Charles Ommanney has seen more than his share of tragedy. A native of Great Britain who now calls Texas home, the 33-year-old photojournalist began his career as a war correspondent for the Times of London, photographing the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe, massacres in Rwanda, and destitute refugees in Zaire. Still, nothing quite prepared him for the horrors he saw as he trailed investigators from Child Protective Services Unit 25 (see “No One Knows What Could Be Happening to Those Kids,”). “I’ve done incredibly sad stories, some that have involved children, but when it’s on your doorstep, it’s a different ball game,” says Ommanney, who captured one particularly heartbreaking scene less than a mile from his own home. He got so caught up in the assignment that he came to feel like part of the unit: “I was in awe of those people. Their job is a nightmare.” Still, he managed to keep his feelings in check until he developed his film. “When you look at the pictures, you can’t believe what you’re seeing,” he says. “People bloody well need to know about this. If I can bring awareness to it, then I’ve done my job right.”
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