An 11-month child would have celebrated her first birthday last week but instead she was rushed to Dell Children’s Hospital with fatal injuries and bruises that led to her death. Authorities responding to the Cypress Creek call were told the infant was choking. While undergoing questioning, the suspect’s statement was consistent with the reported injuries of the child. Upon further questioning, the police found sufficient evidence to connect the suspect to the crime, including bruising on the child’s left ear. According to police, the man admitted to placing the child’s head between his knee and the floor, causing a significant head injury.
While Cedar Park Police have issued charges of child battering, they are also working closely with the county district attorney’s office to determine if additional charges will be filed. Allegedly, the suspect’s aunt was called into work and was not in the home at the time of the incident.
According to reports, the infant had been removed from the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS of San Antonio) since her mother had tested positively for methamphetamines.
Recent laws in the department have instituted changes that allow foster children to be placed in the homes of relatives. The child’s aunt had reportedly been cleared as a foster parent on Oct 7. There were three other children who have been placed with relatives since the changes.
Investigations with similar incidents with DFPS are ongoing.
Children in the Austin area are frequently taken to the hospital with head trauma. These are issues normally dealt with by child protective services and encouraged by Kinship programs to be moved into homes of relatives instead of foster care. In this case, the child passed away on the morning prior to the caregiver being on an approved or verified list.
In addition to already stringent, guidelines and background checks, Lutheran Social Services (LSS) has implemented an action plan to insure that the Kinship Program continues to follow all DFPS policies and adheres to the high standards of the organization.
Children are our society’s most precious commodity. Their protection should be the responsibility of all state and federal agencies as well as our own. If child custody agreements are not protected, all citizens of our society suffer, not just innocent children.
kens5.com, “Texas man charged after San Antonio infant dies in state custody” No author given, Oct. 22, 2013