Durham NC DSS take boys away from mother who was a victim of domestic violence

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A Durham, North Carolina mother, continues to fight for her two boys who were taken from her because she was a victim of domestic violence at the hands of their father. 

In August 2019, Alexis Wynn and her two boys, 3-year-old Prince and 4-year-old Zion, were living in Durham, North Carolina, when her boyfriend, the father of the boys started coming over to the home physically and verbally abusing her. The father caused Alexis to lose her home by busting out the windows and destroying her property. To protect herself and her boys, she went to a domestic violence shelter in Jacksonville, North Carolina.

Alexis Wynn and her boys, Prince & Zion.

While at the shelter, the staff was not helpful to Alexis and her boys. According to Samantha Wynn, Alexis‘ mother, a lady name Anna was ridiculing Alexis in front of other residents, saying things like “what kind of mother would bring their children to a shelter?” Samantha said that it got to a point where Anna asked Alexis if she could adopt Prince and Zion, telling her that the boys would be good in her family.

Alexis told her, no you cannot adopt my children, Samantha said. Alexis said, these are my children.

Not liking how Anna disrespected her, Alexis spoke to the DV shelter supervisor Melissa, and told her what had transpired between her and Anna. Melissa told Alexis that Anna was an older lady at the shelter and she was respected by everyone, so her question shouldn’t have been a problem and not to tell anyone about the question Anna asked her. After speaking with Melissa and feeling uncomfortable because no one in the domestic violence shelter wanted to be empathetic and have sympathy for a woman who was being physically abused, Alexis wanted to leave. The shelter did not allow Alexis to leave and kept her there for two weeks. 

Samantha said that Alexis called her and told her everything that was going on and that she wanted to leave the domestic violence shelter. 

I didn’t know my daughter was at a domestic violence shelter or being abused, Samantha said. It was until she called me and told me everything that I found out.

Samantha spoke with Anna, a staff member, and Melissa, the supervisor at the shelter, and told them they could not hold her daughter against her will and if she wanted to leave, she could and to send her daughter and her grandchildren back to Durham. After Samantha’s conversation with Anna and Melissa, both women told Alexis that she shouldn’t have told anyone what happened between her and Anna, or about her conversation with Melissa about Anna’s question. Melissa and Anna threatened Alexis and told her that when she went back to Durham that she would not have her children because they were going to call Child Protective Services (CPS) on her.

The domestic violence shelter was obviously angry with Alexis because she wasn’t going to allow them to disrespect her and, as a domestic violence shelter, they were supposed to help her and her children.Instead, they threatened to have her children stripped away from her and told her that CPS would believe them over her.

In November 2019, Alexis and her boys went back to Durham to live with her mother, Samantha. In December 2019, after being at her mother’s house for a month, Durham CPS, Michael LaBorde, came to the home and threatened to take the children. At the time, CPS did not inform Alexis on why they were coming to take her children, but later learned that the domestic violence shelter in Jacksonville, NC, filed a complaint against her alleging she was trying to hurt herself and her children which was not true.

A week later, LaBorde came back to the house and handed Alexis yellow papers and instructed her to sign them so her sons could be handed over to CPS. She was threatened to be arrested if she didn’t sign the papers, according to Samantha. Alexis, without knowing then that she didn’t have to sign the papers, ultimately did. LaBorde then told Alexis that her two sons would be split into different foster homes out of the state because Durham’s foster care was full. 

Samantha said when the caseworker said the kids would be split up in another state, she asked to speak to a supervisor. She was able to speak with a supervisor and told them what LaBorde had just said. Samantha said the supervisor asked for her full name, ran a background check on her and said that the boys could be placed in her care.

In January 2020, a non-secure hearing was held in front of Judge Shamieka Rhinehart. No evidence by the state’s prosecutor, Bettyna Abney, was presented but, Judge Rhinehart continued custody with the state. In May 2020, Durham County Social Worker Cassandra Buffaloe-Owens filed a supplemental petition alleging additional information that was not provided in the original petition filed by Michael LaBorde. The supplemental petition was approved for filing by Bettyna Abney, Sr. Assistant County Attorney. At the next hearing in December 2020, Judge Rhinehart signed an order finding both children neglected based on unsubstantiated allegations and continued custody with the state. The boys remained in the care of their grandmother, Samantha

The mother, Alexis, was allowed to have weekly visitations with the boys and she was ordered to complete services recommended by Durham County CPS, which was parenting classes, therapy, getting her own place, and maintaining employment. 

In May 2021, Judge Rhinehart signed a permanency planning order that changed the permanent plan for the children to guardianship, even though Alexis was actively completing the recommended services. Also, there were no concerns for the children’s safety in the home of their grandmother, Samantha


Permanency planning order

Prince and Zion were with their grandmother, Samantha, from December 2019 to July 2021. Both the mother and father had supervised visitation. In July 2021, both boys were removed from the grandmother’s home after their father, the man who was abusing their mother, manipulated the system in order to gain control over Alexis‘ to have the children removed from their grandmother’s home.


Prince and Zion had been with their grandmother, Samantha, for two years and they have had no issues. The aforementioned permanency planning order proves that. The boys were placed in two different foster homes before they were placed in the home of their father’s sister. But why? They were okay with their grandmother, Samantha.

Since Prince and Zion have been placed with the father’s sister, there have been safety concerns that Durham County CPS continues to ignore.

Prince and Zion are currently in the custody of Canise, the sister of their father. However, Durham CPS has acknowledged that they know that a guy name Kenneth, who Samantha says lives in the home around her grandchildren, is a registered sex offender. 


According to Samantha, Kenneth is a friend to the family of Prince and Zion’s father, and Canise had a child with Kenneth’s son. Kenneth is said to have molested Prince and Zion’s father and some of his relatives. Although the boy’s father’s family knew Kenneth did this, they continued to befriend him. Kenneth stays in the home with Samantha’s grandchildren, because Kenneth’s grandson is their also, according to Samantha

Do y’all see how disgusting this is? This is what Durham CPS does.

Not only that, but Canise’s husband has been convicted of child abuse. Durham CPS said before putting children in the home of a relative, they conduct background checks. But why would you claim a child is being abused by their own parents and turn around and put them in a home with a convicted child abuser? DUMB!


Since Prince and Zion have been in the custody of their father’s sister, they have been abused and neglected.



Photo Courtesy of OperationStopCPS (Bring Wynn Siblings Home)

Photo Courtesy of OperationStopCPS (Bring Wynn Siblings Home)

Photo Courtesy of OperationStopCPS (Bring Wynn Siblings Home)

Photo Courtesy of OperationStopCPS (Bring Wynn Siblings Home)

Prince and Zion were not dealing with any abuse whatsoever when they were with their grandmother, Samantha.

In August 2021, Judge Rhinehart, presiding over the case, again heard the permanency planning review. Alexis attorney Jane Campbell argued to Judge Rhinehart that there was no legitimate reason to remove Prince and Zion from their grandmother’s care and that no evidence had been presented to verify safety concerns alleged against the grandmother. Despite no evidence being presented, Judge Rhinehart continued the children’s placement in a foster home.

In November 2021, Judge Rhinehart ultimately ordered the children to be put in the home of the father’s sister, Canise. This move by Judge Rhinehart should show you how she, as a judge, and CPS, was swindled and manipulated by the father to gain power and control over Alexis and the children. Judge Rhinehart also acknowledged on the record that Alexis had completed all the services on her case plan. She completed parenting classes, therapy, got her own place, and has maintained employment. 

Judge Shamieka Shinehart

 It is sad that a woman with kids can be abused by a man, her and her kids run for their life, find shelter, and then have her kids taken away and have to attend “parenting classes, go through therapy, buy her own place, and maintain employment” just to get them back. But this is how the system treats victims of domestic violence. 

What’s the point in setting case plans for mothers and/or fathers to complete in order to get their children back and once they successfully complete them, they have to continue fighting? I can understand when you have parents who don’t want their children, but when you have a parent who has completed everything they were ordered to in order to get their babies back, their fight should be over. 

It’s judge’s like Rhinehart who should be voted OUT and removed from the bench.

CPS is supposed to help families, not destroy them.

You can follow the updates on the Wynn family’s fight to bring Prince and Zion home.
1. Contact Ben Rose, Durham County Director, at 919-560-8039 or wrose@dconc.gov to demand the immediate reunification of Prince and Zion Wynn to their mother. 
2. Contact Susan Lee, Program Manager, at eslee@dconc.gov, to demand that the permanent plan for the children be changed back to reunification at the next court date. 
If you have a story the public should know about, email us at newstip@thencbeat.com





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Gerald Jacksonhttps://www.instagram.com/imgjtheceo/
Hi, my name is Gerald Jackson and I am 26-years-old. I was born and raised in Troy, Alabama. I currently reside in North Carolina. I am a Journalist, Influencer, Content Creator, and a Man of Faith! I have been blogging for 5 years and I love it! I don't shy away from the truth, always speak my mind, and before I take anything back, I'll add more to it. Follow me on my social media below to keep up with my personal life. LOL!
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