04/29/07 — Social Services annex shut down amid threats

View Archive

Social Services annex shut down amid threats

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on April 29, 2007 2:00 AM

Wayne County Department of Social Services Annex on U.S. 117 North was shut down Friday after an anonymous phone call threatening child protective services employees was received at about 2 p.m.

The threat came in the wake of a case that is suspected of playing a role in two deaths last week.

The facility, which houses all of the county's social workers, was closed shortly after the phone call was received.

"I don't know if you'd call it death threats," DSS Director Judy Pelt said. "It was threats to do bodily harm to the children and the workers with social services.

"We've contacted both the (Goldsboro) police and the (Wayne County) sheriff's office and they're aware of the threats."

Law enforcement officials said Friday that someone connected to the Sharon Sheppard case threatened the agency for taking the woman's four children out of the home.

Ms. Sheppard's children, including an 8-month-old son, Rahkeim, whom she shared with her boyfriend, Raheim Antwon Kornegay, were removed from her home at 602 Courtyard Circle on April 20, family members said.

The children were removed after officials received reports that they had guns in the apartment, relatives said.

Kornegay, 23, was shot and killed two days later in the apartment.

Ms. Sheppard was present at the time of the shooting and was considered a "person of interest" in his death.

On Thursday, Ms. Sheppard, 28, was fatally shot in a nearby parking lot on George Street as mourners were dismissed from Kornegay's memorial service at 12:35 p.m. She later died at Wayne Memorial Hospital.

Ms. Pelt declined to say if Ms. Sheppard's case was the subject of the threats, saying only that they were made in connection to an open child protective services case.

"I can't confirm that," she said. "We're still in the process of investigating the child protective services report and all that information in confidential."

Once the decision was made to close for the day and everybody sent home -- following the department's emergency plans -- DSS officials were confident the situation was diffused.

"The children are safe and there were no threats against specific workers or anything to lead us to believe they had targeted anybody specifically within the agency," Ms. Pelt said.

Under normal operations the annex would have remained open until 5 p.m., but, Ms. Pelt said their hotline was open and employees were on-call in case of emergency.