A whistleblower who used to work at Child Protective Services has come forward to say the death of 2-year-old Leah Aguirre could have been prevented.
The Crosbyton toddler was found dead in her caregiver's basement back in January, about a week after she was reported missing. Matilda Almaraz was indicted for capital murder and injury to a child in March.
Shane Lance was working as a probation officer when Leah went missing. He had previously worked for CPS.
The lawsuit states:
Almaraz walked into Lance's office in November of 2012 with Baby Leah and another woman. Lance recognized the women from an open CPS file he'd seen in his previous job and believed the child was at risk.
Lance immediately contacted Brandi Collins in the CPS office and told them the child was in danger and that she needed to be removed.
Lance gave Collins a list of reasons for his concerns about Almaraz, citing a history of criminal allegations involving assault and anger management difficulties and a history of CPS cases involving drug abuse and anger issues.
CPS visited the home on Nov. 5 and made a recommendation for non-emergency removal on Nov. 7.
But Lance's attorney, John Judge, says that never happened.
When the Amber Alerts went out for the child on Jan. 8, Lance immediately went to law enforcement and told them he'd alerted CPS back in November.
"CPS just became inflamed that Shane Lance had told law enforcement about how they had dropped the ball," Judge said.
In the lawsuit, Lance says CPS employee Brandi Collins told him, "We messed up and as a result a little girl is dead."
Lance's attorney says Lance was fired from his job at Lubbock-Crosby County Community Supervision and Corrections Department back in February because he went to law enforcement about this case.
Judge said the CPS office was "mad at Mr. Lance because his report had shown how they had messed up and the little girl died as a result of their mess up."
"We believe that if they had paid attention to what our client told them in November, this little girl would not have been murdered," Judge said.
We contacted CPS but they said they are unable to comment about CPS cases.
We contacted Lance's former employers about the case and they said they were unable to comment because of pending litigation.
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