I’m not anticipating a lot of satisfying answers as reporters and officials start digging into the murders of four girls in a Southeast row home. And we’re off to a bad start. Child and Family Services gave an unbelievably lame explanation of how the agency followed up on previous concerns about the children’s welfare. Spokeswoman Mindy Good told the Post they had received a report in April and “attempted to investigate.”

From the Post, she said: “We were unable to find them at any of the numerous times we attempted to make contact…Then they disappeared. We went to the residence, and it was vacated.”

Seems like disappearance is a reason to keep looking, not stop.

The coming investigation will surely toss blame at schools, for not keeping track of students, the social welfare system, for neglecting complaints, maybe even the power company, do they have any responsibility to alert authorities when they cut off the juice in the middle of the winter? One place that might escape scrutiny, but deserves it, is the mental health system. According to the Post, the mother said her children were possessed, and police “have raised questions about [her] mental health.” When we don’t have the money or inclination to pay serious attention to mental illness, sometimes there’s more than one person’s sanity at stake.

An interesting look at the much-studied topic of women who kill their children is here.