Randy McIlwain, NBC 5 News
NBC 5 has learned that prosecutors in Hunt County sought indictments for criminally negligent homicide against three Child Protective Services employees, claiming if they had done their jobs Alicia Moore might still be alive. A grand jury refused to indict the trio on that very serious charge, instead only indicting them on charges of tampering with evidence related to the case.
Hunt County prosecutors originally sought criminally negligent homicide indictments against three Child Protective Services employees who were ultimately charged with the lesser felony of tampering of evidence in the slaying of a 16-year-old girl.
Sixteen-year-old Alicia Moore's body was found dumped on the side of a rural Van Zandt County road days after she disappeared near her Greenville home in November.
Current CPS Supervisor Natalie Reynolds, who is on leave, retired Regional Supervisor Laura Ard, and recently resigned case worker Rebekah Ross were all indicted and arrested on charges of tampering with evidence in the case.
Michael Moore, the teen's, was arrested in May and charged in her slaying. Prosecutors had sought criminally negligent homicide indictments against the CPS workers, saying there was a chance the girl would still be alive if the CPS workers that were assigned to her case had done their jobs.
Prosecutors say Terry Ramsire sexually assaulted Alicia Moore in August 2012. Ramsire, who has since been convicted of the crime, was in jail at the time of her disappearance and slaying.
Ross or someone in the Greenville CPS office should have performed a risk assessment of Alicia Moore immediately upon being assigned the case in 2012. A risk assessment is a written report that determines if Ramsire remains a threat to Moore and if Moore's needs are being met in her home environment.
Prosecutors allege that the risk assessment either was never done or was not completed and forwarded for proper review to determine what was Moore's best interests.
The assessment could have triggered decisions such as being temporarily removed from her home and even neighborhood, meaning she would not have been there on the day of her disappearance.
But the grand jury refused to indict the CPS workers on on the criminally negligent homicide charges.
Alicia Moore's great-uncle did not live in her home or even in Greenville at the time of her death.
However, according to the indictment, prosecutors believe Ross, Reynolds and Ard quickly fabricated a risk-assessment document on Nov. 6, the day Moore's body was found, and closed the file on the sexual abuse case to protect their jobs.
A whistle-blower concerned that the case was being mishandled contacted the State's Office of Inspector General, which oversees CPS. It launched an investigation that led to the evidence-tampering indictments. Ross and Reynolds were also indicted on multiple counts of official oppression in connection with alleged improper searches and seizures of some CPS clients.
Reynolds, the only one still employed by CPS, is on leave. All three have bonded out of jail.