ACS Let Myls Dobson's Dad Keep Boy Despite 2 Arrests Under Its Watch
MIDTOWN — The city Administration for Children’s Services allowed the father of little Myls Dobson to retain custody of the doomed youngster even though he was arrested twice and spent more than four months behind bars under the child welfare agency's watch, court records show.
Just a month after Okee Wade became the sole guardian of his son, he was busted by NYPD detectives for identification fraud, according to court records. He spent four months in jail and then was arrested by New Jersey investigators in a separate case involving bank fraud charges, authorities said.
Both arrests and the jail time occurred while Wade was under yearlong court-mandated supervision by the ACS.
Wade had been given custody of Myls in August 2012 after ACS accused the child’s mother, Harlem resident Ashlee Dobson, of neglect and petitioned a family court judge to remove him from her care, according to a copy of the court decision obtained by DNAinfo New York.
The case was resolved when ACS and a court guardian for Myls recommended that Wade receive custody. However, a judge ordered that ACS supervise Wade for a year and that the agency consult with his parole officer, according to the court decision.
It's unclear who cared for Myls when Wade was in jail, but the father continued to have custody after both arrests.
ACS would not comment on Thursday when asked if any action was taken against Wade after both busts. An agency spokesman said it was still conducting an investigation of the case.
Myls died on Jan. 8 after being starved and tortured while in the care of Wade’s girlfriend, Kryzie King, according to Manhattan prosecutors.
Wade left the 4-year-old with King at her Midtown apartment in the Ritz Plaza on Dec. 18, prosecutors said, a day before NYPD officers picked him up on an outstanding warrant connected to his bank fraud case in New Jersey. King is accused of whipping, burning and starving the toddler in the final three weeks of his life.
Legal filings in the family court case show Myls was living a nightmare long before he landed in King’s care.
The boy was born out of wedlock in April 2009 to a father who was absent for the first two years of his life, and a mother who struggled with severe mental illness, court records say.
In September 2011, ACS petitioned the court to remove Myls from the care of Dobson, 29. The mother, who also has spelled her name Ashley, had a personality and anxiety disorder that prevented her from taking care of her son, according to court papers filed by ACS.
She also admitted to child welfare workers that she had a history of self-mutilation, suffered blackouts, had attempted suicide as recently as January 2011 and refused to take prescribed psychotropic medication, according to the papers.
Dobson had also hurt Myls in the past and had an open child-neglect case in South Carolina after the boy suffered head injuries and lacerations in April 2011, according to court records. She fled South Carolina with the boy in summer 2011, moving to New Jersey and then to New York, the documents show.
After ACS filed the initial petition, Myls was taken from Dobson and placed in the temporary custody of his maternal grandmother, Faye Bennett.
The initial court filing shows that at the time, ACS did not know the identity of Myls’ dad. But by April 2012 ACS had tracked down Wade and was assisting him in planning for custody of the boy, according to court records. The agency was also researching Wade’s previous criminal history and checking his parole status, court records show.
Wade had previous convictions for harassment, attempted assault and attempted robbery, and had served three and a half years in prison.
However, since he had never been accused of child abuse, his violent past didn’t prevent him from getting custody of the boy.
On Aug. 17, 2012, Wade was granted custody with ACS supervision lasting until August 2013. Less than a month later, on Sept. 12, he was arrested for attempting to use fake identification to withdraw $1,900 from a Queens bank, according to a criminal complaint.
From the time of his arrest until January 2013, Wade was in jail in the custody of the city Correction Department, according to sources.
He pleaded guilty on Dec. 11, 2012 to criminal possession of a forged instrument in the third degree and was sentenced to 90 days to six months in jail, according to the Queens District Attorney's Office.
With time already served, Wade finished his sentence on Jan. 11. But he was then handed over to New Jersey investigators, who had a warrant for his arrest for his alleged role in a bank-fraud ring that stole more than $250,000 in Atlantic City.
Wade was released from a New Jersey jail in February 2013.
When he failed to show up for an Aug. 22 preliminary hearing in the case, an Atlantic County Superior Court judge issued a warrant for his arrest, records show. NYPD officers apprehended him on Dec. 19.
A New Jersey judge released Wade from jail Thursday night so he could attend Myls' funeral.
The August 2012 family court decision also granted Myls’ maternal grandmother, Faye Bennett, unsupervised visits with him every other weekend.
Dobson, who was ordered to receive counseling and enroll in a parenting class, was granted visits with Myls one day a week under the supervision of Bennett.
However, from the day Wade handed the boy over to King to the date of his death, no family members contacted ACS about his whereabouts, according to a city official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Additional reporting by Aidan Gardiner