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Father speaks out: Wellness check not adding up

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Posted at 7:28 PM, Jun 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-03 19:28:50-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — There are a lot of questions still running through Darryl Williams' mind about the events that led up to the murder of his two children.

Deon and Skyler Williams were stabbed to death in their home on May 2. Their mother, Nikki James, is charged with their murder.

Williams says he's been trying to get answers from Lexington police and prosecutors about what happened to a wellness check that he initiated the day before.

"I'm just trying to figure out, get some closure for my babies and it seems like the system or the police in this, per se situation, is more or less worried about building a case," said Williams.

Williams says in a meeting with local officials, both he and the defense for James asked about the decision not to check on the wellness of the children. Initially, he says police told him they had.

A question the local NAACP has also asked police about.

"All I ask for is the truth. Please," said Williams.

In a press release, police said they responded to the children's home twice before their mother Nikki James allegedly stabbed them to death. They also explained the caller who made the request asked for a welfare check on James, not the children, and it also wasn't a mental health crisis call.

William's friend made the call while he was there.

"The call was placed for the children," said Williams. "We stated to them we are the parents or I'm the father of this person. She has my children down there. I'm worried about the children. Can you go check on them?"

After being scrutinized by the local NAACP, Lexington police shared little of what happened during that welfare check.

They say James told them she did not know who made the welfare check call and that she did not need any assistance. They talked to her at the door of the apartment and did not see any signs of mental illness, so they left.

Williams is struggling to process why that decision was made.

"When they called us back, they told us they checked on. They even told us they had seen the kids. And now they said they never even seen my kids," he said.

Williams is also struggling to accept that police won't share information and certain details won't come out until they are presented as evidence in court or as testimony from witnesses.

He says he understands there's a process, but he needs the closure and doesn't know what or who to trust.

"Again, the system has failed me. I did everything I could. I called in extra help. Then the system told me I didn't ask for help properly," said Williams.

So far, in this case, James' defense has also brought up the welfare check the day before the murders occurred. However, the prosecution has objected- questioning the relevance.

"The people that I thought I can get help from; they aren't helping me. They're worried about keeping secrets and building cases. And all I wanted to do was just have some closure from my kids, my children," said Williams.

The NAACP also called on Mayor Linda Gorton and the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council to open an independent investigation.

But Gorton has not directly responded to that request. Williams wants to add to the pressure to change that.

"They more worried about the do's and don'ts of a case and who might have messed up or didn't mess up," said Williams.

Police say they are reviewing the NAACP's requests and have no further comment. LEX 18 asked them about Williams, and they advised that he should call their public integrity unit.

Susan Straub from the mayor's office says Gorton has limited comments about the case because it's still an open investigation.

For Williams, it feels like no one is listening and he's having to fight for his kids all over again.

"I understand that they got procedures, but I'm dealing with my heart, and I'm trying to ask some simple questions that can be simply answered," he said.

To be completely transparent, there are strict rules in Kentucky about how and what information is shared outside of the courtroom. Officials have not indicated if this is why even more details about the wellness check have not been shared.

Williams says the details that have been shared so far are incomplete and missing key elements. For example, why do call logs show the police stayed for nearly an hour during the wellness check.

He's hoping someone eventually looks beyond policies (to a legally acceptable extent) and caters to the victim's heart.