The Story of Raylee Jolynn Browning: A Homeschool Homicide and Torture Case
This week, Kelley Richey and Julia Avery discuss the tragic story of Raylee Jolynn Browning. This case details the physical, medical and verbal abuse, starvation, and neglect that Raylee suffered at the hands of Marty Browning (her father), Julie Dawn Titchenell (her father’s girlfriend), and Sherie Titchenell (Julie’s sister).
The abuse began soon after Raylee was placed with her father as an infant. Signs of this abuse was excused away by Marty, Julie, and Sherie as “self-infliction”. Raylee went to public school for a short time but was removed due to visibility of abuse to school officials who are obligated to contact Child Protective Services (CPS). Removing her from public school only worsened the amount of abuse she suffered, resulting in her death at age 8.
Where was CPS all this time?
The full extent of CPS’s involvement in Raylee’s case is not clear. It was noted by the Register-Herald, “An investigation by Oak Hill Police Department Detective Sgt. James Pack was reportedly hampered by a lack of cooperation from West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Child Protective Services, which had an open file on Raylee at the time she died. Oak Hill Police Department Chief Mike Whisman on Dec. 11 verified a Dec. 10 report by a Fayette official that CPS had not speedily submitted to police requests for CPS records on Raylee. When OHPD received Raylee’s files in November, officials said, they were not complete.”
It is evident that CPS and a lack of common sense homeschooling laws are to blame for the extent and duration of abuse that Raylee suffered up until her death. Current laws are too vague and do not actively protect innocent children. The current structure promotes and encourages abusers to take advantage and get away with, quite literally, murder.
A new law is being sponsored by Del. Shawn Fluharty, D-Ohio, known as Raylee’s Law, or HB 4440. This law would prevent people who have an open CPS case from homeschooling, and also prevent people who have a criminal record of violence or domestic violence from homeschooling.
The Montgomery Herald reports: “State law does not require home-school educators to report suspected child abuse or neglect. By contrast, teachers and public school administrators are mandatory reporters of child abuse. They face a criminal misdemeanor conviction of up to 90 days in jail and up to a $5,000 fine for failing to report child abuse or neglect. Those who fail to report a sexual assault face six months in jail and up to $10,000 in fines.”
And also: “State law does not require a home-school education cooperative or association to verify that member students were legally withdrawn from public school.”
You can track the progress of Raylee’s law here: House Bill 4400
Call to Action!
Listed below are links to sources we used for this story.