21Investigates: FWPD detective talks investigation of child neglect, abuse cases

Published: Jan. 17, 2023 at 8:44 PM EST
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA) - Fort Wayne Police Detective Liza Anglin talked exclusively with 21Alive’s Angelica Pickens about the emotional toll it takes on investigators to work child abuse and neglect cases.

Noel Wood and her boyfriend Jonathan Mulvihill face several neglect charges related to the death of 4-year-old Dominic Wood. He died of a drug overdose while in their care. When investigators arrived the found the home to be in “unhabitable” conditions, according to a probable cause affidavit.

The couple made their first court appearance Tuesday.

Anglin is the lead detective on the case. In an effort to preserve the integrity of Dominic Wood’s case, Anglin did not speak specifically about that particular investigation or evidence related to it. However, during her time on the police force she has investigated many homicides and multiple child deaths.

Anglin said it doesn’t get any easier.

“I personally feel like there’s a sense a grief I go through myself,” she said. “It’s very abnormal to see a child severely injured or deceased.”

Anglin said it is not uncommon to have previous calls to police or the Department of Child Services before the homicide team is called into investigate a death as a result of child neglect or abuse. She reminds people that everyone in the state does have a duty to report suspected child abuse or if you witness child abuse.

Perhaps what can be most disturbing is walking through a home that is in deplorable conditions.

“Just to understand there were actually little people, hanging out, playing,” she said.

When I think of a child death investigation i think of their last words and their last voice,” she said. “That is motivating for me to find that voice of that child and work through that voice.”

She said the voice of a child who is no longer here is what she uses as motivation, but she is also guided by her determination to uncover the truth.

“I can’t work off intuition,” she said. “I have to work of evidence and facts. Investigations are lengthy.”