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September 27, 2006 permalink
Child protectors in Ohio have been embarrassed by a case in which foster parents murdered one of their wards, Marcus Fiesel. Their reaction is to slander the mother of the dead child. The article below is drawn from sources that child protectors normally withhold under claims of confidentiality. If Ohio is anything like Ontario, the same confidentiality laws prevent the mother from answering.
Marcus' mom had history with court
Boy who died in foster care had been removed from birth mother's home twice by Butler Co. Children Services.
For Donna Trevino, the difficulties of raising a developmentally disabled boy began years before her son Marcus Fiesel became a household name in southwest Ohio.
According to Butler County Juvenile Court records, Middletown police visited her home in January, when Marcus fell from a second-story window of her home, and in April when the 3-year-old was seen roaming city streets by himself.
But Butler County Children Services has been documenting problems Trevino had in dealing with her children for more than a year before the custody battle for Marcus began.
At a June hearing in county Juvenile Court, Trevino's attorney acknowledged her client's desire to "permanently surrender" custody of Marcus, but expressed interest in regaining custody of her other two children.
A little more than three months later, Marcus was dead, and Trevino filed a $5 million wrongful death lawsuit against the county for its alleged role in his death.
The children were removed from Trevino's home after the April incident, but it was not the first time they were pulled from her care.
On Sept. 29, 2005, Middletown police removed Trevino's three children after Marcus "had a large bruise on his lower left-hand side of his back and his buttocks ... which appeared to be ... inflicted by a hand on his body," according to a Sept. 30, 2005, transcript of Juvenile Court proceedings obtained by The Journal.
"Children Services (had) also been involved with this family for over a year with ongoing concerns of neglect based on mother's mental and physical health and the conditions in the homes that they have resided in," testified Rachel Melampy, an agency caseworker.
Melampy's testimony then stated Marcus was "whipped" by his mother's boyfriend because he smeared feces on himself and his bedroom. Two weeks later, Trevino's court-appointed lawyer, Jennifer Coatney, told the court the man who allegedly struck Marcus was no longer living with her client.
During an Oct. 14, 2005, hearing, Trevino said she "really wanted them back by Christmas" or she would "go crazy."
Judge David Niehaus agreed to temporary custody under conditions she receive counseling and her boyfriend have no contact with the children.
According to testimony of Joseph Buemer, another Trevino caseworker, Marcus was found wandering the streets on April 22. And so all three children again were removed.
Buemer testified Trevino was showing signs of improvement as a mother but was having difficulties with Marcus.
According to her case file dated Nov. 1, 2005, Trevino had been attending weekly parenting classes.
In a case plan from June, a caseworker pointed out concerns about Trevino's parenting ability.
She is to be in court next month to continue the fight for her kids and the $5 million suit.
Source: Dayton Daily News