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. 

(1) comment


[angry] I don't think it's fair that the deputy lost his job because he did not report the incident to Lawrence County DHR because as you can see by the Sheriff's own admission there had been three calls on the family to DHR on the girl's behalf since 2017 and absolutely nothing was done!!! This is typical in Lawrence County and many other counties in Alabama it's always about keeping the child with the family well as you see that is not always the best for the child!!! Most of the time it takes DHR forever to even respond to the complaint period, when they do the parents can be guilty of using controlled substances found in the homes or in their systems by failing their drug tests given by DHR or guilty of actually physically abusing the child or children proof positive reported by school teachers, probation officers other family members daycare workers, doctors, hospitals and the list goes on and on and nothing is done case unfounded. Other peoples children are taken on an accusation by someone who is angry at the person with no evidence at all for months and even years at times and there was never any reason or any proof of a reason to take the child or children in the first place. No one will stop this because no lawyer, judge or even Montgomery themselves will go against the ruling of DHR it's like their word is God's well it's not and the entire department except for a minimal few are corrupt and could careless about the children. they are there to collect a check and most know this and do the best they can for the children at the time. I pray that change will come and all those who are guilty will pay for their crimes!!!!

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