Corona- During a hearing on May 1, a Superior Court Judge made a statement that the Riverside County Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) failed to protect missing 8-year-old Noah McIntosh from further harm, even though reports indicate that they knew he was being abused in his Corona home.
The hearing was called after Noah and his sister’s attorney, Patricia Nance, objected to the public release of Noah’s case file from Child Protective Services. Several media outlets have requested the file be released under the California state law that requires public disclosure of social services records of children who are believed to be deceased as a result of abuse or neglect.
However, Nance opposed the release of the records stating that Noah’s body hasn’t been found, and argued that state law requires the documents only be released if the juvenile is dead. Nance continued stating that if Noah’s body is not found, proof should come from a criminal conviction or coroner’s report.
Nevertheless, releasing the case file would provide additional details to the public such as observations by the caseworker, statements from Noah and his family, and the caseworker’s recommendations. For example, it may include the CPS report that Noah’s grandfather, Doug Godfrey, said he made a year before Noah disappeared. Doug Godfrey told a local newsgroup that he made the report because he feared Noah was being abused. However, the boy remained in the home with Bryce after the investigation.
During the hearing, Perantoni stated, “It appears to the Court that there is a significant public interest in the information in the DPSS file relating to whether Riverside Department of Public Social Services acted to protect Noah from abuse,” according to a hearing transcript.
“There is significant information in the file indicating that Riverside County DPSS knew that this child was being abused in the home and took no action to protect the child, and that is clear from the Court’s review of the file,” Perantoni also stated.
Judge Perantoni overruled Nance’s objection and ordered the release of the records, with certain information redacted (names, addresses, phones numbers). However, Perantoni granted Nance’s request to postpone the release of the records until May 11. Then on May 9, Associate Justice Carol D. Codrington of the state Court of Appeal, Fourth District, granted Nance’s second request of postponement, indicating the records be released by May 20.
In addition, the Department of Social Services stated that they are currently conducting an extensive review of the child and adult protective services divisions.
Noah McIntosh was reported missing on March 12 by Noah’s mother, Jillian Godfrey, 36. However, an investigation discovered that Noah has actually been missing since March 3. Godfrey told investigators that she last saw Noah on March 2 at his father’s home in the 4600 block of Temescal Valley Rd. Riverside County Court reports state that Noah’s father, Bryce McIntosh, took Noah into the bathroom, and Godfrey heard Noah ask his father “why he was hurting him.” On March 3, she left the residence but did not see Noah because he was still in the bathroom.
During a forensic interview, Noah’s sister, 11, described physical abuse to Noah by Bryce McIntosh. The abuse involved Noah being handcuffed in the bathtub in cold water, while his sister helped hold Noah’s legs down at times, according to Riverside County Superior Court records. His sister said she wasn’t home when Noah went missing, but she knew he was missing because “her Daddy told her,” according to the records. In addition, several pieces of evidence were found in the Corona home such as handcuffs, zip ties, yellow towels with stains, and a laptop with relevant web searches, to name only a few. Authorities also extracted data from Godfrey’s phone, which included notes that she took that documented Bryce’s abuse towards Noah.
Bryce McIntosh, 32, was charged with first-degree murder of his son, with the special circumstance of torture that makes him potentially eligible for the death penalty. McIntosh plead not guilty on April 3 and is expected to return to court on June 17. Godfrey was charged with willful child cruelty, but also plead not guilty. Her hearing is scheduled for May 17. Both are being held without bail.