CHARLESTON - The mother of a boy shot by his grandfather has filed a suit against the Department of Health and Human Services, claiming employees of the department did not provide protective services to her son.
Victoria L. Beaver filed a suit Sept. 18 in Kanawha Circuit Court on behalf of the estate of her son, Christopher B. Reeser. The suit is against the DHHR and Elissa Taylor, a Protective Services worker.
According to the suit, Reeser, a 14-year-old eighth-grade student at Greenbank Middle School, was referred to a school counselor after he said his grandfather, William L. Taylor, had punched him on the cheek and threatened to "blow" his grandson's head off if he was reported for child abuse.
Taylor was assigned to interview Reeser at the school about the situation. She, along with a State Police officer, interviewed Reeser for 15-20 minutes March 14, 2007, then "negligently and wrongfully decided that Christopher should go home rather than other alternative such as being taken into protective custody," the suit says.
"On March 15, 2007, before school, while Christopher B. Reeser was eating his breakfast cereal, William L. Taylor shot Christopher B. Reeser in the chest with a .357 magnum handgun and killed Christopher, and then ... shot and killed himself," the suit says.
According to the suit, the police and Elissa Taylor knew of William Taylor's violent tendencies and acts and that he had access to firearms.
The suit says the DHHR employs Elissa Taylor, and her job is to protect children, such as Reeser, which she failed to do. Beaver claims Elissa Taylor and the DHHR had a "special duty" to protect her son.
"As a direct and proximate cause of the Defendants' negligent actions and/or inactions, Christopher B. Reeser was murdered when he should and could have been saved from such a horrible ending," the suit says.
Beaver seeks recovery up to the limits of the State of West Virginia's applicable liability insurance coverage.
Attorney Roger D. Forman is representing Beaver. The case has been assigned to Judge Tod Kaufman.
Kanawha Circuit Court case number 07-C-1979