Amy Dye moved to Todd County in 2006 to live with her great-aunt, Kimberly Dye, and her older cousins. Amy’s biological mother had lived with abusive men, and a relative reported that her father had sexually abused her.
In February, when Amy was 9, her cousin and adoptive brother, Garrett Dye, beat her to death with a hydraulic jack handle. He left her body under a thicket, and police found her later that night.
Garrett Dye, now 18, pleaded guilty to murder in October. He received a 50-year prison sentence, though he preserved his right to appeal the conviction, based on a judge’s ruling his lawyer considers faulty.
The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services tried to keep the social workers’ records confidential, but a judge ordered the cabinet to release them. The records reveal that for a large share of 2007, Amy Dye repeatedly told adults at school she was suffering severe physical abuse at home. Social workers documented her claims but never took action to remove her from the home. The cabinet claimed it was not responsible because the abuse was not coming from Amy’s parents.
In recent months, several legislators have excoriated the cabinet for failing to protect the little girl. They have promised to look for more effective ways to hold the cabinet accountable, including making social workers’ records more accessible.