Archive for the ‘Child Welfare System’ Category
Asheville, N.C., Sept. 9, 2016 – Seth Willis Pickering stabbed his 6-year old daughter Lila to death in front of two park rangers along the Blue Ridge Parkway. When arrested, he said, “Now they will never be able to take her away from me.. She’s happier now.. it’s what she wanted.”
Pickering was involved in a custody dispute with ex-wife Ashley Pickering. Ashley left the relationship because he was abusive towards her. Ashley, who now lives in Florida, was fighting in the courts for the return of her daughter, “I went to leave and a cop was supposed to send Lila with me, and he didn’t, and I’ve been fighting with the courts and DSS.” Ashley claims that Lila was soon to return to her care.
Lila was placed in protective custody with the Buncombe County Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) after being removed from her father’s care, due to his violent behavior towards another woman. Lila was placed with a local family, who she knew well. The family offered to take the child in to avoid foster care. Pickering was allowed supervised visitation.
On September 9th, Lila was picked up at the home by her father, without permission, and taken to a remote camp site. Park rangers discovered Pickering with Lila, and before they could intervene, he has stabbed her to death.
Pickering is charged with first degree murder.
Lila Pickering is described as being a happy child with a beautiful smile who nickname was “Rescue Ranger” because she was willing to help anybody. Lila would have celebrated her birthday on October 1st, there will be a celebration of her life at the local elementary school where she attended. A Go Fund Me has been created by the family to help raise money for funeral expenses.
Cindy Dabil, Lila’s grandmother says Child Protective Services in Florida and in North Carolina should have done more to protect Lila. She hopes Lila’s tragic death will serve as a call to action to better protect children from abuse, and to make changes to improve the safety of children living in state care