Tag Archives: Death

Hot Vehicle Claims First Child In 2018

.jpg photo of vehicular heatstroke graphic
#HotVehicles Are Not #BabySitters

Family Of 1-Year-Old Who Died In Hot Car Had No DCF History

#HotVehicles Are Not #BabySitters

MIAMI, FL  –  The Department of Children and Families says the family of a 1-year-old who died after being left in a hot car had no history with the child welfare system.

The department has opened a child protective investigation but says all details remain confidential.

DCF Secretary Mike Carroll did release a statement saying,

“My heart goes out to this family who have lost a precious child.  It is easy to assume this could never happen to you, but time and time again I see caregivers who let themselves slip into a routine when transporting children and make a fatal mistake when that routine is disrupted.  More than half of all child deaths from hot cars are the result of a parent inadvertently leaving the child in their car..”

The case prompted strong words from Miami-Dade Police spokesman, Detective Alvaro Zabaleta.

He told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench, “This is something that we, in society, cannot allow to continue to happen.  The precious cargo in your car is a child and there is no way that we as parents can forget the precious child in your car. This is happening way too often.”

“No matter how hectic our schedule is, no matter how fast paced our lives are, we can not allow our kids to be put in danger,” said Zabaleta.  “We just need to learn how to slow down and concentrate on what we are doing.”

The 1-year-old boy was apparently forgotten in the car Wednesday at a strip mall near Bird Road and 97th Avenue.

The baby’s mother works at a beauty salon in the mall, according to witnesses. They said she was not supposed to work on Wednesday but came in on her day off.

She reportedly came to work at the Forever Young Spa around 9 a.m., parked the car in the back and, at about 12:30 p.m., they heard loud screams and commotion when she found her child.

The baby was a transported to Kendall Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

It was a hot day Wednesday with temperatures in the mid-80s.  Temperatures inside the car could’ve reached up to 100°.

Witnesses said the mother was devastated and screaming.  She said something along the lines of because of work – this happened.

At this time, it is unclear if there will be any charges related to this incident. Zabaleta said the case is being referred to the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s office.  Witnesses said police have recovered surveillance tape from the scene but it is not being released.

A friend of the family said that family members were too upset to say anything right now.

At the salon, customers said they were upset after hearing the news.

“I can’t imagine anything like this happening,” said Cathy O’Sullivan, who also has children.

Another customer, Shanin Alvarez, said, “This is such a sad story to hear this.  I don’t know what happened, if she was distracted or if she is a first-time mother.”

Customer Lidia Gutierrez said, “It is horrible.  It is just so sad.”  Her friend and another customer, Iala Isarque, said, “I just really have no words to say.”

Following the incident, Carroll did ask parents to find a safety strategy that works for them, suggesting the following:

  • Be sure to check the back seat every time you leave the vehicle.
  • Put your purse, briefcase, lunch, etc. in the backseat so you are sure to look before you lock the door.
  • Do not let your children play near vehicles; they may accidentally lock themselves in.
  • If there is a change in plans and someone else is dropping your kids off, have them call you at drop off so you know everyone made it safely.

For more information on tips to hot car preventions, click here.

Heatstroke

On average, 37 children die from heat-related deaths after being trapped inside vehicles.  Even the best of parents or caregivers can unknowingly leave a sleeping baby in a car; and the end result can be injury or even death.

KIDSANDCARS.org

CA Man Charged With Child Abuse, Torture

.jpg photo of man charged with Child Abuse and Torture
Arthur Combs, 24

Stockton Girl, 7, Dies; Uncle Suspected Of Child Abuse, Torture

STOCKTON, CA  –  A young girl has died and her uncle is under arrest on suspicion of child abuse, authorities say.

Stockton police say officers responded to a home along the 10500 block of Hidden Grove Circle a little after 4 a.m. to investigate a medical call.  As they soon discovered, a 7-year-old girl had been rushed to the hospital.

The girl was later pronounced dead.  Authorities suspect the girl died from injuries sustained from being abused.

Officers have arrested the girl’s uncle, 24-year-old Arthur Combs. He’s facing charges of torture and child abuse resulting in death.

Baby Brianna

Mother in New Mexico Child Abuse Case Released from Prison

Special Archive – Baby Brianna

DONA ANA COUNTY, NM  –  Wednesday, the mother of baby Brianna Lopez, the 5-month old who was brutally raped and beat to death in 2002 was released from prison.

Stephanie Lopez was released today after serving nearly 13-years of her 27-year prison sentence.  Lopez was convicted in 2003 in connection to the death of her daughter Brianna.

“This case sent shockwaves through the entire community.  Baby Brianna was horrifically tortured, raped and murdered, and we all want the monsters who took part in this brutal crime to face justice,” Secretary of Corrections Gregg Marcantel said.  “Unfortunately, the law at the time allowed these violent offenders to have a much lighter sentence than what they deserved.”

Brianna was just a few months old when her father Andrew Walters, 59926, and uncle Steven Lopez, 59927, raped and abused her.  Her mother took part in the abuse, biting the child from head to toe, and allowed the rapes to happen.  The jury found Stephanie Lopez not guilty of intentional child abuse, but guilty of child abuse resulting in death.  She received a 27 year sentence but under the law was eligible for day for day good time and credit time for time served in jail awaiting trial.

Walters received a total of 63 years in prison for child abuse resulting in death and rape.  He is also eligible for good time as is Steven Lopez, who received a 57 year sentence in total for rape and neglect resulting in death.

Walters’s mother, Patricia Walters, and his brother, Robert Walters Junior, were convicted of failing to report child abuse and were sentenced to 60 days in jail.

Corrections officials had five independent auditors to review Lopez’s case file to ensure that she served her full sentence.  The State does not have the authority to alter the court ordered sentence that permits her release.

Lopez will serve two years of parole in another state through the interstate compact agreement.  Location of offenders in interstate compact is confidential.  She will have to follow all rules and requirements of her parole as well as state and federal laws.

Baby Brianna’s Law, named after the victim, now sets a mandatory life sentence for child abuse resulting in death for a child under 13.

An effort to expand the law to children from age 13 to 18 died in the state senate in the 2015 and 2016 legislative sessions

Young Man Tricked On Social Media, Beat To Death

.jpg photo of man lured on social media to his death
Preston Talley, 35

4 arrested in murder investigation; accused
of using social media to lure victim

BROOKSVILLE, FL  –  Detectives made four arrests in a grizzly Hernando County murder.

A man walking in the woods Sunday spotted a car with a naked body lying near it and called authorities.  Deputies spent hours at the crime scene off State Road 50 in the eastern part of the county, processing the scene and gathering evidence.  Their investigation revealed the victim had been in contact with three men and a woman on the dating site Plenty of Fish.

The victim has been identified as 35-year old Preston Talley, of Gainesville.

Investigators believe Talley thought he was speaking with 25-year old Kayla Morrow, of Dade City.  In reality, he was communicating with 24-year old Joshual Gardner, who lived at the same address as Morrow.

“Her and Mr. Gardner and two other individuals were actually attempting to lure our victim into Hernando County … for what he thought was going to be either sexual acts and or consuming drugs, specifically methamphetamine,” Sheriff Al Nienhuis said.

Talley drove to the area and met with Morrow.  The two spoke briefly before he followed her to an isolated wooded area off of the highway.  There, the three other suspects were hiding and waiting.

“Our information is the minute he got out of the vehicle, one of the suspects began to hit him with a bat… (They) beat him viciously in the head to the point where he was deceased,” Nienhuis said.

Morrow, Gardner and the two other suspects, 19-year old Andrew Abbott and 24-year old Brandon Harrelson, allegedly took $20 and meth from the victim.  At some point, the four allegedly removed Talley’s clothes and disposed of some of their own clothing.  The sheriff believes they did so to destroy evidence.

Authorities say the suspects then left the state, heading for the Jackson, Mississippi area.  After making their way back into Florida, there were arrested in the Gainesville area.

One or more of the suspects told friends or relatives what happened, detectives said.  Authorities interviewed those acquaintances.

Morrow, Gardner, Abbott and Harrelson are charged with robbery and first-degree murder.  They will be transported from Alachua County to the Hernando County Jail.

Child Deaths Unsolved As Autopsies Fall Behind Pt-2 of 2

.jpg photo of Child killed while under state supervision
Jeremiah Oliver. vanished while under social services supervision

Frustrating state delays

The slow pace of the medical examiner’s office can be frustrating to families and law enforcement officials alike, potentially stalling the criminal justice process indefinitely.

Even in the notorious case of Fitchburg preschooler Jeremiah Oliver — who vanished while under state social service supervision — no cause of death has yet been announced almost two years after his body was found.  Jeremiah’s mother and boyfriend, already charged with assault, kidnapping, and child endangerment, could face murder charges if the medical examiner rules the case a homicide.

Medeiros said she called DCF multiple times to warn that Jay was at risk after she quarreled with her daughter, Hailey Corrente, and Corrente moved out of her North Attleborough home in September 2012. Corrente, now 28, was showing she couldn’t be a responsible parent, Medeiros said.

Two months later, in November 2012, police were called to Richmond Avenue, after a 911 call that a baby wasn’t breathing, police records show.  Corrente met them at the front door and sent them upstairs, where her boyfriend Santiago was giving Jay cardiopulmonary resuscitation, police reported.

Medeiros said she repeatedly called police to investigate and the medical examiner for a death ruling.  She said Corrente and Santiago left town not long after the child’s death.

Worcester police declined to comment, except to say an investigation into Jay’s death is “active.”  Redacted records show officials did obtain several search warrants, which Medeiros said focused on Richardson Avenue.

The young couple may have wanted to move on, but their past followed them as they settled into a second-floor apartment with their new baby on a residential street in Lakewood, Ohio.

In June 2014, the couple was contacted by Cuyahoga County social workers who heard about Jay’s death from the Massachusetts child welfare agency, said county spokeswoman Mary Louise Madigan.

The Ohio case was closed in October 2014 after workers visited the family home and determined there was no evidence the baby was unsafe, Madigan said.

In December 2014, Lakewood police knocked on their door after Corrente’s aunt called to say that her niece told her that Santiago was “beating her up.”  When police came to the home, Santiago, dressed in a T-shirt and boxers, refused to let officers in for several hours.

Corrente eventually came downstairs and told police she was OK, inviting them upstairs to check on her infant son.  Santiago was later convicted of obstructing official business, police records show, and ordered to pay a $150 fine.

Last spring, a New England Center reporter knocked on the door of the couple’s closed apartment and left a letter requesting comment when nobody answered.  Corrente came downstairs a few minutes later to read the note after the reporter drove away.  Santiago, later reached by phone, declined to comment.

Medeiros, meanwhile, speaks to anybody she can about her grandson.  Her home is filled with Jay’s pictures, her closet stuffed with his toys and clothes, his death certificate clipped to her refrigerator.

She said the district attorney’s office provides no information.  A local police officer has told her privately that without more information, the investigation is stalled.  She worries incessantly about Jay’s little brother, now nearly 2 years old.

“I want justice for Jay,” said Medeiros.  “I have to speak for my grandson Jay because nobody else will.”  In some cases, even a finding of homicide does not prompt action.  The medical examiner ruled that one-year-old Keanu Ramos of Pittsfield died of “blunt trauma” in February 2010 and the Berkshire County district attorney’s office confirmed the investigation is still open almost six years later.

But Keanu’s family said they were never even informed that the child allegedly was a victim of homicide.  “You have shocked me,” said his great-grandmother, Sandra Mills, when a New England Center reporter informed her earlier this year.

She later told her family what she learned and reported back, that they believe his death was natural: “None of us believe it,” she said about the state report.

There’s some indication that state social workers did not know about the medical examiner’s ruling either: DCF didn’t include Ramos on its list of abuse victims.  DCF officials declined to talk about the case, but have said generally that medical examiners have not always alerted the agency when a child’s death was linked to abuse and neglect as required by law.

Felix Browne, a spokesman for the state Executive Office of Public Safety, said medical examiners are supposed to notify district attorneys and DCF when a death is ruled a homicide.  He would not comment on the Ramos case.

Family members also are waiting for answers in the case of 2-year-old Dean McCullough of Lowell, whose 2010 death was ruled a homicide seven months after his passing, caused by “blunt force trauma of head with injuries to brain,” according to his death certificate.

No charges in five years

McCullough had an open DCF case at the time of his death and the state child protection agency later determined that his death was linked to abuse and neglect, records show.

But five years later, no one has been charged in Dean’s death.  Jennifer Fontes, McCullough’s great aunt, said she is angry and disgusted.  “He is literally just forgotten,” she said.

Medeiros feels her grandson was failed in life and in death.

Medeiros said she called DCF multiple times to warn that Jay was at risk after she quarreled with her daughter, Hailey Corrente, and Corrente moved out of her North Attleborough home in September 2012. Corrente, now 28, was showing she couldn’t be a responsible parent, Medeiros said.

Two months later, in November 2012, police were called to Richmond Avenue, after a 911 call that a baby wasn’t breathing, police records show.  Corrente met them at the front door and sent them upstairs, where her boyfriend Santiago was giving Jay cardiopulmonary resuscitation, police reported.

Medeiros said she repeatedly called police to investigate and the medical examiner for a death ruling.  She said Corrente and Santiago left town not long after the child’s death.

Worcester police declined to comment, except to say an investigation into Jay’s death is “active.”  Redacted records show officials did obtain several search warrants, which Medeiros said focused on Richardson Avenue.

The young couple may have wanted to move on, but their past followed them as they settled into a second-floor apartment with their new baby on a residential street in Lakewood, Ohio.

In June 2014, the couple was contacted by Cuyahoga County social workers who heard about Jay’s death from the Massachusetts child welfare agency, said county spokeswoman Mary Louise Madigan.  The Ohio case was closed in October 2014 after workers visited the family home and determined there was no evidence the baby was unsafe, Madigan said.

In December 2014, Lakewood police knocked on their door after Corrente’s aunt called to say that her niece told her that Santiago was “beating her up.”  When police came to the home, Santiago, dressed in a T-shirt and boxers, refused to let officers in for several hours.

Corrente eventually came downstairs and told police she was OK, inviting them upstairs to check on her infant son.  Santiago was later convicted of obstructing official business, police records show, and ordered to pay a $150 fine.

Last spring, a New England Center reporter knocked on the door of the couple’s closed apartment and left a letter requesting comment when nobody answered.  Corrente came downstairs a few minutes later to read the note after the reporter drove away.  Santiago, later reached by phone, declined to comment.

Medeiros, meanwhile, speaks to anybody she can about her grandson.  Her home is filled with Jay’s pictures, her closet stuffed with his toys and clothes, his death certificate clipped to her refrigerator.

She said the district attorney’s office provides no information.  A local police officer has told her privately that without more information, the investigation is stalled.  She worries incessantly about Jay’s little brother, now nearly 2 years old.

“I want justice for Jay,” said Medeiros.  “I have to speak for my grandson Jay because nobody else will.”