Justice system failed abused Moore County boy, adoptive parents say

SOUTHERN PINES, N.C. (WNCN) – At 4 years old, Andy Trepcyk is facing challenges he never should have.

He’s living with cerebral palsy, he’s blind, and he’s recovering from major hip surgery.

But, Andy Trepcyk was not born like this.


His adoptive parents, Tracy and Allan Trepcyk, vividly remember meeting Andy for the first time in the hospital when he was just an infant.

“He had extensive brain damage from the shaking,” said Tracy Trepcyk.

In Aug. 2012, Southern Pines police say Andy was home with his biological parents, Sterling Cummings and Breanne Fowler.

He was just 3-and-a-half weeks old when he was shaken, causing permanent brain damage and changing his life forever.

“All of the medical experts, every medical expert that they spoke with, without a doubt said that this was absolutely no accident,” said Tracy Trepcyk.

In March 2013, police charged both his parents with child abuse, but the Trepcyks found justice was slow to come in this case.

“Our frustration level continued to mount because we just felt like nothing was happening from the DA’s office on Andy’s behalf,” said Allan Trepcyk.

By 2015, the case was still not resolved.

Cummings was charged with strangling a woman. (Moore County Clerk of Court)
Cummings was charged with strangling a woman. (Moore County Clerk of Court)

Police arrested Cummings again, this time charging him with strangling a woman, who survived the attack.

Another nine months went by, and the Trepcyks wanted Andy’s case to go to trial. Instead, they say the district attorney’s office came to them with a plan to join both cases together and offer Cummings a plea deal.

That deal included guilty pleas on the assault and child abuse charges, but the sentence shocked the Trepcyks.

Cummings would go to prison for 45 days and be on probation for five years.

Cummings took the deal, which was approved in June by Judge James Webb.

Allan Trepcyk said, “The DA’s position was that it was a hard case to try because neither defendant was saying much of anything.”

Tracy Trepcyk added, “Andy deserved for his story to be told for a jury.”

The deal was reached amid a crisis of confidence in the social services system in Moore County.

Rylan Ott
Rylan Ott

In April, 23-month-old Rylan Ott wandered away from his home and drowned in a pond. A judge had recently returned Rylan to his mother’s custody over the objections of his foster parents.

Social services board member and county commissioner Catherine Graham is arranging an independent investigation.

“I think it will further assure the public that we are covering all bases,” Graham said.

Pam Reed was Rylan’s volunteer guardian ad litem and also served as the GAL for Andy ad litem. She said she’s concerned about the priority being placed on kids in the system.

“The district attorney’s office had an obligation to Andy to proceed and to speak on his behalf, and I don’t think they did that,” she said.

For the last several weeks, CBS North Carolina has been working to get answers from District Attorney Maureen Krueger’s office.

After denying multiple requests for interviews, CBS North Carolina went to the office.

“I feel like (Andy has) been violated a second time by the judicial system.”

The assistant district attorney who handled Andy’s case, Warren McSweeney, said he couldn’t comment because the case is still pending against Andy Trepcyk’s biological mother, Breanne Fowler.

The Trepcyks shared this email they received from him about the plea deal.

McSweeney wrote, “I understand you will not be happy with that decision but it is something that I have thought long and hard about, and have given careful consideration to the facts and evidence surrounding the case.”

The Trepcyks still want the DA’s office to pursue the case against Fowler.

However, CBS North Carolina discovered a document filed August 3 titled “Prosecutor’s verification of basis for expunction of DNA record and destruction of DNA sample” in which the prosecutor checked off a box that reads, “no conviction has occurred, at least three years have passed since the date of arrest and no active prosecution is occurring.”

After seeing that, Tracy Trepcyk said “I feel like (Andy has) been violated a second time by the judicial system.”

On top of that, CBS North Carolina learned Fowler isn’t even in North Carolina anymore.

CBS North Carolina got a hold of her by phone. She declined to allow us to record an interview with her, but she said she’s living in Arizona, has started a new life for herself and blamed what happened to Andy Trepcyk on Cummings.

Tracy Trepcyk said, “But, this is just ridiculous. This is injustice at such a level that I just can’t even comprehend it. it’s just heartbreaking.”


In the years since this all started, the Trepcyks also adopted Andy’s biological sister.

As trying as it’s all been, the Trepcyks are still committed to Andy.

Tracy Trepcyk said, “He keeps defying the odds. They keep telling us he’s never really going to be able to communicate with you. He’s never going to be able to hold onto anything. He’s never going to be able to do anything on purpose. But, he’s done all those things.”

CBS North Carolina also reached out to an attorney for Cummings and stopped by an address listed for him in court records, but we didn’t get a response.

This summer the state conducted a routine review of social services in Moore County.

You can see the results of that here.

Durham County’s social services also conducted an investigation following the death of Rylan Ott.

However, Moore County’s attorney is refusing to release that report, citing privacy concerns.

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