ASHEBORO, N.C. — Samantha Doby will tell you any day she spends with her three young kids is a good day. On this day, Doby and the children are making the short walk to the lake behind the house. They live with her in-laws on the banks of Farlows Lake in Asheboro. “We spend a lot of time here,” said Doby.
The kids will often go through a few loaves of bread feeding the ducks. Havana is the oldest and will often use both arms to throw bread to the hungry ducks. Brother Vance prefers to crumple the bread up before chucking it into the lake. While the older kids run off after the last of the bread is gone, Samantha keeps a tight hold of baby Reece.
“They are everything to me, I stay home to take care of them and play with them,” said Doby.
It is not unusual for the family to spend a good chunk of the day outside playing. That was most likely what was going to happen one day back in July. Until everything changed that morning.
“I heard her (Samantha) gag and holler out,” said her mother-in-law Vickie Brown. Doby was gasping for air and drifting in and out of consciousness. She was burning up and her blood pressure was plummeting. “The paramedics said I could have died if they didn’t get my blood pressure up,” said Doby. Paramedics were able to stabilize her and after she was treated by emergency room doctors her vitals would quickly start to improve.
Doby was monitored overnight and was alert and responsive by the next day, “It was scary,” Brown said. It appears the worst was over but that morning a Department of Social Services (DSS) caseworker showed up at the hospital. The agency had apparently received a call from someone who believed Doby had overdosed. Doby says the caseworker talked with people at the hospital and was convinced it was an overdose.
The caseworker decided to remove the kids from the home. Doby was adamant she did not take any drugs and offered to move out of the home until that matter could be cleared up. Dolby figured the kids would then be able to stay in the home with their grandparents. However, the caseworker said she lost faith in the kid’s grandparents,” according to Doby.
While Doby remained in the hospital, her kids and the grandparents went back to the house to pack a bag for the kids to take when DSS arrived. Brown says a caseworker showed up at the house around 11:30 that evening, “We all cried,” said Brown. The kids were being placed with one of Doby’s sisters, but the family is not that close. Doby says the kids have only met her sister a few times.
A day later Doby was handed a medical report from the hospital that showed she did not overdose accidentally or intentionally. The family believes Doby had a seizure. The lab report revealed Doby was in septic shock with leukocytosis. It’s an above-normal white blood cell count that is commonly associated with an infection.
Once the report for drugs came back negative Doby says she contacted DSS, but the agency was less than responsive. The family claims it provided a copy of the report to DSS and asked if the kids could be returned to the home, and the caseworker refused, Doby says.
The family reached out to WFMY News 2 the following day in hopes of getting some help. After reviewing the medical report, we contacted DSS hoping to understand why the kids were not being returned to the Doby and the kid’s grandparents.
The agency declined to speak with us in detail about the issue citing privacy concerns, but we were able to explain the situation. A day later, Doby says someone from DSS reached out to her and set up a meeting that was to happen within a couple days.
Doby says they went to the DSS and met with the caseworker and a supervisor in a small room. The caseworker read a document that basically detailed what Doby was expected to do and that the kids would be returned to her that day, “It was simple and quick, she (caseworker) just read the letter, that’s it,” said Doby.
Doby says she was never given an explanation as to why DSS did not return the kids immediately after learning the toxicology report came back negative or why it took a call from WFMY News 2 before the agency would schedule an appointment.
“If you (News 2) had not called it would have been another week before they would have done anything,” said Doby.
On the day we visited Doby and the kids at their grandparent’s home you could tell they were thrilled to be back together, “I appreciate everything News 2 has done for us, it means the world to us. I credit (News 2) for helping to get my babies back,” said Brown.
Doby says DSS is still requiring her to take a regular drug screening test and attend a parenting class which she has already done. We reached back out to DSS after the kids were returned but again the agency declined to speak about the case.