Nashville, TN

Foster Mom Suspected With Abusing and Killing Toddler Dies Just Before Arrest

Chrissie Marie

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Foster mom commits suicide before her arrest for child abuse and murder.Facebook/Latricia Thomas

A Tennessee woman, suspected of killing and abusing her 2-year-old foster son, was found dead from an apparent suicide, Crime Online reported. Deborah Barnes was facing a criminal homicide and child abuse charges for two-year-old Vincent Carter's death. Before the Chattanooga police could arrest her, she took her life.

Police planned on serving a warrant for her arrest and charging Barnes with the toddler's murder. According to NBC, Law enforcement said they couldn't apprehend her, because they found the foster mom's lifeless body in a parking lot last week.

The toddler died on September 13, just three days after Barnes called for help after finding the boy unresponsive. When paramedics arrived at her home, Cater was having trouble breathing, so they took him to the hospital. The hospital called the police, reporting the child's suspicious injuries. On November 6, the medical examiner concluded Vincent died from multiple blunt force injuries to the head and neck.

Cater and his siblings had lived with Barnes since January.after their parents had a domestic violence episode that put the children's lives in danger. Eriyuan Carter, biological mother, allegedly bit their father on his hand after he tried to choke her. The father then threw a chair hittig all three kids. At the time of Vincent's death, the mother was actively trying to get custody of her children, and she raised concerns about her kids' safety in Deborah Barnes' home.

“Every visitation she had with her children, she complained. She would call me and let me know, [sic] this is going on, or this is going on. She would always complain because so and so had a scratch or a bump," the victim's grandmother, Janie Carter said.

"I mean, if they’re, if they’re going to step in and, you know, remove children from home, then they need to monitor these foster parents [sic] … in this case, if there’s one person like this they work that works for the state. How do we know that there’s not a million people out there like this that work for the state?”

Prior to Vincent Carter, Barnes fostered 44 children and worked for Headstart for 26 years. The foster mom had no criminal history. She was a foster mom with a company called Omni Vision. They have not said if she had previous abuse investigations.

Before Barnes' death, police issued warrants for her arrest for criminal homicide, aggravated child abuse, and child neglect. Now that she's dead, Vincent Carter's family wonders why she would hurt him and possibly other children left in her care.

"Considering what happened with Deborah's suicide, we'll never know what happened. And that's the hardest thing to process," Janie said about the foster mother's death.

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