CHARLOTTE, N.C.-- New details have emerged over the case of a mother who police say left her kids home aloneand theylater died in a house fire.
Newschannel 36 has learned the Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services had been investigating Orgal Opata for repeatedly leaving her child home alone with claims going back two years.
One-year-old Gabriel Hawthorne and his big brother, two-year-old Josiah, were both killed in that fire.
They were left home alone with their four-year-old brother and seven-year-old sister when fire swept through the family's home on Rowan Street.
It s a tragedy for all of us, says Mecklenburg County Commission Chair Jennifer Roberts.
But could the tragedy have been prevented?
NewsChannel 36 has learned DSS had been called to the home in October, 2009.
Court documents show that's when Josiah was found wandering the street in his diaper.
DSS released a statement showing the agency had actually been dealing with Opata since June 2008, when DSS got a referral alleging the children were left unattended.
DSS provided sleeping materials and recommended services for Opata and the case was closed in august of 2008.
But then came the October 2009 incident.
Ina statement from DSS they say a social worker was assigned to the case and had regular contact with Opata.
They go onto say all information obtained by DSS indicated the children were receiving appropriate supervision.
The deadly fire happened just four months later.
The county oversees DSS and the commission chair plans to figure out if the agency could have done more to save these kids.
Once something has happened you never feel like it was enough, you always ask 'could we have done something more, could we have noticed one more thing, one more phone call or one more intervention?' We may ask for additional information just for a comfort level, to know that protocols were followed and things were done as they should have been, Roberts says.