Children Who Die Or Are Murdered In Foster Care

Reproduced under the Fair Use exception of 17 USC § 107 for noncommercial, nonprofit, and educational use.


 

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Stories

Women who cared for still-missing Florida girl are charged with abusing her before she disappeared by Catherine Wilson

23-month-old boy dies in foster care in Jacksonville, Florida

Bakersfield, California, police arrest Kathy Jean Scott for the murder of 3-month-old Eduardo Calzada

Round Rock, Texas, child taken by CPS and placed in foster "care" where the girl is killed


 

Women who cared for still-missing Florida girl are charged with abusing her before she disappeared by Catherine Wilson

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Originally published in Tampa Bay Online

August 18, 2004, Miami (AP) — Two women who cared for a still-missing Florida girl were charged Wednesday with abusing her before she vanished — placing her in an animal cage and tying her to her bed.

Geralyn Graham, 58, was charged with kidnapping and aggravated child abuse causing great bodily harm for actions leading up to the disappearance of Rilya Wilson — a unsolved case that rocked Florida's child welfare agency.

Graham is already serving a three-year sentence for fraud.

Her roommate, Pamela Graham, was charged with child abuse causing no great harm and for child neglect.

The charges allege abuse before Rilya's suspected disappearance in 2001, when she was 4.

"We would hope that Rilya Wilson is alive," Miami-Dade police director Robert Parker said. "But in actuality, we fear that actually she's not alive." [She was later found dead.]

Police said in the last five months of 2000, Geralyn Graham punished the girl by locking her in an animal cage, tying her to her bed and confining her in a laundry room. She could get a life sentence if convicted.

Pamela Graham, 39, who is cooperating with investigators, is accused of failing to protect the girl. She could get 10 years.

The state Department of Children and Families discovered in April 2002 that Rilya was missing and that caseworkers had not made required visits to check on her for at least 15 months.

Rilya was an infant when she was taken by the state from her homeless, crack-addicted mother.

Pamela Graham had custody of the girl and was receiving state aid as her caregiver; Geralyn Graham claimed to be Rilya's grandmother. The women initially identified themselves as half-sisters, but Pamela Graham told co-workers Geralyn was her wife.

The Grahams say the girl was taken from their home by a DCF worker in January 2001. The agency and police deny that.

"This was really a lie, and I emphasize it was a fabrication and a concoction," Parker said.

Brian Tannebaum, Geralyn Graham's attorney, said he stood by what "my client says and I don't have any evidence to the contrary."

Pamela Graham's attorney, Martin Beguiristain, declined to comment.

Geralyn Graham was sentenced last year on charges that included accepting welfare payments for the girl long after she disappeared. Pamela Graham was sentenced to two years of probation.

Rilya's last assigned social worker, DeBorah Muskelly, was placed on probation for official misconduct and agreed to repay the state $2,736 for filing false time sheets.

The state's botched handling of Rilya's care led to a blue-ribbon committee's investigation of DCF and a management shake-up.

"As a result of the Rilya Wilson case the department has made numerous, significant improvements to ensure this type of tragic crime cannot be repeated," DCF spokesman Bill Spann said.

But the advocacy group Florida's Children First issued a statement noting 515 foster children are unaccounted for by DCF, and said "very little has been done" to improve life for the state's foster children.


 

23-month-old boy dies in foster care in Jacksonville, Florida

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© 2005 News4Jax

Birth Parents Blame DCF, system

April 22, 2005 — A family whose child was taken away from them by the Florida Department of Children & Families is blaming the system for allowing their 23-month-old son to die. Christina Mantooth and her husband are mourning Gregory Love, who died while living in foster care after his parents failed a drug test.

"He's never been sick," Mantooth said of her youngest child. "He was in perfect health. He was a perfect child."

Mantooth had her four children taken away by the DCF April 5 for failing a drug test.

"They said as soon as we went back to court, if we passed a drug test at the end of the month, we were getting them back," she said.

But that was not to be. The DCF divided her children between two families — Love and the 7-year-old with one, the 4- and 5-year-old with another. Mantooth said that when she visited Love at his foster home last week, he appeared to be sick. So she asked her 7-year-old what happened to his brother.

"He said he busted his nose and his lip when he fell off the top bunk bed," she said.

According to her oldest son, the foster mother put ice on Love's head when he fell, but she did not take him to a hospital. When Mantooth found out her son did not receive medical attention, she alerted her caseworker, who was supposed to make a doctor's appointment for Love. But, according to Mantooth, he never made it there.

Five days after visiting her baby, she received the news that Love had died. She couldn't understand why, and wanted her caseworker to explain.

"I said, 'You take them from me for doing drugs and give them to somebody (else) to let them die,'" Mantooth said. "She didn't care. She didn't care."

And while she admits she made a mistake in doing drugs to begin with, Mantooth said she never did anything to harm her children.

"I always took care of them," she said. "They were perfect."

The DCF is now investigating the incident, questioning all people involved. The DCF wouldn't speak to the Channel 4 newsroom, but it did release this statement:

"Any death involving a child is a tragedy. Our hearts go out to all the families involved. We are currently investigating the circumstances of the child's death."

Still, Mantooth will not be satisfied until the DCF makes some intense changes.

"Whether it's the foster parents or DCF's fault, the whole system is responsible," she said. " I'll feel that way until the day I die."


 

Bakersfield, California, police arrest Kathy Jean Scott for the murder of 3-month-old Eduardo Calzada

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© 2005 by Kyle Brown, Bakersfield Online

March 31, 2005 — Kathy Jean Scott, age 41, was arrested in the 8100 block of Laborough Drive on an arrest warrant which was issued on March 4, 2005, charging murder and child endangerment.

On March 8, 2004, at approximately 0653 hours officers responded to 5311 Glacier Springs Drive regarding an infant death. Eduardo Calzada was found dead in the master bedroom. Calzada was a foster child and lived in the home of Kathy Scott, the foster mother. Calzada died as a result of blunt force trauma to the head after sustaining multiple skull fractures. This investigation has been ongoing for one year. The investigation has included specialized examination by various experts specifically in the area of infant deaths. Once the investigation concluded, the case was submitted to the Kern County District Attorney's Office for review and a warrant for Scott's arrest was issued. She was no longer living at the Glacier Springs address. She was located at her current address on Laborough Drive where she was arrested without incident and booked into the Kern County Jail.

Original news release

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March 8, 2004 — Bakersfield Police Department detectives are investigation a suspicious death at 5311 Glacier Springs Drive involving a 3 month old boy. This morning at 6:52 a.m., Bakersfield Police and Fire Departments responded to a 911 call at the address and when they arrived the infant was already deceased. Fire Department personnel noticed suspicious circumstances that may or may not be related to the infant's death and Police Department Investigations responded to investigate. At this point, the investigation is being handled as suspicious until the cause of death is determined. The child's autopsy will take place today. The child resided at the residence which is a licensed private foster care home. The foster mother and other care providers in the home are being questioned regarding the infant's death.

Four other foster children in the home have been placed into protective custody pending the outcome of the investigation.


 

Round Rock, Texas, child taken by CPS and placed in foster "care" where the girl is killed

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Reposted from Elite Daily

August 7, 2013 —Joshua Hill's two-year-old daughter was taken away from him last November because he was caught smoking marijuana while she was asleep.

Child Protective Services put young Alexandria Hill in the care of foster parents, who abused and eventually murdered the child two months later.

Rockdale's Sherill Small, whom Alex was placed with, has since been arrested on murder charges. Ms. Small's bond is set at $100,000.

According to Austin, Texas, TV station KVUE, Alexandria was rushed to the hospital Monday night with severe head injuries and then flown to White Children's Emergency Hospital in Temple, where she was placed on life support.

Hill, of Round Rock, Texas, got the call Monday night that Alex was in the hospital. He had last seen his daughter on a July 25 visitation at McDonald's.

"They wouldn't tell me what condition she was in or what was wrong or what had happened. The only thing they would tell me is I needed to be there. When I got there, I found out that Alex was in a coma."

For two days, Joshua held out hope that his daughter would regain consciousness, but on Wednesday night, she was taken off life support.

Hill told KVUE that he knew she was being abused after their first visit.

"She would come to visitation with bruises on her, and mold and mildew in her bag," he said. "It got to a point where I actually told CPS that they would have to have me arrested because I wouldn't let her go back."

Officials with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services told KVUE that they rely on private agencies to perform background checks on foster homes.

The agency assigned to Ms. Small's household was Texas Mentor. State records show a total of 15 violations for the agency's Austin Branch within the past two years.

Four of those deficiencies were for failing to perform proper background checks on foster homes.

"We never hurt our daughter," Joshua told KVUE. "She was never sick, she was never in the hospital, and she never had any issues until she went into state care."

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| Chapter 8 — Child "Protective" Services —Who's Minding The Minders? |

| Next — These Are The People "Protecting" Our Children |

| Back — Children's Mental Health Law Signed In Massachusetts — Teenager Who Testified In Favor Later Kills Herself |


 

Last modified 4/11/15