WSIU InFocus Segment Archives
SIUC alumna Britten Follett shares the story of two-year old Kelsey Smith Briggs whose death touched off a firestorm of controversy in Oklahoma because of a breakdown in that state’s child welfare system. As a television reporter in Oklahoma City, Follett covered the investigation of a horrific story of child abuse that ended in the death of the toddler. Despite months of documented abuse, including broken bones, the child died under mysterious circumstances and to this day, no one has been convicted of her murder.
Follett and fellow TV reporter Cherokee Ballard teamed up to investigate Kelsey's case on their own and uncovered a host of documents that went to the heart of the case, including law enforcement interviews with the two main suspects in the case. The resulting book, Who Killed Kelsey: Broken Bones and a Broken System, painstakingly traces the child's story as child protection agency officials and the judicial system missed opportunities to intervene on Kelsey's behalf before her death. Follett and Ballard's work eventually led to major changes in the way the state of Oklahoma tracks suspected cases of child abuse and neglect. Follet, a 2002 summa cum laude Department of Radio-Television graduate, talked with WSIU's Jak Tichenor about the story and how she hopes it will help prevent future cases of child abuse.
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