NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The state Department of Children's Services admits it lost track of a violent teen offender and did nothing.
Now, that teenager is wanted for murder.
It comes as NewsChannel 5 launches an unprecedented investigation of Tennessee's broken juvenile justice system.
The juvenile offender, Jeroy Green III, was involved in a violent carjacking back in 2017 when he was just 15. He is supposed to be on an ankle monitor so DCS could keep track of him, according Metro police Detective Jesse Holt.
But Green didn't keep the ankle monitor charged up, and DCS let him stay out on the streets.
Now, Metro police have issued a warrant for Green's arrest for his role in the September 28th murder of 18-year-old Samuel Calvert.
"Finding out that it had already been discharged for so long was disturbing, finding out it was uncharged the day of the homicide disturbing and then to continously have to kind of urge them along to get this corrected was more than disturbing," Detective Holt told NewsChannel 5 Investigates.
"I would have expected someone to understand that this was something that needed to be urgently dealt with."
According to police, Green's ankle monitor went dead somewhere around September 15th.
But DCS did not seek his arrest or do anything to find him.
On September 28th, Calvert was murdered.
Detectives notified DCS that Green might be a suspect in the murder and asked that he be picked up for violating his probation.
Finally, on October 2nd, the DCS case worker filed the paperwork, but still did not ask for his immediate arrest.
"To have an uncharged ankle monitor for that long or an uncharged ankle monitor at all is unacceptable for the public safety and unacceptable for whatever victim may have been involved in that original crime to justify the ankle monitor," Detective Holt said.
Asked if Samuel Calvert might still be alive if DCS had done it's job, Holt said:
"The lack of continuous accountability that Jeroy Green probably felt emboldened him to be where he was. If Samuel Calvert would still be alive absent that, I do not know. I do not know."
DCS Commissioner Jennifer Nichols issued the following statement:
"Not properly monitoring youth on trial home visits and aftercare is unacceptable. This is a very serious matter to me, as the safety of the public and the youth in our care are my two top priorities. As soon as I learned about this tragic incident, I immediately mandated that case workers assigned to delinquent youth in the community receive electronic ankle monitoring alerts 24/7 and to immediately notify police if a youth violates curfew or if a monitor dies. This practice went into effect October 28.
"Additionally, I have made a budget request to extend the time a youth must wear an ankle monitor to at least 90 days, starting with the 30-day trial home visit through the 60-day aftercare program. It is DCS policy to require a youth who completes a treatment program to wear an ankle monitor on a trial home visit if a risk assessment shows he is moderate or high risk. However, current policy allows the department to remove the ankle monitor if the youth successfully completes the 30-day trial home visit and it is recommended by the youth’s child and family team. I believe that extending the length of time for all youth on an ankle monitor to 90 days will provide greater safety for both the public and the youth under our supervision.
"It is important to remember that youth on a trial home visit are in the custody of the state, while youth on aftercare are placed back into the custody of their parents or guardians. However, the youth on aftercare are still receiving services from the department and treatment providers and DCS must properly monitor them during this time to help ensure the safety of the community and the youth."
Special Section: Broken
Videos available on NewsChannel 5's app on Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV