Here was the story that begged to be checked out:
Police: Child Dies After Being Left In Van
By Jason StevensSeptember 04 2008 |
Authorities are investigating the death of a baby who died in a hot minivan in Jackson county, after police say the child was left in the vehicle by her foster mother.
According to investigators, 29-year-old, Wendy Osborne, returned home yesterday around 2:00 pm, went inside with two 3-year-old adopted girls and fell asleep.
About two and a half hours later, police say Osborne realized she had left the baby inside the mini-van and found the child unresponsive.
Right now, there’s no word if any charges will be filed.
So I did a little digging. I found this story in the Atlanta Journal Constitution. There were two other teenagers that have been removed from the home pending investigation.
9-month old dies in hot minivan
Foster mother said she had taken prescription medication, forgot baby was in vehicle
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
A 9-month-old girl died Tuesday after her foster mother said she forgot the infant inside a hot minivan for more than two hours, officials said.
Jackson County sheriff’s deputies are still investigating Wendy Osborne’s account. The 29-year-old Nicholson woman told Jackson County Sheriff deputies that she came home from a doctor’s appointment about 2:30 p.m., unloaded her two adopted girls but forgot about the baby in the car seat.
Osborne, a foster parent for five years, said she took a nap, waking around 5 p.m. Maj. David Cochran of the sheriff’s department said at that point she remembered the baby in the minivan.
State Child Advocate Tom Rawlings identified the girl as Jessica Marie Scovil. The infant, who had lived with Osborne for five months, was pronounced dead by emergency personnel called to the scene, Cochran said.
Osborne told deputies she had been sick for several days and was prescribed medication for strep throat, which may have contributed to her drowsiness. A toxicology report has been ordered, and charges could be filed.
Two other foster children who had been living with Osborne were removed from the home, Cochran said.
The state Division of Family and Children Services, which oversees the foster care system, is also investigating the death, said spokeswoman Dena Smith. She said there had been no indications of problems with Osborne as foster mother.
Rawlings said if Osborne’s version is correct, he would tend to oppose criminal charges.
“I usually look at these kinds of situations as there but for the grace of God go I,” he said.
The Georgia State Division of Family and Children Services has quite a reputation for not following up on the children in their care. Earlier this year this department failed to protect another child. I really wonder if things have really improved. It sadly doesn't seem like it has. Adoptive parents and foster parents are held to a higher standard for a reason. These children have been failed by their natural parents and now they have been failed by the system. It was up to these folks to do it right. We as a country must do better. We as a society must do it better. These children should have been our future. God I hope we can make changes soon. This story is heart breaking.
EDITED TO ADD UPDATE:
Here is the link.
A 9-month-old girl died Tuesday when her foster mother left her in a closed minivan for more than two hours.
Jackson County sheriff’s officials confirmed today that the baby died of heat stroke. Investigators at the Georgia Bureau of Investigations Crime Lab in Decatur performed an autopsy on the child Wednesday and released an official cause of death this morning, said chief deputy David Cochran.
Sheriff’s investigators still are waiting for toxicology results before they decide whether to charge the girl’s foster mother, 29-year-old Wendy Osborne of Nicholson.
A custody hearing was scheduled this month for the girl’s birth mother to try to reclaim her child, said Crandall Heard, the attorney representing the girl’s mother.
“There was a hearing set up in the next few weeks to see if this child could go back home, but obviously that will be too late,” Heard said Wednesday.
Jackson County sheriff’s deputies and emergency medical personnel responded to a 911 call made from a home on Georgia Highway 334 near Nicholson about 5 p.m. Tuesday and found the child unresponsive, Cochran said.
Osborne told sheriff’s investigators that she came home from a doctor’s appointment shortly before 3 p.m., unloaded two adopted 3-year-old girls from the van and went inside.
Once inside, Osborne lay down for a nap while the other two older children played, and she forgot about the baby in the car, Cochran said.
She woke up about 5 p.m. and immediately rushed out to find the girl unresponsive in her car seat.
Osborne’s doctor had prescribed medication that may have contributed to her disorientation and drowsiness, Cochran said. She was sick for several days before she went to the doctor, he added.
The temperature in the Athens area reached a high of about 86 degrees shortly before 4 p.m. Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.
The 9-month-old had no known medical problems, Cochran said.
Authorities informed the baby’s birth mother of her death Wednesday, but have not released the name of the child or her mother. Heard would not identify his client until she gives permission for him to release her name.
The girl was one of three foster children and two adopted children living with the family, Cochran said.
Osborne and her husband have been foster parents for more than five years, and have taken care of many foster children during that time, Cochran said.
The family’s other two foster children, both girls in their teens, will be removed from the home while authorities conduct a criminal investigation and a separate Department of Family and Children Services investigation, said Dena Smith, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Human Resources.
“Our investigations are meant to find out what the situation is and how it happened, and then we can move in a lot of different directions depending on what we find there,” Smith said.