Sunday, July 23, 2000

Mom torn by worry, deception

Woman injured in fire says try teens as adults

By Reid Forgrave
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The adoptive mother of two Highland County teens who are accused of setting fire to her home last week lay in her hospital bed Saturday, tormented by nightmares and torn by feelings of betrayal and concern.

        Gladys Bocook was worried about her adopted children, but she also thought they should be tried as adults.

        “Have you seen the kids?” Mrs. Bocook asked, her voice damaged and lungs still stinging from the smoke. “I'm worried about the kids.”

        Mrs. Bocook, 52, was in fair condition at University Hospital, suffering second- and third-degree burns on her arm and back. Her 14- and 15-year-old adopted children are charged with setting fire to the Bocooks' double-wide mobile home early Tuesday.

        The children left Mr. and Mrs. Bocook, who are their great-uncle and great-aunt, inside the burning Clay Township home. They allegedly stole the Bocooks' 1993 Oldsmobile and sped off to their birth mother's home two hours away in McArthur, Ohio.

        The teens, jailed at Ross County Juvenile Detention Center in Chillicothe, face a hearing July 31 in Highland County Juvenile Court to determine whether they will be tried as adults on charges of aggravated arson and attempted murder.

        “I think they should be charged as adults,” Mrs. Bocook said. “Because they knew what they were doing.”

        The Bocooks have insurance on their mobile home, said Yvonne Bocook, a cousin at the house where Charles Bocook is staying until he and his wife get a permanent residence.

        “It's a damn shame (the kids) didn't just take the car and not set the fire,” Yvonne Bocook said.

        She was still searching for reasons for why the teens — well cared for, even spoiled, according to police — would do such a thing.

        “They didn't have to sit there and watch” the fire, she said, her voice interrupted by crying. “They didn't have to hate me so much.”

        Police are investigating Melody Workman, the birth mother of the teens, for failing to report a crime. She has not been charged in the incident.

        The teens allegedly called her and told her about their plans to kill the Bocooks and “that they were on their way,” according to Detective Steve Alexander of the Highland County Sheriff's Office.

        Ms. Workman did not answer repeated phone calls to her residence Saturday.


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