INQUIRER: When police arrested the parents of Khalil Wimes and accused them of starving and torturing their 6-year-old son to death, Mayor Nutter decried the boy’s demise as tragic, but said the city could not have prevented it. Philadelphia’s Department of Human Services had no official oversight – no “open case” – for Khalil Wimes, the mayor stressed. “None,” Nutter told reporters in March. “Next question.” In fact, Khalil had spent the final months of his life beaten, bone thin, desperately ill, and out of school – and DHS had failed to see what was right in front of it. An Inquirer review of Khalil’s death – including interviews with his siblings, foster parents, and other family members, and a review of police reports, court documents, and DHS files – found the city missed many chances to save him. [...] Four times DHS visited the apartment where the boy spent his last days in a latched, empty bedroom on a soiled, plastic mattress. He was never enrolled in school. His parents claimed they were home-schooling him. There is no indication DHS ever verified that with school officials.
During these months, Khalil’s parents beat him regularly, with books, shoes, extension cords, and a belt, according to interviews with two adult sisters. Three large welts on his forehead are visible in an October 2011 family photograph.The signs of Khalil’s abuse and deteriorating health were visible during DHS visits, according to family members. The social worker questioned Khalil’s mother about his scars and bruises but did not act. Khalil was dead from head trauma when his parents – Floyd Wimes, 48 [pictured, below right], and Tina Cuffie, 44 [pictured, above right] – brought him to the Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania on the night of March 19. His corpse was “extremely emaciated” – weighing only 29 pounds, just over half the weight of an average boy his age – and bore a sea of scars across the face, neck, back, arms, and legs, according to court documents and police reports obtained by The Inquirer. Investigators believe he had been abused for as long as two years.”There was no surface of his body that didn’t have an injury,” said First Assistant District Attorney Edward McCann. MORE
PREVIOUSLY: When doctors at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia laid their eyes on Khalil Wimes on Monday night, they saw a broken and emaciated little boy.He was unconscious, sunken, and sallow, 6 years old but weighing only 29 pounds.His mother, Tina Cuffie, 44, had five other children who were removed from her care. She had taken her son to the hospital, saying he had slipped in the bathroom. She could not explain the sea of scarring along the boy’s arms, face, back, and neck. Khalil died within the hour of blunt-force trauma to the head, a medical examiner ruled. Cuffie and the child’s father, Latiff Hadi [pictured, lower right], 48, were charged with murder. Searching the family’s South Philadelphia walk-up the next day, police found a latch on the boy’s bedroom door – so it could be locked from the outside. The room was bare save for a urine-soaked crib mattress on the floor. MORE
INQUIRER: According to police reports, Tina Cuffie struck her final and fatal blow on the morning of March 19 inside the bathroom. “I popped him in the back of the head and knocked him to the floor,” she told police. “He fell flat on his face and split his lip. He didn’t even try to break his fall.” The couple waited 10 hours before bringing his body to the hospital. MORE
DAILY MAIL: The family argue that they pleaded with the DHS and the court system to protect the young boy and his sister from their parents – writing letters of appeal to the mayor, DHS, and the judge, begging for the decision to be overturned. ‘DHS is supposed to protect the children. He was in a very safe home; he was ripped from a safe home and taken back to squalor. I’m very saddened but I’ll be honest with you, I’m extremely angry, I’m angry right now,’ uncle Sulaiman Hadi said. It’s unclear why Khalil and his 3-year-old sister were still living at the home and DHS have not made comment on the case. It is believed that the DHS had no open cases on Khalil and his sister. On Tina Wimes Facebook she lists the births of all her children and beneath a picture taken of Khalil she writes: ‘My angel sent on Valentine’s Day’ – referencing his February 14 birthday. MORE
PHAWKER: Ordinarily, we are anti-death penalty, but we’d be willing to look the other way on this one.