Could deaths have been prevented?

In July 2014, Brittany Pilkington of Bellefontaine smothered her 3-month-old son, Niall. She told authorities she didn’t know what caused his death.

In April 2015, Pilkington smothered her 4-year-old son, Gavin. She told authorities much the same story.

In August 2015, Pilkington smothered her 3-month-old son, Noah. At that point, finally, she was arrested and charged with murder.

Initially, Pilkington, 24, told police she killed the boys because her husband was not paying enough attention to their daughter. Later, she reportedly added she worried the boys would grow up to abuse women.

Now, a judge is considering whether her confession should be admissible in her trial for murder.

Clearly, by any normal human being’s definition, Pilkington is mentally ill.

But the most disturbing question that ought to be asked in her case is not about her guilt or her sanity — but why she was not apprehended sooner.

It is a question that comes up with troubling frequency when there are reports of children killed by adults whose behavior, often involving abuse, makes it clear the little ones are in danger.

Again: Pilkington was not stopped after she murdered one child, nor after she killed a second, but only after all three boys were dead.

How could that have been allowed to happen?