Like many struggling homeless families, Mavis lived on the streets of Stockton, California, with her three young children. She did her best to provide her kids enough food and clothing, but, it was, no doubt, a very difficult time for the family. There were some days they did not eat and most people that passed by Allen on the street did not offer their help.
The events that happened over the next few months resulted in the death of Allen’s 20-month-old son, and her being held responsible for killing him. However, new evidence suggests that something could have easily been done to prevent such a terrible crime from occurring…
Who is Mavis Victoria Allen?
At the time, Allen was a 24-year-old homeless woman living on the streets of Stockholm. Mavis had a difficult upbringing in Georgia. Her mother had died of AIDS and she had no idea who her father was. As such, Allen was raised by her abusive maternal grandmother. When Allen wound up on the streets, she struggled to support and provide for her 20-month-old son, 8-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son.
It was May 31, 2017 and while most people Mavis encountered on the street simply passed her by, that day one woman saw Mavis sitting on the sidewalk and felt empathy for her. The woman’s name was Veronica, and as a mother of four, she just knew in her heart that Mavis’ family needed some assistance. Over the next few months, Veronica and another woman brought Allen and her children food and clothing and developed a close bond with the family. Meanwhile, others questioned why Veronica was helping them at all…
Veronica believed that most people did not want to help Mavis because of the way she looked and smelled. She believed that they were just being judgmental and laboring under a bad first impression. It was absolutely obvious to Veronica that Mavis loved her children, but not everyone saw that love for them as plainly as she did. Indeed, other people in the homeless shelter began questioning Mavis’s motherly instincts and before long, so did Veronica.
Mavis Allen’s father
In 2010, Mavis met her biological father, Will Green, 51, in a chance encounter. Before that he didn’t even know Mavis existed. This was not surprising, as he had 27 other children at the time. Still, he urged Mavis to move back to Georgia where her family lived, but she decided to stay in California. They stayed in touch by phone and Green worried that Mavis was focusing too much on the man she was currently dating and not enough on her children…
At the time, Green was unaware that Mavis and her children were living in a vehicle after being kicked out from the Stockton Shelter for the Homeless. He also didn’t know Mavis had resorted to panhandling in order to get money for her family. If he had, he would have tried to get custody of the children and this whole mess might’ve been avoided…
On July 3, two women who knew Mavis Allen from the homeless shelter observed her at 10 pm on March Lane, panhandling with all three children in tow. They noticed her youngest son, Kharmell, was dirty and was only wearing a pair of blue shorts. Alarmed by the situation, the woman felt obligated to seek help for the children…
Enter Child Protective Services
The woman, who chose to remain anonymous, called San Joaquin County Child Protective Services to report Allen. When she called CPS, they recommended she call the Stockton Police Department, which she did. She explained the situation to an officer, who wound up putting her on hold for 20 minutes, which caused her to hang up in frustration. Meanwhile, the woman had no idea that Allen was on the radar of CPS from as far back as September 2016.
At that time, CPS responded because Allen was again out panhandling with her kids. They knew that the family was living in a car, but also that there was enough food for children. The older children at the time were attending school, where they were provided with meals, and the rest of the family got food from St. Mary’s Dining Room. But, what about little Kharmell. Where was he the entire day while Allen was panhandling on the streets?
Mike Hagbestad, deputy director of Children’s Services with the San Joaquin County Human Services Agency said that he received other calls about Allen, but none of them indicated any signs of actual abuse. Most of the calls, he said, were about neglect because of their homelessness. It also became difficult for authorities to track down Allen, as the family had no permanent residence.
August 4, 2017
The last encounter between Allen and CPS came on August 4, when Kharmell was taken to the hospital for dehydration. Allen brought Kharmell to St. Joseph’s Medical Center to get him help, but when they arrived, his condition was worst than anyone thought…
Police reports indicated that Kharmell was suffering from obvious trauma and was in cardiac arrest. Life-saving measures were then started at St. Joseph’s and the boy was eventually transferred to UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in Oakland. Meanwhile, Mavis Allen waited on pins and needles to hear the fate of her son.
August 6, 2017
It was on August 6, two days after Kharmell was brought into the hospital, that Mavis Allen received the worst news that any mother could hear: her son had died. Before even being able to mourn the loss of her child, detectives barged in questioning Allen. They were determined they had enough evidence to book her on suspicion of child neglect. Allen’s already difficult life was about to get a lot harder…
While Allen remained in custody, police conducted an autopsy on Kharmell and discovered that the trauma to his head was most likely not caused by accident. After doing some more research, detectives determined that the abuse to the child occurred in a motel room at the American Inn at 550 W. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
As Allen waited to hear her own fate, the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office refiled against her, due to Kharmell’s autopsy results. She was being charged for suspicion of child abuse resulting in death and they’d even tacked an enhancement onto the charges…
After hearing this news, the woman who first called CPS to report Allen’s neglect of her children was furious! She wondered why they ignored her if she expressed serious concern for the welfare of Allen’s children. “Why didn’t the agency do anything to get the children to a safe place?” She felt CPS had failed her.
Failure To Report A Case
“CPS failed in their response…the Stockton police officer failed me…he heard me.” Then, the woman learned another bit of shocking news: The agency had no record of their conversation on July 3! But, why were they failing to report a case where a child’s life was in danger?
Mike Hagbestad from CPS offered some answers, saying that the information he had on Allen wasn’t enough to say to the juvenile court that the children were in imminent danger. Now, trying to gather as much information as they could, authorities spoke to Veronica McCreary, the woman who first befriended Allen when she was on the street.
McCreary says that she met Allen when she resided with her children at the Stockton Shelter for the Homeless. Their relationship started because they both had children and McCreary said Allen’s kids got attached to her saying things like: “I wish I had you for a mommy.” Then, a few days after they first met, Allen was discharged from the shelter for smoking marijuana in her car with baby Kharmell present. But, this wasn’t the worst of it…
McCreary told police that at the St. Mary’s dining hall, Allen would get a plate of food for the baby but eat the food herself. “The child would be crying and she would just push him back,” McCreary said. Despite this new information about Allen, authorities say that attempts to verify information about Allen and her children were largely unsuccessful, as Allen, and her public defender declined an interview.
Today, Mavis Allen is now residing in the San Joaquin County Jail, and the District Attorney’s Office upgraded the charges against her to child abuse resulting in death. So far, no court date has been set but let us hope that if she is guilty of this heinous crime, and the neglect that came before, that she receives an appropriate punishment.