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Foster Parents Remain Focus Of Missing Boy Investigation

 

Hasanni Campbell Photo: Oakland Police Dept.

Hasanni Campbell Photo: Oakland Police Dept.

http://www.ktvu.com/news/20660596/detail.html

Posted: 11:05 pm PDT August 31, 2009

Updated: 3:51 pm PDT September 1, 2009

OAKLAND, Calif. — The foster parents of missing Fremont 5-year-old Hasanni Campbell may have been released from jail because of a lack of evidence, but the Oakland police said Tuesday the couple remained the focus of their investigation.

At an afternoon news conference, Acting Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan left little doubt that the couple remained at the center of the investigation.

“This case is an on-going investigation; we will continue to follow up on leads,” he said. “We strongly believe and know for a fact that Hasanni Campbell never made it to Oakland on August 10th…We are continuing putting our efforts into solving this case and potentially re-arresting Mr. Louis Ross or Jennifer Campbell at some point. We respect the DA’s opinion, but we have more work to do here.”

However, Jordan didn’t offer any evidence to back up his assertion and left a brief news conference at police headquarters without taking any questions.

Oakland police spokesman Jeff Thomason told reporters that the last time anyone other than Ross or Campbell saw Hasanni was at the Walmart store in Fremont on Aug. 6, four days before Ross reported that Hasanni was missing.

The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office had released Jennifer Campbell on Monday and said it would release Louis Ross on Tuesday.

Veteran defense attorney John Burris, who has been advising the couple, told KTVU the arrests were an investigative gamble that had backfired.

“I was not surprised that she (Campbell) was released and not charged,” he said. “I knew the evidence. I knew there was no evidence and she was not going to talk because she had already given as many statements as she could.”

“I think it was a rush to judgment – an overreaction on the part of the police. They did not have evidence to support a conviction for her and I doubt that they had enough for a conviction for him. It may be a tactic on their part…I always thought it was a tactic by the police to squeeze one or both them to offer up incriminating evidence. It did not work.”

Campbell was arrested Friday on suspicion of aiding and abetting a homicide. Her fiancé Louis Ross was arrested at the couple’s Fremont home on the same charge.

Ross reported Hasanni missing on August 10th from Oakland’s Rockridge area.

“All I know is that this was one of the most difficult times in my life,” Campbell told KTVU after her release. “I’m still focused on finding Hasanni.”

Campbell said she was “in utter shock” when police arrested her at the Union City BART station Friday when she spoke to KTVU about being interrogated by police.

“They just said I was guilty of something. I told them I didn’t do anything. I just said find Hasanni. They accused me over and over again of doing something. I told them I didn’t,” Campbell said.

Oakland police have not said what led to the arrest of the foster parents or why investigators believe the child is dead.

Following her release, Campbell attended a prayer service for Hasanni in the Rockridge neighborhood.

Campbell was greeted by friends and those who have helped in the search for Hasanni.

Campbell said she was kept away from other inmates in an isolated cell at Santa Rita jail, but could still hear the inmates yell out derogatory remarks at her.

“I know what’s in my heart and anybody who knows me knows what I’m capable of. [They] know what I would do and know that this isn’t even in my character,” she said.

Campbell also said she has no doubt that Ross did not harm Hasanni either.

“We had nothing to do with it. He’s our little boy. We want him…and we want him back and our main concern is finding him and we still want people to come out. We still want people to know he is missing.”

Burris said being arrested was traumatic for Campbell, who is six months pregnant, and caused her “a great deal of emotional harm.” He had visited Campbell and Ross Sunday in jail, in attempt to assist them in locating a criminal defense attorney.

A search of Lake Elizabeth in Fremont has been organized for Saturday morning. Volunteers said they intend to continue to hold weekly vigils for Hasanni until he is found.

 

Murderers or model parents?

 

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/09/01/BAVA19H138.DTL

Phillip Matier,Andrew Ross

Hasanni Campbell’s foster parents – whom Oakland police held over the weekend on suspicion of being involved in the 5-year-old Fremont boy’s disappearance – would appear to be the least likely of suspects, according to social service records that have been turned over to investigators.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/09/01/BAVA19H138.DTL#ixzz0Q3ZhDLRb

Doctor testifies 2-year-old Fremont foster child died from stroke

 

http://www.insidebayarea.com/localnews/ci_13241975

By Ben Aguirre Jr.

Oakland Tribune

HAYWARD — A medical doctor hired by a defense attorney testified Monday that foster child Dylan James George died in October 2004 from a stroke, and said that the pathologist who performed his autopsy failed to gather all of the evidence before determining that the boy died from blunt trauma to the head.

The doctor, who reviewed the pathologist’s notes and several police and doctor reports before forming her own opinion in 2005, also concluded that the vast majority of the wounds seen on Dylan’s head during autopsy were “superficial” and nonfatal.

Dr. Janice Ophoven, who works in Minnesota studying deaths in children, was one of two people to take the stand Monday in the murder trial of Terry Howard Corder, a 45-year-old Fremont man charged with killing Dylan.

Sherrie Lynn Corder, the defendant’s 45-year-old wife and former co-defendant in the case, also testified earlier in the day. She is expected to be recalled by defense attorney Barbara Thomas later this week.

Ophoven told the court that she and other doctors — including those who examined Dylan in October 2004 when he was initially admitted to the hospital — saw a CT scan of his brain and noted that he was suffering from a stroke.

She said she believed this was the cause of Dylan’s death, and not blunt trauma to the head as concluded by Alameda County Medical Examiner Sharon Van Meter. Van Meter is expected to testify later during the trial.

Prosecutors contend that Terry Corder assaulted Dylan in the days before he died because the toddler would not eat food that Sherrie Corder had prepared earlier in the day.

Corder’s wife, who accepted a plea agreement in 2006, and one of his daughters have testified earlier in the trial that they saw Terry Corder hit the boy on the head with his knuckles the day before he was hospitalized. Sherrie Corder also testified at one point her husband kicked Dylan in the head as he lay on the ground.

On the stand, Ophoven told jurors that while many of the injuries did not appear to her to be serious, there was a large injury on the boy’s forehead that she was concerned about. However, she said it is unclear what caused it, how serious it was, or how old it was.

Although she could not rule that wound out as causing a stroke — strokes can be caused by trauma, she said — Ophoven said it’s impossible to tell if it contributed to the boy’s death because not enough tissue samples were collected by the pathologist.

During the initial stages of the investigation, the Corders told police that Dylan slipped in the bathtub on Oct. 2, 2004, and that he was not breathing the next morning, which prompted Sherrie Corder to call for help. Dylan died in the hospital on Oct. 4, 2004, after spending more than a day on life support.

During trial, Sherrie Corder admitted that she initially lied to police and that her husband was the one who concocted the story about the boy falling in the bathtub as an alibi for the bruises.

She also said that Terry Corder said it was a shame that the couple could not hide the boy’s body when it was discovered that he was not breathing. Terry Corder also urged his wife to take the blame for the incident, reasoning that he could care for their three biological daughters by himself, Sherrie Corder testified last week.

On Monday, Ophoven said that Van Meter’s ruling as to the cause of death could have been skewed because she knew that investigators were working the case as a suspected homicide.

Under cross examination, Deputy District Attorney Elgin Lowe asked Ophoven if she used police interviews with Sherrie Corder or her daughters while conducting her analysis of the case.

When Ophoven said she had, Lowe asked Ophoven if she had considered the statements from Sherrie Corder and her then-5-year-old daughter, the ones that implicate Terry Corder in assault.

The doctor said she did not. She reasoned that 5-year-old witnesses generally are not credible, and said that she considered Sherrie Corder’s changing story to be invalid.

“What she said doesn’t make sense,” Ophoven testified.

Foster Mother Of Missing Boy Released From Jail

 

http://www.foxreno.com/news/20606391/detail.html

Updated: 8:36 pm PDT August 31, 2009

OAKLAND, Calif. — The foster mother of missing five-year-old Hasanni Campbell was released from custody Monday after authorities determined they did not have enough evidence to charge her in his disappearance and apparent death.

Jennifer Campbell, 33, and her boyfriend, Louis Ross, 38, were both arrested Friday after Oakland investigators ruled the boy’s disappearance was a homicide.

But hours before her first scheduled court appearance, Assistant District Attorney Tom Rogers said there was “insufficient evidence” to charge her at this time. However, Ross remained in custody on suspicion of homicide charges.

Oakland attorney John Burris said he wasn’t surprised that the Alameda County District Attorney’s office wasn’t filing any charges against Campbell because he believes “there was no factual basis for her to be arrested.”

Burris said being arrested was traumatic for Campbell, who is six months pregnant, and caused her “a great deal of emotional harm.” He had visited Campbell and Ross Sunday in jail, in attempt to assist them in locating a criminal defense attorney.

Ross reported Hassani missing on August 10th from Oakland’s Rockridge area.

“We have not located his body and we do need people who know where he is,” said police spokesman Jeff Thomason, “And we don’t believe he is alive.”

Oakland police have not said what led to the arrest of the foster parents or why investigators believe the child is dead, thought they have indicated they may reveal more information in this case on Monday.

On Friday night, police spokesperson Jeff Thomason said, “This investigation [is] not a missing persons case anymore. It is a homicide investigation.”

On Friday, Jennifer Campbell, Hasanni’s aunt and foster mother, was arrested on suspicion of murder at about 1:50 p.m. at the Union City BART station, Thomason said. At about 2:45 p.m., Louis Ross was arrested on the same charge at his Fremont home. Louis did not react as he was taken into custody, according to Chief Jordan, who said that the foster father seemed to be awaiting arrest.

“We believe Hasanni Campbell is no longer alive and we have the people responsible,” Thomason said.

Hasanni, who has cerebral palsy, was last seen Aug. 10 in the Shuz of Rockridge shoe store in the 6000 block of College Avenue and his disappearance prompted a multi-agency investigation. On Aug. 20, police served multiple search warrants in connection with the case, including one at Ross’ home.

“This investigation is still ongoing and very complex,” Thomason said.

A law enforcement source told KTVU that a compelling piece of evidence is that no one ever saw the little boy in the busy Rockridge neighborhood where his foster father reported him missing 18 days ago.

The source also says that the fact that very few tips have come in point to the couple as being the only ones who really know what happened to their foster son.

“It would not surprise me in any way that the police is seeking to divide and conquer by arresting and seeing if they have something to say that they haven’t already said,” the couple’s legal advisor John Burris said on Saturday.

Man kicked 2-year-old in head, foster mom testifies

 

By Ben Aguirre Jr.

http://www.insidebayarea.com/dailyreview/localnews/ci_13218350

Oakland Tribune

HAYWARD — Sherrie Corder, the wife of a man charged with killing a 2-year-old foster child in their Fremont home in 2004, testified Thursday that her husband hit and kicked the boy, and then suggested that the couple hide his body the next morning when it was discovered that the toddler was not breathing.

“He said, ‘It’s too bad we can’t hide the body,’”‰” Sherrie Corder said as she tearfully offered her account of events that preceded the boy’s death.

Terry Corder, who has been married to Sherrie Corder for 16 years, is charged with murder and assault on a child, causing death.

The boy, named Dylan, was beaten Oct. 2, 2004, inside the Corders’ Lahana Way home in Fremont, but died two days later in a hospital, officials have said.

During the autopsy, it was determined that the boy died from blunt trauma to the head, and that he had more than 20 bruises under his scalp.

Both Sherrie and Terry Corder, each 45, were charged with the boy’s death, but Sherrie accepted a plea agreement in 2006 in exchange for her testimony. She has pleaded guilty to child endangerment and will be sentenced at the end of her husband’s trial to either four or six years in prison.

Because of the time she already has served in jail, Sherrie Corder — who is out of custody on bail — may not spend any time in prison.

She began her testimony Wednesday afternoon and returned to the stand Thursday, and will testify again Monday when the case resumes.

She told jurors that she checked on the boy throughout the night and feared he might be badly hurt, but didn’t call police “because I was scared for my girls.” Her daughters were ages 2, 5 and 7 at the time.

“I thought they’d be hurt and taken away because Terry hurt Dylan.”

All three girls — two of whom have testified during the trial — are now in foster care.

Sherrie Corder also gave details about the beating that ensued when Dylan refused to eat his food.

She said her husband, who had been drinking that day, forced Dylan to walk in circles, and hit him on the head with his knuckles several times. At one point, Terry Corder knocked the boy to the floor with a kick to his buttocks, and then delivered a kick to the toddler’s head as he was on the ground.

“It was hard enough that it moved Dylan “… a couple of inches,” his wife said when describing the force of the kick.

After the assault, she said she gave the boy a bath and then held him for a while before he fell asleep. That evening, her husband concocted an alibi for the bruises and blood on the boy’s face. He urged her to lie and say that the boy fell in the bathtub, Sherrie Corder testified.

At times during her testimony, Sherrie Corder cried, particularly when prosecutor Elgin Lowe replayed the 911 tape for the jury.

On the tape, Sherrie Corder told emergency dispatchers that the boy was not breathing, likely because he fell in the bathtub the night before.

Defense attorney Barbara Thomas started her cross-examination by focusing largely on the credibility of Sherrie Corder.

Under questioning from Thomas, Sherrie Corder said she didn’t pay taxes when she was working as a baby sitter in San Mateo County in the 1990s, and that at one time she and her husband were addicted to cocaine.

Thomas also played a videotape of the first interview Sherrie Corder had with Fremont detectives.

While the video was playing, Sherrie Corder remained on the witness stand sometimes dabbing tears from her eyes. At times, Thomas stopped the video to ask her to elaborate on certain aspects of what she was being asked on the video, also to help discern what parts of it were true or false.

Wife says husband hit, kicked child in 2004 Fremont murder case

 

http://www.insidebayarea.com/localnews/ci_13217147

By Ben Aguirre Jr.

Oakland Tribune

HAYWARD — Sherrie Corder, the wife of a man charged with killing a 2-year-old foster child in their Fremont home in 2004, testified this morning that her husband hit and kicked the boy, and then suggested that the couple hide his body the next morning when it was discovered that the toddler was not breathing.

“He said, `It’s too bad we can’t hide the body,’” Sherrie Corder said as she tearfully recounted the events that have been attributed to the boy’s death.

Terry Corder, who has been married to Sherrie Corder for 16 years, is charged with murder and assault on a child, causing death, in connection with Dylan’s death.

Dylan reportedly was beaten on Oct. 2, 2004, inside the Corders’ Lahana Way home in Fremont, but died two days later at the hospital.

During the autopsy, it was determined that the boy died from blunt trauma to the head, and that he had more than 20 bruises under his scalp.

Both Sherrie and Terry Corder, who are both 45, were charged with the boy’s death, but Sherrie has accepted a plea agreement in exchange for her testimony. She has pleaded guilty to child endangerment and will be sentenced at the end of her husband’s trial to either four or six years in prison.

Because of the time she already has served in jail, Sherrie Corder — who is out of custody on bail — may not spend any time in prison.

She began her testimony Wednesday afternoon and returned to the stand today. This morning she told jurors that she checked on the boy throughout the night and feared he might be badly hurt, but didn’t call police “because I was scared for my girls,” she said of her daughters, who were ages 7, 5 and 2 at the time. “I thought they’d be hurt and taken away because Terry hurt Dylan.”

All three girls — two of whom have testified during the trial — are now in foster care.

Sherrie Corder also gave details about the beating that ensued when Dylan refused to eat his food.

She said her husband, who had been drinking that day, forced Dylan to walk in circles, and hit him on the head with his knuckles several times. At one point, Terry Corder knocked the boy to the floor with a kick to his buttocks, and then delivered a kick to the toddler’s head as he was on the ground.

“It was hard enough that it moved Dylan … a couple of inches,” his wife said when describing the force of the kick.

After the assault, she said she gave the boy a bath and then held him for a while before he fell asleep. That evening, her husband concocted an alibi for the bruises and blood on the boy’s face. He urged her to lie and say that the boy fell in the bathtub, Sherrie Corder testified.

At times during her testimony, Sherrie Corder cried, particularly when prosecutor Elgin Lowe replayed the 9-1-1 tape for the jury.

On the tape, Sherrie Corder told emergency dispatchers that the boy was not breathing, likely because he fell in the bathtub the night before.

Defense attorney Barbara Thomas has begun her cross examination and focused largely on the credibility of Sherrie Corder.

Under questioning from Thomas, Sherrie Corder said she didn’t pay taxes when she was working as a baby sitter in San Mateo County in the 1990s, and that at one time she and her husband were addicted to cocaine.

Administration for Children’s Services under fire after Shamar Collins, 9, is struck dead by SUV

 

http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2009/08/25/2009-08-25_acs_under_fire_in_foster_death.html

 

Shamar Collins

Shamar Collins

BY Joe Jackson and John Lauinger

DAILY NEWS WRITERS

Tuesday, August 25th 2009, 4:00 AM

The Administration for Children’s Services is facing tough questions after a Brooklyn child was fatally struck by an SUV driven by a substitute foster parent while his actual foster mother was out of the country.

The vehicle that ran over Shamar Collins, 9, in Suffolk County, L.I., on Aug. 16 was driven by a woman who was caring for the boy while foster mom Maretha Yanaris visited a sick relative in Puerto Rico, advocates said, citing the story ACS told the boy’s biological mom.

Shamar’s 7-year-old brother, Lamar Collins, also a foster child, was in the car and is “traumatized” from watching his brother get run over, the boys’ biological mother, Rhonda Millington, 40, of the Bronx, said yesterday.

Both foster parents were supervised by St. Vincent’s Services in Brooklyn, the advocates said. It was unclear whether ACS or the agency signed off on the substitute arrangement.

Millington has demanded an investigation, saying she was not asked to sign a consent form giving the substitute foster mom, who was not identified, permission to travel with her boys.

“Something is not right,” she said at Shamar’s wake last night. “I am angry because they shouldn’t have had my son out there.”

Advocate Mashon Baines, 39, of the National Action Network said Millington contacted the group after ACS refused to provide her with a police report.

ACS, which is paying for Shamar’s funeral today, released a statement yesterday saying that authorities have ruled Shamar’s death an accident.

“No charges have been filed against the driver of the car,” the statement said.

jlauinger@nydailynews.com

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2009/08/25/2009-08-25_acs_under_fire_in_foster_death.html#ixzz0PJr4oTVR

Another Child In ACS’s Care Is Dead

 

http://blackstarnews.com/news/135/ARTICLE/5953/2009-08-23.html

By Donald Winkfield

[On The Spot]

A nine-year-old boy in the care of the Administration for Child Services (ACS), the New York agency, has died, The Black Star News has learned from sources.

ACS, which normally does not disclose such news, confirmed the child’s death when this columnist called the agency. “How did you find out?” a spokesperson asked.

The boy died last Sunday on Riverhead, Long Island. The Black Star News is withholding the boy’s name since he’s a minor. The Family Court entrusted the child’s care to St. Vincent’s Services for Children located in Brooklyn, New York, where he and other members of his family were removed from their home – then placed in a foster home. The child was not with the original foster parent, who was away on vacation when he died.

Both agencies involved were tight-lipped and refused to provide details, citing confidentiality issues, when asked why the boy was in foster care in the first place.

The authorities did not inform the mother of her son’s death for two days, The Black Star News has learned.

St. Vincent made it very clear ACS was answering all questions pertaining to the boy’s death. “I have been told by the Administration for Children Services that because a fatality was involved they would prefer to be the spokespersons. We basically are letting them handle the whole thing,” said Mary-Louise Morgan, spokesperson for St. Vincent’s.

It is the worst fear just about every parent has when their child is taken from their custody; that the child ends up abused, injured, or as in this case, dead.

“Everyone involved with these children has been deeply affected by this tragic accident,” ACS spokesperson Sheila Stainback, said, which is of course small comfort to the parents.

“We at NYC Children’s Services especially wish to express our sincere condolences to the families involved. Authorities have ruled the child’s death an accident and no charges have been filed against the driver of the car. We are providing crisis and bereavement counseling for the family, and we are working to ensure the safety and well-being of the surviving sibling.”

It’s only through these comments that this columnist learned that the death had apparently been caused by an automobile, which raises many other questions.

Where was the boy at the time of the death? Was he struck by a vehicle? Was he a passenger? Was he under adult supervision? On what basis was the death ruled an “accident”? Was the driver tested for alcohol level? Certainly the parents are entitled to answers to all these questions.

The Riverhead Police Department did not return my call, seeking more information about the boy’s death, before publication time.

Contact Winkfield’s press number: 646-387-8964; Email: Bsnonthespot@aol.com for his consideration regarding covering your own story or mail documents pertaining to your case to: On The Spot, Post Office Box 230149, Queens County 11423; or milton@blackstarnews.com; call (212) 481-7745.

Together we can get the justice everyone just talks about.

Murder trial for Fremont foster father set to begin in 2004 toddler slaying case

 

http://www.insidebayarea.com/news/ci_13180618

By Ben Aguirre Jr.

Oakland Tribune

HAYWARD — Opening statements are set to begin Monday in the murder trial of a Fremont foster father charged with killing a 2-year-old boy in October 2004.

Terry Howard Corder, 45, faces charges of murder and assault on a young child causing death after 2-year-old Dylan James George was beaten to death while in the care of Corder and his wife, Sherrie, who at one time also faced similar charges.

Sherrie Corder, also 45, accepted a plea agreement in 2006 and will testify against her husband. She has pleaded guilty to a charge of endangering a child and will be sentenced to four or six years in state prison.

Because of the time she already has served in jail, it is possible that she could be instantly released, prosecutors have said.

Attorneys selected a panel of jurors last week, and Deputy District Attorney Elgin Lowe said he expects to deliver his opening statement Monday in Dept. 515 at the Hayward Hall of Justice.

Terry Corder has been held at Santa Rita county jail in Dublin without bail since October 2004, when the couple was arrested days after Dylan died in a bed at Children’s Hospital Oakland.

During the preliminary examination in 2005 in Fremont, testimony revealed that Terry Corder kicked and punched Dylan several times during a drunken tirade inside the couple’s Lahana Way home.

After the incident, Dylan was given a bath and put to bed.

According to testimony, Sherrie Corder checked on Dylan

throughout the night but called police in the morning when she noticed the toddler was blue in the face and not breathing.

Initially she tried to cover up for her husband and told police that Dylan fell in the bathtub the night before.

She rescinded that statement and told authorities her husband beat Dylan, police said.

The couple ran a day care business out of their home and were foster parents for many children. They have three biological daughters, including a then-5-year-old who witnessed Dylan being beaten. The girl testified during the preliminary examination, but it’s not clear if she will testify during the trial.

Judge Sentences Foster Mom 25-to-Life in Girl’s Death

 

http://www.news10.net/news/story.aspx?storyid=65638&catid=2

C. Johnson

SACRAMENTO, CA – A foster mother convicted of second-degree murder in the October 2007 death of a toddler in her care was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison on Friday.

Tamekca Walker was sentenced in Sacramento County Superior Court for the death of 18-month-old Tamaihia Moore. The little girl was found dead in her bed on Oct. 22, 2007.

Child Protective Services had placed Moore in Walker’s care Sept. 17, 2007 after the girl’s father had been arrested.

According to court documents presented at trial, a coroner’s examination of the girl’s body had evidence of internal injuries and a diaper rash that resulted in burns and bleeding.

Walker was also a foster mother to a 2-year-old girl and a 3-month-old baby at the time of Moore’s death. She also operated a licensed daycare from her south Sacramento home.

Murdered girl’s family to press lawsuit against Sacramento County

http://www.sacbee.com/crime/story/2130270.html

By Andy Furillo

afurillo@sacbee.com

Tamaiyha Moore’s blood relatives said Friday that they’re ready to roll with their civil suit against Sacramento County now that the foster mom who murdered the 17-month-old girl has been sent to prison.

“They really need to pay close attention where they’re placing these children in the first place because … they should have known the situation they put my grandchild in,” the girl’s grandmother, Debra Oliver, said in a Friday interview.

Oliver’s comments came in the hallways of Sacramento Superior Court after Judge Greta Curtis Fall sentenced Tamaiyha’s convicted killer, Tamekca Evett Walker, 36, to prison for 25 years to life for the Oct. 22, 2007, homicide. According to her probation report, Walker silenced the constantly crying foster toddler by placing her hand over the child’s face.

Born with cocaine in her system, Tamaiyha Moore had been placed in the foster system a month before her death because her father was arrested on a charge of domestic violence and on a parole violation, according to court documents. Tamaiyha’s mother also was in jail at the time of the girl’s death, according to the privately retained attorneys representing the county.

The civil suit had been stayed until authorities finalized criminal proceedings.

Bruce G. Fagel, the Beverly Hills attorney representing Debra Oliver, Tamaiyha Moore’s father, Calvin, and his sister, Patricia, said the civil case will resume Sept. 24.

His Dec. 17, 2007, lawsuit said the county’s Child Protective Services agency “negligently, carelessly, and unskillfully, referred (Tamaiyha Moore) to foster care and certain foster parents, failed to refer (her) for appropriate medical care … and failed to protect her from harm.”

The suit said that Debra Oliver and Patricia Moore visited the girl some 15 days before the death and “observed the child to be in a dehydrated and malnourished state.”

In another visit two days before the child’s death, Debra Oliver and Patricia Moore found her condition “visibly worse,” according to their suit. They said they were told by a county employee that “we would take care of it,” the suit said.

The county denied any wrongdoing. In their answer to the suit, the county’s attorneys said the plaintiffs “failed to exercise that degree of ordinary care necessary for the protection of … their minor child’s interests” and that “said failure” contributed to the death.

“I’m not inclined to comment on the evidence, but we’re denying the family was trying to get (Tamaiyha Moore) out of (Walker’s) house – we have denied that,” said county attorney Carol A. Wieckowski.

Debra Oliver said her family “was more responsible than they thought we were” in trying to ensure the girl’s safety. She said it was “unfair” of CPS to keep the child in Tamekca Walker’s home.

Calvin Moore attended Friday’s sentencing but declined to comment on it or on his own legal situation in which he was in jail at the time of his daughter’s death.

“That shouldn’t have had anything to do with it, period,” Debra Oliver said on behalf of her son. “This was a situation CPS put their own self in.”

For her part, Tamekca Walker, a Shreveport, La., native who grew up in Richmond and has no known criminal record, issued a tearful apology to the Moore-Oliver family during Friday’s sentencing.

“I’m very remorseful and saddened,” Walker said, of the girl’s death. “Not a day goes by that I don’t think about her.”

Technically, the 25 years-to-life term resulted from Walker’s conviction for child abuse resulting in great bodily injury that led death.

In their July 20 verdicts, jurors also convicted Walker of second-degree murder, which carries a 15-to-life term. Since both convictions resulted from the same act, Fall could only sentence Walker on one of the counts.

According to her probation report, Walker had been in the foster care business about two years before CPS placed Moore in her Meadowview home.

The report said Walker told police on the day of the death that the little girl had been “restless.”

Walker told police she “put her hand over (the toddler’s) face to keep her quiet,” the report said.

“She held her hand on the victim’s face but did not know for how long,” the report said. “The victim stopped crying and then the defendant wrapped her in a blanket. She stated she tried to give the victim CPR and then put her ‘in the corner.’ “

Sacramento police investigators later developed information that Walker “expressed frustration” over caring for Tamaihya Moore “due to the amount of attention she required, which was affecting her ability to care for the other children,” the probation report said.

A coroner’s autopsy never conclusively established the girl’s cause of death, although it suggested that the fatality resulted from “asphyxiation, probably by smothering.”

State panel implicates foster care workers in South Florida 7-year-old’s suicide

 

http://www.tampabay.com/news/business/panel-says-foster-care-workers-ignored-drug-policies-for-kids/1029390

By Kris Hundley, Times Staff Writer

In Print: Friday, August 21, 2009

Foster care workers at all levels routinely ignored policies designed to protect children in their care from being given psychotropic drugs without proper consent or monitoring.

That was the conclusion of a panel looking into the April suicide of Gabriel Myers, a 7-year-old foster child who killed himself in Margate, South Florida, while taking two psychotropic medications.

The 26-page report, released Thursday, highlighted a lack of communication, inadequate supervision and inaccurate information in the Department of Children and Families’ handling of Myers’ case. About 15 percent of foster children in out of home care are on at least one psychotropic medication.

DCF Secretary George Sheldon said he looks forward to hearing the work group’s recommendations. Among the options: a second-party review of all foster children on psychotropic drugs regardless of the diagnosis.

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