Teen’s death protested outside Social Services office

WWNY Teen’s death protested outside Social Services office

CANTON, N.Y. (WWNY) - About 50 people were gathered in front of St. Lawrence County’s Social Services building Wednesday morning, as part of continuing protests over the death of Treyanna Summerville of Gouverneur.

The protest was organized by local members of the Black Lives Matter movement and local foster parents.

Some of the signs they carried read “Treyanna’s Life Mattered” and “Justice for Trey.”

Summerville, 18, was found dead in her Rowley Street home 10 days ago. Police have charged a 13 year old with her murder, and her stepbrother has identified the 13 year old as his half-sister, who lived in the Rowley Street home with Treyanna.

Several people in Gouverneur have told reporters Treyanna showed signs of abuse in the months leading up to her death, and they blame the authorities for not doing enough - including Child Protective Services, which is part of St. Lawrence County’s Department of Social Services.

“That was one of the areas where Treyanna was failed, was Child Protective Services. We believe that there were failures on a number of levels,” said John Youngblood, Black Lives Matter/SUNY Potsdam associate professor.

Gouverneur Police Chief Laurina Greenhill told 7 News police were called to the home 16 times over seven years, including child abuse/neglect complaints.

Treyanna’s stepbrother, Isiah Samuels, spoke quietly with organizers. He has told of years of physical abuse he suffered at the hands of his stepmother, Lashanna Charlton. He says Treyanna suffered the same. Charlton has said she knows nothing of such allegations.

Samuels has said he doesn’t believe his half sister did it. Now others are speaking out about Protective Services. That includes a group of foster parents suing the county.

“I think that there’s a lot of people listening right now. Unfortunately, this poor child had to pay with her life. But we all want to make sure her death was not in vain,” said Courtney Fantone, Foster Parents of St. Lawrence County.

Protest after protest, question after question. But still no answers from Child Protective Services – including answers to calls we made at 7 News

No coroner’s findings have been released in the case. The 13 year old charged with murder is in youth court, so proceedings are closed and records sealed.

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