Murdered boy’s family fell thru cracks

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – News 4 has learned that the family of young “Abdi” Mohamed was apparently already under court supervision at the time of his murder. How did this case fall through the cracks?

As hundreds marched against child abuse with the brutal murder of 12-year-old Abdi Muhamud still fresh in their minds, a revelation. Abdi’s mother and father had a history of intervention by the courts and a CASA volunteer said they were referred by a family court judge.

Marilyn Ballard of the Child Care Resource Network said, “When a judge determines that a child or a family who have been taken away need extra help, an extra voice, they appoint a volunteer CASA.”

News 4 has reported, police and Child Protection Services had been to the Mohamud’s house where police say Abdi’s stepfather, Mohamad Mohamud taped Abdi’s mouth shut, tied him to a chair and beat him to death. But it seems the only one who spoke up was Abdi himself.

Former Social Services Commissioner Deborah Merrifield said, “It can be very hard, it is timing, and especially when there is an abuser who is enforcing silence.”

In her previous role, Merrifield oversaw Child Protection Services. While Merrifield told News 4, she has no specific insight into the Muhamad case, she has seen the classic signs of an abuser, like Abdi’s stepfather, who ruled with an iron fist.

“Certainly, the more diabolical abusers are more effective in enforcing silence, or coverup, by everyone in the family, and that is tremendously hard to overcome,” she noted.

County Executive Mark Poloncarz told News 4, both the county and the state are conducting an investigation into CPS’s handling of Abdi’s case.

“We never hear about the success stories. There are many success stories at CPS, we only hear about the bad ones. My goal is to ensure that this never happens again, by doing a complete review to find out what wrong, and if something did go wrong, to hold those people responsible in county government,” assured Poloncarz.

But the results of those investigations will be sealed to all of us, except for certain elected public officials. Poloncarz says it is the law, which as he points out, cuts both ways. You don’t hear about the lives that were saved. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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