New Moore County DSS investigation planned in wake of toddler’s drowning

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CARTHAGE, N.C. (WNCN) — A new investigation is expected to start soon of the social services department in Moore County, board member Catherine Graham said Wednesday.

Graham, who is also a county commissioner, called for the independent investigation last month.

The state and Durham County’s DSS already have conducted reviews of the agency since then.

However, Graham wants an agency that’s independent of the social services system to take a closer look.

“The complication of it is, of course, confidentiality laws and a criminal case that’s pending. But, it’s really moving along and I think it’s coming together,” said Graham.

This comes after Rylan Ott, who was 23 months old, wandered from home in April and drowned in a pond.

He was returned to the custody of his mother, Samantha Bryant, despite the objections of his foster parents and volunteer guardian ad litem, Pam Reed.

“The truth is that this agency failed Rylan Ott, and now he is dead,” Reed told the social services board Wednesday.

She criticized department leaders for failing to include concerns she and Rylan’s foster parents had about his mother being able to properly care for him in the report that went to the judge who ultimately returned Rylan to his mother’s custody.

Bryant is facing involuntary manslaughter and child neglect charges. She’s due in court again October 5.

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