Fatality Review Abuse in Foster Care

Child Fatality Review #05-25
Region 1
Spokane Office
Case Overview
This seven-year-old Caucasian male died in the home of his adoptive mother on January 13,
2005 due to “severe dehydration” as reported by the medical examiner. He weighed 28 pounds,
significantly below the fifth percentile for children his age at the time of his death.
The decedent was born on January 13, 1998. He was placed in foster care on April 5, 1998 due
to concerns of neglect by his biological mother. His biological father is a registered sex
offender. Although the department had concerns about the decedent’s biological mother’s drug
use, the decedent’s birth records indicate that he did not have drugs in his system at birth. He
was placed in his adoptive mother’s home on May 29, 1998, after a brief stay in another foster
home.
The decedent’s medical records indicate that he weighed 16 pounds on July 7, 1998, in the 50th
percentile for children his age. His biological mother relinquished her parental rights on
December 3, 1998. She agreed to an open adoption with his adoptive mother. He was adopted
on April 10, 2000.
Children’s Administration Division of Licensed Resources Child Abuse and Neglect Section
(DLR/CPS) investigated the circumstances surrounding the decedent’s death in conjunction with
Stevens County Sheriff’s office.
In the eleven months since the decedent’s death, there have been six new referrals alleging
physical abuse, negligent or maltreatment of other children who were placed in the adoptive
home prior to the decedent’s death. Several of the decedent’s adopted and foster siblings have
reported that the adoptive mother and her daughter physically abused them and withheld food
and water from them. These referrals were generated both by Department of Social and Health
Services (DSHS) staff and providers upon learning of new allegations of abuse and neglect in the
course of the investigation following the decedent’s death.
For a copy of the full report and case history please review the fatality report at:
http://www1.dshs.wa.gov/pdf/MR/DELEON-ECFR-Feb-2006.pdf

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