Someone dialed 911 when 9-year-old Omaree Varela's mother and stepfather began verbally abusing and berating him. No one spoke into the phone, but 911 recorded 20 minutes of sickening verbal abuse directed at the terrified boy. Two police officers were dispatched to the scene, but left 15 minutes later with no arrests. Tragically, six months later, Omaree was killed by his mother when she admitted on camera to kicking him.
Little Omaree, or possibly another child in the home, dialed 911 during the horrific tirade, and it's sickening to hear the verbal abuse that was hurled at this poor boy. Words can sear; they can even take a lot longer to heal than physical abuse -- and this boy would have heard these vicious words ringing in his ears for the rest of his life. But he had only six months to live.
Just a bit of the tirade unleashed by Omaree's stepfather, whom police identify as Steve Casaus:
I can’t stand your (expletive) ass, I really can’t stand you. You make me so (expletive) sick, Omaree. Not even my worst enemy got me as mad as you (expletive) pain in the (expletive) ... I never hated nobody like you in my life, ever. You know that Omaree. I hate you more than I’ve hated anybody in my whole life, and I’ve been on this earth 41 years and nobody has ever made me (expletive) feel the way you do Omaree, ever, and you're a (expletive) kid and that’s bad.
No, you're an expletive human being! Talking to a child like that. Unfortunately, it's likely because Casaus probably heard similar growing up. And Omaree's mom didn't come to his defense. Instead, she joined in, telling him that he was faking an injury and only wanted attention.
Two police officers were dispatched to the house and spoke to the stepfather, who assured officers he was just having a "bad day." When asked who dialed 911, the mother, Synthia Varela-Casaus, blamed it on her baby "playing with the phone." The cops then reportedly left -- though they waited an hour and 45 minutes before telling dispatch they were leaving. Where they were during the bulk of the time they were gone is being investigated.
The 911 dispatcher was so concerned by the call that she or he reportedly bumped it up to a high priority. But it's unclear if the cops saw that. The dispatcher also apparently asked the police to call back and listen to the 911 tape, but they never did.
It remains unclear if the officers knew how terrible the 911 call was. And if they didn't, and they arrived at the house to find a stressed stepdad who said he lost his cool but otherwise everything else checked out, then it's difficult to blame the cops too much since they're not mind readers.
It's terrifying to think that situations like this are often up to the judgment call of a couple of strangers who show up for a few minutes and have no idea of the reality of what is going on. This little boy could have been saved. Yelling at your kids is not illegal, but this man was also threatening bodily harm, and the police would have had the option of taking the child from the home temporarily. Unfortunately, that wasn't done, and the little boy ended up dying at the hands of adults who had no idea how to parent.
Both responding officers have been placed on paid administrative leave.
Do you think more should have been done?
Image via KOAT/YouTube