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Foster Mom Kills Baby
January 27, 2006 permalink
A grandmother wrote to tell us of the death of her grandson at the hands of his foster mother Tember Rector. A collection of articles on the case is enclosed.
Foster Mother Accused Of Abusing Children
Timmy Dodge's Parents Say Signs Of Abuse Clearly Evident
A former foster mother was arrested over the holiday weekend, accused of child abuse.
Tember Rector faces felony charges for seriously injuring two children while in her care, including inflicting a severe head injury on a 2-year-old boy who was rushed unconscious to Children's Hospital three weeks after he was placed in her custody.
That boy's biological parents said there were signs of abuse long before their son's injuries were evident.
Tim Dodge and Misty Anderson had feared the worse when their son, Timmy Dodge Jr., was taken to the hospital Feb. 2. Doctors removed part of Timmy's skull to protect his swelling brain. They had worried that he might not ever speak or walk again but after the surgery, Timmy recovered quickly, with a swollen eye and stitches as visible remnants of his brain surgery.
"Until he gets into school, we are not going to know the full extent of the abuse, the damage," Dodge told 7NEWS.
Rector had told police Timmy fell from the bed and hit his head on her nightstand. But in Rector's arrest affidavit, released on Monday, doctors said that "aside from falling out of a two-story window, (Timmy) Dodge could not have caused this injury to himself."
In January, social services removed both Timmy and his younger sister, Serenity, from Dodge and Anderson's home after a judge ruled them to be unfit parents. Social workers had described their home as filthy and the couple were suspected methamphetamine users.
The children were placed in Rector's care in Castle Rock.
Anderson said she saw signs of abuse and feared for her children's safety after learning that five complaints had been filed against Rector before Timmy and Serenity were even placed in the home. All of those claims were unfounded, according to Douglas County Human Services.
But after a nine-month investigation Castle Rock police found otherwise, charging Rector with a second count of child abuse for allegedly injuring a 7-year-old girl. That girl broke her wrist in summer 2003 and told authorities that she was pushed down the stairs when she came home and her clothes were dirty.
For Timmy and Serenity's parents, they just hope soon their children will be home with them.
"You tend to get hopeless sometimes, but these are our kids and we are not giving up," Dodge said.
The state conducted an investigation into Maple Star, the agency that certified Rector as a foster parent. It cleared the agency of any wrongdoing.
For Dodge and Anderson, they're fighting for custody of their kids and hope that justice will be found through the courts when it comes to their son's abuse. The children have been placed in another foster home.
Foster mom found guilty of abusing 2-year-old boy
A Douglas County jury Thursday took one day to convict a Castle Rock foster mother of recklessly abusing her 2-year-old foster son, who suffered massive brain and head injuries nearly two years ago.
Tember Rector, 44, was found not guilty of a second count of child abuse involving a 7-year-old girl who broke her wrist seven months before the boy was injured.
Under the sentencing guidelines for child abuse, Rector faces a minimum prison sentence of 10 years and a maximum of 32 years, which will be determined by Douglas County District Judge Paul King on April 7. Rector remains free until sentencing but must post $50,000 bail by Monday. Her attorney, Joe Pickard, said they are considering an appeal.
"I believe the verdict was fair considering the evidence," said Deputy District Attorney Darren Vahle. "The doctors at Children's Hospital (who treated the boy and testified at the trial) were very persuasive. This did not happen the way she said it happened."
The six-day trial was based on circumstantial evidence because no one witnessed how the boy, Timothy Dodge Jr., was injured the evening of Feb. 2, 2004.
Vahle claimed Rector lost her temper and caused Timmy's injuries. But Rector testified that Timmy hurt himself when he fell into a nightstand while jumping on her bed. Emergency personnel airlifted the boy to Children's Hospital, where doctors cut one-third of his skull away to relieve pressure on his brain from swelling and bleeding.
Dr. Andrew Sirotnak, an expert on child abuse at Children's, testified that the boy's brain injuries were consistent with extreme force trauma, such as severe child abuse or falling from a high building.
Rector's attorney said the case was difficult.
"She said she did not injure the boy, and I believe her," he said. "It's too bad the judge doesn't have more discretion in this sentencing."
As for the girl, prosecutor Vahle said it was an understandable verdict because of the many stories the girl told the jury about how she broke her wrist. The girl, who is now 10 and living in her 15th foster home, told the jury a number of conflicting stories and couldn't remember which arm she broke.
She identified Rector in the courtroom and said, "She's the one who hurt me."
Pickard said the only direct testimony against his client came from the girl, yet the jury chose to exonerate Rector on that charge and convicted her on circumstantial evidence in the boy's case.
Staff writer Mike McPhee can be reached at 303-820-1409 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: Denver Post
Here are some comments by the grandmother of the injured boy:
The SAME JUDGE oversaw the case of some children that were placed in that home a year before my grandchildren. My son and daughter-in-law called people, wrote letters, went to the media and did everything they could to get those kids out of that home because of all the bruises, cuts and scrapes. Social Services told them if they didn't stop ranting and raving about the care their children were getting, they would get a restraining order and they wouldn't be able to have any more visits. You will see from the articles that a 10-year old girl testified that Tember Rector pushed her down the stairs and broke her arm. Other children were injured, I have the arrest affidavit, and the documentation that goes with it, and I KNOW what happened in that home. They covered up for that woman at the cost of 12 children in a 2-year period of time, ALL of whom were removed from her home.
They took my son's kids because there were Light Bright pegs on the floor that they said were an immediate danger to the kids, and they took them and placed them in a home where there was a LOADED, unlocked gun in an unlocked drawer in the nightstand beside their bed. This woman claims she left my grandson on her bed watching t.v., got into the shower and heard a thud. Obviously there was overwhelming evidence that she did something horrible.
Child's injuries bring 15-year prison term
A Castle Rock foster mother was sentenced to 15 years in prison Friday for causing severe injuries to a 2-year-old boy in her care two years ago.
Tember Rector, 44, tried to convince jurors of her innocence in January. But they convicted her on circumstantial evidence of causing severe head injuries to Timothy Dodge.
The jury acquitted her of similar charges involving Jimmy's 7-year-old sister, who broke her wrist under Rector's care.
She faced a mandatory sentence of at least 10 years.
Source: Denver Post