CPS Investigates Family of 8-Year-Old Who Stabbed Another Child in Kent County

Swiss army knife on table
An 8-year-old stabbed another child in a domestic fight.

Police and Child Protective Services are currently investigating the family of an 8-year-old boy from Kent County who is accused of stabbing another, 12-year-old child. According to police records, the incident took place in Grand Rapids, at about 8 pm on November 9th.

It is reminiscent of the Jamarion Lawhorn case, where an abused and angry young boy took the life of 9-year-old Connor Verkerke, stabbing him to death on a public playground in an effort to earn himself the death sentence. The difference here, thank goodness, is that the victim in this case made it into surgery in time, and because the wounds were not life-threatening, is now recovering nicely. But what about the boy with the knife?

According to police records, the 8-year-old boy, whose name has not been released to the public, was arrested and is being held in the Kent County Juvenile Detention Center. He appeared recently with his mother in the Kent County Family Court, where Court referee Deborah McNabb set his bond at $25,000. The boy’s defense attorney says that his mother is expected to request a reduced bail at a later date. But for now, she is fine with him remaining in the juvenile detention facility.

Police say that the incident took place in the family’s home. Allegedly the 8-year-old was arguing with other, younger siblings in the home when the 12-year-old child tried to intervene. At that point the 8-year-old picked up a knife and stabbed the older child in the chest.

According to Assistant Kent County Prosecutor Laura Clifton, CPS is working with law enforcement to determine if the other children are being properly supervised in the home. Apparently there are a large number of children living in the home, and CPS is attempting to determine if the parents are able to provide proper supervision for all of them.

In the case of Jamarion Lawhorn, an investigation into the family revealed years of child abuse that CPS had repeatedly substantiated in the past, but chosen not to act on. As a result, a CPS investigator and an agency supervisor were both disciplined for what was listed as neglect of duty. CPS paperwork revealed that both individuals were guilty of not following state law or agency policy with regard to Jamarion’s case. They were both suspended without pay for five days, and required to participate in additional training.
Thus far, we have no idea what the CPS investigation into this case will reveal. Did the agency know about ongoing abuse in the family that, if acted upon could have prevented this tragic stabbing? Or did this incident come completely out of the blue, from a family that has had no history of interactions with CPS? Only time will tell…