and I said,
"What were you trying to do, tie yourself in?" And she said, "Yes." So I said, "Like this?" And then I did it.
NEWSCASTER: What's most shocking about this case is that Sally Schofield had worked
for the DHS in the Division of Child Services for years.
NARRATOR: On March 8, Sally was arrested and
charged with "depraved indifference murder" and manslaughter. A prosecution affidavit alleged that
she had taped Logan to her high chair and taped her mouth shut. Shortly after, DHS came to the home of
their former caseworker.
SCHOFIELD: The department took my children the
INTERVIEWER: Did they warn you that that was going
SCHOFIELD: They called me at 6:30 that night to
say, "We're on our way with a petition. We're going to take your kids."
INTERVIEWER: Did you know where they were going to go?
SCHOFIELD: No. I told them that I would leave the house, that they didn't
have to take my children. "We'll have family come in here and stay with the children. You don't need to remove the children." "Nope, we're going to remove the
SCHOFIELD: The baby had never gone more than 12
hours without seeing me, and he had never even spent the night anywhere without
us. And they took him, and we
weren't allowed to see him for 10 days. And he was sick and he was tired, and he cried and he cried, and he kept
calling for Mommy and Daddy.
NARRATOR: Christy did not see Logan until the day
of her funeral.
MARR: She was partially dressed because I
wanted to dress her for the last time. I figured I was the first one to dress
her in this world, wanted to make sure I was the last. I remember I always had a knack for
buying the wrong size shoes. I bought
the wrong size shoes even for her funeral. They had to cut them. I was trying to gently put them on her feet, and he says, "You're
not going to hurt her."
NARRATOR: In June, 2002, Sally was tried for the
death of Logan. In her interviews
with FRONTLINE, taped before the trial, she would not discuss the circumstances
of Logan's death, but she denied having intentionally harmed Logan.
INTERVIEWER: You maintain that what happened was
SCHOFIELD: It was certainly unforeseeable. Not planned. There was absolutely no intention of anything. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever
think that anything would happen to Logan.
NARRATOR: Sally waived her right to a jury
trial. A judge concluded that she
had not intentionally killed Logan and dismissed the murder charge, but he
found her guilty of manslaughter and sentenced her to 20 years in prison.
formal disciplinary action was taken against any DHS employees in connection
with Logan's death. Allison Peters
testified at the trial but was never asked about her failure to respond to
Logan's complaints about Sally. She was placed on paid administrative leave for a month and has since
her sister's death, 2-year-old Bailey was moved to her third foster home. For the next year, Christy battled DHS
to get Bailey back. Finally, in
February, 2002, Bailey was returned to Christy for good. Almost a year-and-a-half after her
daughter's death, Christy says she was told that Maine DHS had officially
closed her case file.
the outcome of the Marr case was exceptional, many have worried that the
sequence of events leading up to Logan's death was all too common.
NARRATOR: State lawmakers have conducted two
separate investigations of DHS. Dozens of people emerged to complain of mistreatment at the hands of the
2nd WOMAN AT HEARING: They forced me to take him to the
hospital for a shaken-baby exam. And all of the tests came out negative, and yet they still kept my
child, based upon I didn't hurt him this time but I might in the future.
NARRATOR: -of a secretive process with little
review or oversight.
2nd MAN AT HEARING: People who aren't accountable to
anybody probably are going to make some mistakes. That system must be penetrated.
NARRATOR: Throughout the controversy, DHS
maintained a public silence about the Marr case. Citing confidentiality, senior DHS officials have refused
FRONTLINE's requests for an interview and declined to respond to written
questions about the case. But in
part to counter the impressions left by the story of Logan Marr, DHS made
FRONTLINE a rare offer: to observe their normally confidential child protective
system from the inside.
January of 2002, a FRONTLINE crew moved into the Bangor field office of DHS for
more than three months-
**SHALEIGH ANTHONY, Caseworker: Just as soon as you left the case, they
moved on the farm with the sex offender.
NARRATOR: -where we followed caseworkers as they
made difficult calls under pressure-
**FATHER: I want to see my son, and my son wants to see me, and-
CASEWORKER: Yeah, that doesn't mean it's going to happen.
NARRATOR: -and talked to families caught up in
NARRATOR: Next week, Part 2 of our look at
Maine's Department of Human Services, a portrait of caseworkers in action.
Taking of Logan Marr
13, Portland, Maine
5, Bangor, Maine
and David Schofield
FRONTLINE coproduction with 10/20 Productions, LLC.
is a production of WGBH Boston, which is solely responsible for its content.
ANNOUNCER: This report continues on our Web site,
where you'll find out more about Logan Marr, her mother and the child
protection system, the audiotape excerpts of the police interrogation of Sally
Schofield, an interview with the program's producer about this story. And find out on the Web site if this
program will be shown again on your PBS station. Then join the discussion at PBS on line, pbs.org.
time, the investigation continues. They can save a child-
CASEWORKER: You're helping them, even if they don't realize it.
ANNOUNCER: -and destroy a family.
FATHER: I want to see my son, my son wants to see me.
CASEWORKER: Well, that doesn't mean it's going to happen.
ANNOUNCER: When should parents lose their rights
to raise their own children?
CASEWORKER: Even these kids that are horrendously abused, they still love their parents,
and their parents still love them.
ANNOUNCER: In Part 2 of a special series,
FRONTLINE goes inside the foster care system to investigate The Caseworker
and organizations can purchase a tape of this program by calling PBS Video at
1-800-PLAY-PBS. [$59.95 plus
funding for Failure to Protect is
provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, making grants to improve the
health and health care of all Americans.
is made possible by contributions to your PBS station from viewers like
you. Thank you.