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Tag Archives: Nebraska CPS

Vega Sentenced in 2006 Saunsoci Death

 

http://www.kpth.com/Global/story.asp?S=10988880&nav=menu622_2_2

(DAKOTA CITY, NE) Tisha Vega will spend two years behind bars in connection with the 2006 death of Nathanial Saunsoci. Last month Vega accepted a deal, pleading guilty to two counts of child abuse. Tuesday she received two consecutive one-year terms for the charges. Despite the ruling, Nathanial’s family still want answers and closure.

“Justice in this case is still a long way off.”

It’s been almost three years since 20-month-old Nathanial Saunsoci died in September 2006.

“There’s not a day that doesn’t go by that we remember Nathanial with tears in our eyes,” says Eleanor Saunsoci-Baxter, Nathanial’s great grandmother.

“His little spirit is still here,” says Mary Saunsoci, Nathanial’s great aunt.

Tisha Vega will now spend two years behind bars after pleading guilty to lesser charges in the case.

“It was a slap on the hand,” says Saunsoci-Baxter. “When they say children are sacred, I believe that. And today it was not so.”

Since Vega did not plead to charges involving Nathanial’s death, the case is still open.

“We are still seeking information regarding Nathanial’s death. Someone knows what happened to this child. We need that person to come forward,” says Kim Watson, Dakota County Attorney.

Nathanial’s family believes Vega did not get what she deserves.

“Her sentence is going to come when she does meet her Creator and it won’t be til that day,” says Saunsoci.

Native American child advocate Frank Lamere says the community must learn from this loss.

“We must take away from this tragedy a knowledge that we must see the red flags that are evident in foster care and adoptive when our children show up beaten and broken like Nathanial,” says Frank Lamere, Native American child advocate.

Nathanial’s family wants closure and they will keep fighting until they get it.

“It’s not over. There has to be more to this. We want justice to be served,” says Saunsoci-Baxter.

Vega will serve her time at the Nebraska Correctional Center for Women in York.

But this isn’t the end of her legal troubles in the state. Vega appeared in Colfax County Tuesday for a plea hearing in connection with DUI, 3rd-degree assault, and willful reckless driving charges from June. That hearing was continued until September 15th.

On that same day, Vega and her husband Carlos will also be in court for attempted murder charges from a July incident in Schuyler, Nebraska.

Reported by Erika Thomas. You can contact her at ethomas@kmeg.com.

Prosecutor: Opportunities Missed To Save Boy’s Life

 

Lancaster County Attorney Says Michael Belitz’s Case Fell Through Cracks

 

http://www.ketv.com/news/20545713/detail.html#

OMAHA, Neb. — A Lincoln prosecutor who investigated child deaths said Nebraska Health and Human Services missed opportunities to save an Omaha boy’s life.

Two months ago, Omaha police found Michael Belitz, 12, dead in the bathtub of his home. His mother, Angela Manns, is charged with first-degree murder in the case.

KETV NewsWatch 7 filed a Freedom of Information Act request to compel the state to release two critical incident reports. Those documents showed Manns called HHS twice in the months before the crime. In both cases she didn’t get the help she needed.

Lancaster County Attorney Gary Lacey was appointed by former Gov. Mike Johanns to investigate 30 child deaths in the state. Lacey said the state failed to protect Michael Belitz.  (So Mr. Prosecutor, are you going to press charges against them?)

“Yeah, he fell through the cracks. He wouldn’t be dead if he didn’t fall through the cracks,” Lacey said. “There’s no question to me, in this case, something immediate should have happened.”

The incident reports obtained from the state showed Manns left a voicemail message on March 27 requesting that her son be put in foster care. She called again less than a week later.

In both cases, HHS workers returned her calls and Manns was told to call the child abuse hotline. The documents indicate the process stopped there.

In a second critical incident report NewsWatch 7 learned Manns had a history with HHS. The report indicated Manns slapped her daughter in 1999, but police officers found no evidence of abuse.

In February, 2007, the critical incident said somebody reported Manns was drinking and being physically and verbally abusive. HHS said those allegations were unfounded. Later that year, Mann’s oldest daughter became guardian for her 15-year-old sister after mother kicked the girl out of the house.

Monday night, an HHS spokeswoman said the department received a series of e-mails from Michael’s older sister indicating she was worried about his well being. The spokeswoman indicated social workers were limited on what they could do for Michael since he wasn’t a ward of the state.

“It’s a red flag to do something because you’ve got a history, and there’s nothing more reflective of conduct than history,” Lacey said.

Kerry Winterer was recently appointed as the new head of HHS. He said a new department policy will make sure parents are connected with experts. He said that policy that policy will send a social worker or police to the home when they get calls from people like Angela Manns.

“All we’re trying to do is be more proactive,” Winterer said.

Previous Stories:

•July 17, 2009: Grim Details Revealed In Belitz Slaying

•July 16, 2009: HHS: No Evidence Of Abuse During 2007 Check

•July 16, 2009: Mother Charged With Murder In Son’s Death

•July 13, 2009: UPDATE: Body Found In House, Woman Booked For Murder

Tisha Vega sentenced for child abuse

 

http://www.ktiv.com/Global/story.asp?S=10987097

SOUTH SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) – Tisha Vega has been sentenced to a total of two years in prison and $2,000 in fines in connection with the death of a foster child in her care.

In Dakota County District Court Tuesday morning, the former South Sioux City woman was sentenced to one year prison terms on each of the two counts of child abuse in the death of 20-month-old Nathaniel Sauncosi.

The prison terms are to be served consecutively.

Vega had originally been charged with manslaughter, but pleaded guilty to the reduced charges earlier this summer.

Authorities say Sauncosi died of severe head trauma while living in the home of Tisha and Carlos Vega and their nine other children in 2006.

Tisha Vega was arrested in Pennsylvania in March.

Vega is now being transported to Colfax County Court, where this afternoon she will attend a preliminary hearing on a charge of attempted murder.

She and her husband are accused of severely beating a man in his Schuyler, Nebraska home.

I cannot believe that this woman only got two years for the death of this foster child, this is an outrage!  Trisa Vega by all accounts killed this child and she is basically getting a slap on the wrist for doing it.

This woman is apparently a violent repeat offender and the Judge in this case had to be aware of the charges she is facing in Colfax County Court for attempted murder.

I say shame on the Prosecutor who reduced the charges, just because she plead guilty does not excuse the death of this child…and shame on the Judge who allowed such a slight sentence for this child’s death.

 

ARREST MADE FOR DEATH OF A SIOUXLAND CHILD

SCHUYLER WOMAN ARRESTED FOR ASSAULTING NEIGHBOR

HHS Changes Procedures In Wake Of Belitz Death

 

Agency Says Calls Will Be Aggressively Checked

 

http://www.ketv.com/news/20497872/detail.html

LINCOLN, Neb. — The state department of Health and Human Services acknowledged Friday that it could do a better job responding to incoming information about child abuse and neglect.

The acknowledgment followed concerns that the department didn’t respond aggressively enough before the death of 12-year-old Michael Belitz. Belitz was found dead in his mother’s house. The mother, Angela Manns, now faces murder charges.

HHS said Manns called the agency in March and left a message in which she sought information about foster care programs. The agency said a caseworker called back and left a message but didn’t hear back from Manns.

CEO Kerry Winterer said the agency will review its procedures to make sure they work as intended to respond to concerns about a child’s safety.

“We need to make sure that all appropriate calls get to the hot line,” Winterer said in a statement.

Winterer said the hot line received 29,269 calls in 2008. Just more than 24,000 were calls reporting possible child abuse. Winterer said trained staff found that 13,460, or 56 percent, were accepted for further investigation.

Winterer said the new process will ensure a better transfer from the hot line to trained workers who will assess the risk. The caseworker will stay on the line to make sure the transfer is complete, Winterer said.

If a caseworker receives a written or voice mail message, the information will be noted on an electronic form that will go directly to hot line staff, Winterer said.

If the state can’t contact the person by phone, Winterer said investigators will make certain that an in-person welfare check can be made, including getting help from police, if necessary.

Previous Stories:

•August 7, 2009: Mourners Attend Funeral For Slain 12-Year-Old

•July 27, 2009: Angela Manns Undergoes Psychiatric Evaluation

•July 17, 2009: Angela Manns Asked About Foster Care, Agency Says

•July 16, 2009: HHS: No Evidence Of Abuse During 2007 Check

 

Changes follow 12-year-old’s death

 

http://www.omaha.com/article/20090821/NEWS01/908219989

By Bob Glissmann

WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITER

Concerns about a child’s safety and well-being should receive more timely and skilled follow-up under a new process put in place by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.

The change comes after a review of what happened in the case of Michael Belitz, the 12-year-old Omaha boy whose decomposed body was found July 12 in the bathtub of his mother’s house. Michael’s mother, Angela Manns, has been charged in his death.

On March 27, Manns left a voice mail message for a Health and Human Services caseworker, inquiring about placing Michael in foster care. HHS officials say the caseworker tried to return the call, but voice mail wasn’t available. Manns made a second call on April 8 and left another voice mail message. The worker called back and left a message instructing Manns to contact the HHS hot line.

Manns never called, and the caseworker never checked back.

Under HHS’ new process, if people call child welfare caseworkers with concerns, they will be transferred to the child abuse and neglect hot line to talk with specialized workers trained to ask questions and assess the child’s safety and risk, HHS announced Friday. The caseworker will stay on the line to make sure the transfer is complete.

If a caseworker receives a written or voice mail message stating concern, the information will be documented on an electronic “alert to hot line” form that is now part of the department’s e-mail system and will go directly to hot line staff.

The hot line’s specialized workers will contact the caller for additional information. If repeated telephone calls don’t result in contact, a department caseworker or law enforcement officer will be asked to do a child welfare check and make personal contact with the child and family.

“Our review showed we could do a better job of getting some kinds of information to the child abuse and neglect hot line,” said Kerry Winterer, the CEO of the department. “Our specialized intake workers are skilled in gathering information so a thorough assessment can be made, and that drives our response. We need to make sure that all appropriate calls get to the hot line.”

The child abuse and neglect hot line phone number is (800) 652-1999.

Visibly-Shaken Judge Hands Down Child Abuse Sentence

 

Joleet Poole Gets 22-24 Years In Prison

 

http://www.ketv.com/news/20116749/detail.html

POSTED: 11:00 am CDT July 20, 2009

UPDATED: 5:53 pm CDT July 20, 2009

OMAHA, Neb. — A man convicted of killing a 1-year-old boy whom he had interest in adopting was sentenced to 22 to 24 years in prison.

In court Monday, a visibly disturbed judge called the death “exceedingly tragic.”

Investigators said Joleet Poole killed Davion Winrow one week after Health and Human Services put the child in Poole’s care.

Investigators said the boy was slammed to the floor. Winrow suffered a massive skull fracture and died, officially, from blunt force trauma to the head.

The boy, who lived with foster parents, had gone to live with Poole shortly before his death. Winrow had been born addicted to cocaine and was a ward of the state.

Poole sought to adopt the boy and then won custody.

HHS officials cited state laws to avoid explaining why the agency allowed Poole, who had a history of violent behavior and no parental experience, to win custody of the boy.

Douglas County District Judge Mark Ashford said Monday he was not able to understand that decision.

Previous Stories:

•October 5, 2007: Bond Set At $500K In Baby’s Death

•October 5, 2007: Prosecutor Questions Why Man Allowed To Seek Adoption

•October 3, 2007: Charges Filed In Baby’s Death

•October 2, 2007: Autopsy Shows Child Had Traumatic Head Injury

•September 28, 2007: Child Who Died Had Cocaine In System At Birth, Records Show

HHS boss: Boy’s death ‘tragic’

 

http://www.omaha.com/article/20090717/NEWS01/707179865

By Juan Perez Jr. and Todd Cooper

WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITERs

The new leader of the state’s Health and Human Services Department called the death of 12-year-old Michael Belitz a “tragedy” and said officials still are investigating whether the department received warnings that the boy was at risk.

“We have gathered preliminary information from our records and will continue to review case files for additional information,” Kerry Winterer, the department’s chief executive, said in a statement today.

“While we are making every effort to be open, we want the information to be as thorough and accurate as possible.”

The department is reviewing its procedures, Winterer said, “to make sure they are working as intended to respond to concerns about a child’s safety and well-being.”

Earlier this year, Angela Manns left two messages for a state caseworker, Winterer said. The 46-year-old mother of four wanted to know what options she had to place her son in foster care.

Manns said she was experiencing stress in her life, officials said.

Officials said Manns didn’t give enough details in March to warrant a formal report, so the caseworker returned the calls, leaving one message that suggested Manns should contact the state’s hot line for foster care services and provide more information.

The caseworker never followed up. Manns never called the hot line. And authorities found Michael’s decomposed body Sunday in his mother’s bathtub.

Caseworkers are supposed to gather any relevant information they receive about allegations of abuse or related concerns, then forward them to hot line staff for a formal report and further assessment, according to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.

Hot line staffers then analyze the information to determine how quickly they need to respond.

Michael’s two half sisters said this week they had voiced concerns about his environment to caseworkers on several occasions but never received a substantive response.

Manns, they said, was a short-tempered alcoholic who exhibited erratic behavior, though they said Michael never showed outward signs of physical abuse.

“I think (caseworkers) thought it wasn’t warranted enough,” said Michael’s half sister Carrie. “We didn’t know enough about what was going on for them to really check.”

Carrie said she started e-mailing her concerns about Michael to a caseworker in November 2008.

HHS officials said today that they couldn’t comment on concerns that Carrie said she provided or what action might have been taken in response because such information is confidential.

Winterer said the department’s child abuse and neglect hot line received a call about Michael more than two years ago — on Feb. 9, 2007 — but a subsequent investigation concluded the allegations were unfounded.

Caseworkers eventually spoke to Michael and his teenage half sister after that call, officials said. Michael reported no abuse and said he was happy at his mother’s home.

There were no other allegations of abuse or neglect recorded by the department after the 2007 hot line call, save for a report that was issued Monday when Michael was missing and presumed dead.

Manns was held without bail after her initial court appearance on Thursday afternoon. Her preliminary hearing was scheduled for Aug. 12.

Michael’s father, Leonard Belitz, quietly watched the proceedings from the back of the courtroom with Michael’s aunt.

“If I had any inkling that she would’ve gone this far with anything, I would’ve done something,” Belitz said. “The system can only do so much.

“If Michael said he was fine, what else can you do or say?”

Manns lied to police after her arrest, telling investigators that her son was in Tennessee, prosecutors said. Authorities allege that Manns actually bound Michael with duct tape, killed him and left his body in the bathtub of her north Omaha home.

Investigators also found a short-handled hatchet, a knife, goggles and two buckets with plastic liners. However, it did not appear that the body had been dismembered, said Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine.

Michael’s body was so decomposed, Kleine said, that coroner’s physicians may never know what caused his death. Experts determined that Michael had been dead at least two weeks.

Short of an explanation from his killer, Kleine said, investigators may never know how Michael died or how long it took. But Kleine said that will not inhibit the state’s prosecution.

“Just because the body is in a state of decomposition doesn’t mean we can’t still tell it’s a homicide,” Kleine said.

Kleine pointed out that prosecutors didn’t have an exact cause of death in the 2006 murder of Jessica O’Grady. A jury convicted Christopher Edwards of second-degree murder in that case, though O’Grady’s body has never been found.

Authorities also didn’t have a cause of death in the 1999 killing of 3-year-old Adam Gomez, Kleine said. Despite that, Raymond Mata Jr. sits on death row after he was convicted of dismembering Adam and feeding him to his dog.

In Michael’s case, Kleine said the body’s decomposition precluded some of the typical conclusions coroners reach, such as whether the victim had been beaten, choked or drowned.

While they wait for authorities to finish their investigation and return Michael’s body, all family members could do was gather in a relative’s living room and arrange his funeral.

Leonard Belitz sat on the couch, again next to his sister.

“I could never imagine having a son that would equal what he was,” he said.

Michael was the second child Belitz has lost through tragic circumstances. His 9-year-old daughter, Lisa, died in 1984 after a faulty furnace pipe poisoned the family’s Bellevue home with carbon monoxide. Belitz was 29; he nearly died with her.

“She was my baby girl,” Belitz said. But he said, “This is hideous.”

World-Herald staff writer Leslie Reed contributed to this report.

Grim Details Revealed In Belitz Slaying

 

Prosecutors Say Boy’s Mom Got Caught Disposing Of Body

 

http://www.ketv.com/news/20082041/detail.html

 

 

OMAHA, Neb.–Details of murder charges against Angela Manns in the death of her son, Michael Belitz, 12, were revealed during Manns’ court appearance on Thursday.

“There was a hatchet, a boning knife and goggles on the counter,” said Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine. “Circumstantial evidence tells us there was premeditation in this case.”

He said Manns got caught while she was in the middle of getting rid of her son’s body. He said that when officers found Belitz in her house, he was in a bathtub with duct tape holding his legs and wrists together. Cat litter was covering his decomposing body to help cover the smell.

Kleine said police believe Belitz had been there for up to two weeks.

“I don’t know how anybody can do that to their own children,” said Michael’s father, Lenny Belitz.

He said Manns would drink herself into fits of rage.

“She lost it and she was probably drunk or something,” he said.

A Community Mourns

As a memorial set up near the house where Belitz’s decomposing body was found on Monday continues to grow, even small children are working to pay respects. A 5-year-old named Persia placed a plush duck at the memorial.

“That’s one of her favorite stuffed animals,” said Persia’s uncle, Michael Johnson. “She said, ‘I’m going to miss it,’ but she still wanted to put it down. She just knows that something bad happened to the little boy.”

Belitz just finished sixth grade at Minne Lusa Elementary School. Grief counselors were scheduled to be at the school on Friday to help children cope.

A community candlelight vigil is also planned for 6 p.m. at the school.

How Could This Happen?

Experts said it was an improbable case in which everyone from neighbors to the child welfare system were found lacking.

 “Red flags were all over the place,” said Peg Harriott of the Child Saving Institute.

State officials confirmed that Manns called a child abuse and neglect hot line.

Kleine said that Manns was afraid that something bad would happen to her or her son if she didn’t get help. He said there was no record of abuse, neglect or concern over Michael’s safety.

Harriott said the state was only one of several entities that could have spotted something wrong.

“There’s so much positive going on where systems are working closely together, specifically for domestic violence and child abuse, that it just saddens my heart to know that this family didn’t get what they needed,” Harriott said.

In Lincoln, officials with the Health and Human Services Department declined to go on camera to discuss the case. In a statement, it said, “As a result of this incident, we’ll review our processes to make sure they are working as intended to respond to concerns about a child’s safety and well-being.”

Harriott said the case should give the entire community pause.

“It’s our responsibility to figure out what happened here and how this does not happen to another child,” she said.

She said that she wasn’t sure whether the old Safe Haven Law might have helped in Manns’ situation with her son.

State Sen. Gwen Howard said she’d recently asked the new HHS director to put a priority on seniority and experience in case manager positions. She said that’s helpful in dealing with cases like Manns’.

Help Is Available

Agencies are available for any family in need of help. The Boys Town National Hotline can take calls at 800-448-3000. Families can also call the Child Saving Institute at 866-400-4CSI or Heartland Family Services at 800-523-3666.Copyright 2009 by KETV.com. 

 

Update: Mother Denied Bond in Son’s Murder

 

http://www.wowt.com/news/headlines/50957632.html

 

Posted: 1:30 PM Jul 16, 2009

Last Updated: 1:30 PM Jul 16, 2009

Reporter: WOWT

Email Address: sixonline@wowt.com

A Douglas County judge has denied bond for Angela Manns. She is charged with first degree murder in her 12-year-old son’s death.

Michael Belitz was found dead inside their home near 28th and Ida Sunday. Police made the discovery after being called to the home by neighbors due to odors. Police say they saw Manns drive by. They followed her and arrested her some distance away from the home.

The Douglas County Attorney says the body was found in the bath tub. The boy’s wrists and ankles were bound with duct tape.

Don Kleine says the boy had been dead at least two weeks. “It appeared that there were attempts to mask or hide the odor. There was quite a bit of kitty litter that was placed over the body and then bags covering the body,” Kleine said.

“There were also bags, garbage bags that were placed in five gallon buckets in that area of the bathroom and there were tools there that appear to be those that might be used at some point in time to dispose of the remains.”

Those tools, Kleine said, also included a hatchet, a knife and goggles on the bathroom counter.

At this point, Kleine says, he has no reason to believe anyone else was involved in Belitz’s death.

Those close to Belitz tell investigators he and his mother had argued in mid-June. He allegedly wanted to got to a College World Series game, but his mother refused to let him. Kleine says this is the most recent tiff his office knows about between the two, but whether it sparked the violence is unclear.

Due to the state of decomposition, the cause of death has still not been determined.

Channel 6 News has learned his older sister and possibly his mother, Angela Manns, made calls to child protective services concerning Belitz’s welfare.

 

Neb. agency say suspect asked about foster care

 

http://www.kcautv.com/Global/story.asp?S=10744863&nav=1kgl

Associated Press – July 17, 2009 2:55 PM ET

Corrected Version

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – An Omaha woman charged in the homicide of her 12-year-old son had called a caseworker in March to ask about placing the boy in foster care.

An official with the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services on Friday confirmed the call placed by 46-year-old Angela Manns. Manns was arraigned Thursday in Douglas County Court on a first-degree murder charge in the death of 12-year-old Michael Belitz.

Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine says investigators found the boy’s body in a bathtub with his wrists and legs bound together with duct tape.

Health and Human Services says Manns left a message at the end of March asking about foster care and other options. The agency says the caseworker called back and left a message but didn’t hear back from Manns.

 

 

Palo Alto kids will be returned to Santa Clara County; may not go home

 

http://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_12788097

By Patrick May

pmay@mercurynews.com

Posted: 07/08/2009 05:23:40 PM PDT

Updated: 07/09/2009 09:53:19 AM PDT

Two Palo Alto children taken from their parents last month and put in a foster home after a family fight near Omaha will be returning to the Bay Area after Nebraska authorities agreed Wednesday to turn over the case to child-welfare officials in Santa Clara County.

The parents — Stanford University physicist Suwen Wang and his wife, paralegal Charlotte Fu — still face misdemeanor criminal charges in Nebraska for allegedly striking their 13-year-old son in the face during an altercation, said their attorney, Michael Nelson. Both deny hitting the boy and will plead not guilty to charges of assault, child abuse and disturbing the peace, said Nelson.

The boy and his sister, 12-year-old Alice Fuzi Wang, should be back in their home county in a matter of days following a judge’s approval of the multiagency agreement at a Wednesday court hearing in Nebraska. Where they’ll go after that, however, is still up in the air.

“They’re residents here so we want them back,” said Carol Robinson, Santa Clara County’s lead deputy county counsel for the child dependency unit. After a social worker completes an investigation, she said, the children could be placed in one of several places.

“Obviously our first choice is to return them home to their parents,” said Robinson. “If we can’t do that, then our second choice is a relative or what we call a nonrelative extended family member. Based on news accounts, I think this family has a lot of strong friends and they’d absolutely be considered for that under our rules.”

Neither parent would comment on the case. Sharon Silverman, a longtime family friend who lives in Kensington and once worked as an attorney with Fu, said the family was emotionally drained but thrilled to be getting their children back after being separated since the incident on June 6 in Plattsmouth, Neb.

“This has been an exhausting situation for them,” said Silverman, one of about 10 friends who traveled from the Bay Area to support the family during Wednesday’s court hearing.

“They’re very, very happy. It’s the very best outcome for this. They’re coming back to California which is where they belong.”

Wang and Fu had taken their family to Omaha because their daughter was being honored in a United Nations-sponsored international art exhibit. During a short road trip, they pulled over to the side of the road and an altercation broke out. According to police, a witness saw Fu get out of the car and punch her son in the face several times.

Nelson said the boy had been “needling his sister, and they pulled over to discipline him.” The father then struck the boy in the face, a witness told police.

According to Nelson and accounts in the Omaha World-Herald, the responding officer said Fu had blood on her face from a cut on her nose and that the children appeared to be upset. The parents were arrested and spent two nights in jail before being released on bond. (but the 13 year old didn’t have any marks…weird, if indeed mom “punched” him 4 or 5 times in the face and dad “puched” him once, you would expect the 13 year old to have marks on him…not the mom!)

Wang and Fu are still hoping their daughter can travel next month to South Korea as part of the international art contest that first brought her to Omaha. It’s unclear whether Santa Clara County child-welfare officials will allow the family to travel out of the country.

In an interview earlier this week with the Omaha World-Herald, Fu called Alice “the ultimate victim” in this case and said that traveling to South Korea “would be a lifetime opportunity for her. It would be devastating for her to not go.”

Neither the county attorney handling the criminal matter in Nebraska nor officials with that state’s Department of Health and Human Services returned calls seeking comment.

Patrick May may also be reached at 408-920-5689.

Arrest Made For Death Of A Siouxland Child

http://www.kcautv.com/Global/story.asp?S=10057422&nav=1kgl

Posted: March 23, 2009 07:12 PM EDT
Updated: March 23, 2009 07:12 PM EDT

Nearly three years after a Siouxland toddler died from head trauma, his foster mother has been arrested in connection with his death.

For some, justice may have been served, but it still won’t bring back a life that was taken too short.

20 month old Nathanial Saunsoci died of blunt force trauma to the head, in September of 2006.

At the time he was under the care of Carlos and Tisha Vega, at their home in South Sioux City, Nebraska.

After public and media tips to the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office, Saunsoci’s former foster-mom, 35 year-old Tisha Vega, was found in Pennsylvania and arrested for manslaughter.

The arrest was long awaited news for the Native American Community.

But in addition to relief, the long wait created frustration.

Vega is currently being held at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility in Pennsylvania.

Local authorities are waiting for an extradition decision, to bring her back.

Vega did go before a Pennsylvania judge today, and was denied bond.

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