A Lawrence County sheriff's deputy was fired Thursday for failing to notify the Department of Human Resources after he responded to a call involving a 12-year-old girl found wandering unclothed in a neighbor’s yard on Thanksgiving morning, the sheriff said.
About 14 hours later, the girl, Jayla Capri Sutton, of Lawrence County Road 136, who was visually impaired and mentally disabled, was fatally struck by a vehicle on Alabama 157 near Hatton.
Calling it a personnel matter, Sheriff Gene Mitchell would not name the deputy but said the deputy had worked with the department for “several years.”
Mitchell said that at about 10:30 a.m. Nov. 22, Lawrence County 911 dispatchers received a call about Sutton walking without clothes into the backyard of a neighbor’s house. He said the neighbor put a sweater on Sutton and called authorities.
“The boyfriend of the girl’s mother picked up the child and carried her home,” the sheriff said.
“It’s standard procedure for our department to call DHR when a child is involved,” Mitchell said. “They are in a much better position to investigate cases like this. This time, I discovered Thursday, the deputy did not notify DHR.”
At 12:56 a.m, the next day, Sutton was struck and killed by a pickup traveling south on Alabama 157. Coroner Greg Randolph said Sutton died of blunt force trauma to the head and chest area. She was pronounced dead at 1:30 a.m.
Mitchell said that from May 2017 to last week, his office had received three calls involving Sutton and her family.
No charges have been filed, and the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency is investigating.