Vermont Mom Distraught Over Losing Custody Kills Caseworker and Relatives (photo)

Aug 9, 2015

Police say a Vermont mom distraught over losing custody of her child this month gunned down the culprit caseworker after first murdering three relatives she also faulted for the setback

When the second crime scene was discovered, Jody Herring, 40, was already jailed for her Friday attack on the social worker who’d been instrumental in a court’s decision to remove Herring’s 9-year-old daughter from her care.

According to sources, a judge relied on slain social-worker Lara Sobel’s negative assessments and sworn testimony in taking the child from Herring and, instead, virtually orphaning the girl as a “Ward of the State.”

In retaliation, the newly-disenfranchised mom arrived at the Department of Children and Families in Barre Vermont late Friday afternoon packing a high-powered hunting rifle. There, Jody Herring lay in wait for Sobel, shooting her twice as she exited the building.

jail photo of Jody Herring who gunned down caseworker her helped seize her of custody over a young daughter

Sobel, 48 and a mother herself, died on sight and the shooter was tackled by onlookers and arrested at the scene.

Then, early Saturday morning, detectives responded to reports that three of Jody Herring’s female relatives -- two cousins aged 48 and 49, and a 73-year-old aunt -- were found murdered in their central Vermont farmhouse.

It has since been determined she killed them all as well, prior to launching the deadly assault at the DCF’s offices on Friday.

The tragic custody dispute which resulted in quadruple-homicide is a first for the largely rural and sparsely populated northeast state that’s not used to crimes involving mass murder.

Officials fear, however, that this weekend’s deadly incident may signal more trouble to come, as public officials continue with a new policy of separating more and more “endangered” children from their lawful guardians.

Vermont has been symbolically under fire in recent years (and may even face wrongful death lawsuits soon) for its systemic mishandling of child welfare cases, as critics regularly complain that agency-wide neglect places too many youngsters at risk of harm.

Indeed, at least two DCF-supervised toddlers were in fact left in such mortal peril that it ultimately cost them their lives last year.

Now though, as the state endeavors to swing to the opposite extreme of apathy, it looks like “agents of change” may literally have to start dodging bullets for what is perceived as an equally callous disregard for children and families in crisis.

This story is developing.


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