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Killers Seek More Victims
February 15, 2007 permalink
Child protectors in Virginia let a boy die after taking him for "protection". So how do they make good to the family? By taking their other children!
Boy, taken from parents accused of neglect, dies waiting for liver
By JON FRANK, The Virginian-Pilot, February 15, 2007, Last updated: 7:37 PM
VIRGINIA BEACH - A 10-month-old boy who was taken from his parents in December based on allegations of medical neglect, died Friday while awaiting a liver transplant.
The child, Sunari Dowdell, died at Georgetown University Medical Center of liver disease.
At a hearing Wednesday in Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, lawyers for the child's parents, Tyara Byers and Darvin Dowdell, argued against efforts by city officials to get an emergency protective order for the couple's other three children.
Judge Randall M. Blow did not immediately issue a ruling. He will hear additional arguments Friday.
Blow also will hold a hearing Feb. 28 on the allegations of medical neglect against the parents.
In a Dec. 21 affidavit, Virginia Beach social workers alleged that leaving the baby with his parents presented "an imminent danger to the child's life or health."
The affidavit cited at least five instances in which the child missed medical appointments. It also said the boy tested positive for marijuana at birth.
The affidavit said a liver specialist thought the child "was suffering from medical neglect and that it would be in the child's best interest to be placed in another environment where his medical needs can be met."
According to the affidavit, the child's doctor was concerned that the boy would be taken off the list for a possible liver transplant because of the missed appointments. The doctor also worried that the parents were not capable of caring for the child after a transplant.
Sunari Dowdell was removed from the couple's home in the 600 block of Red Horse Lane on Dec. 20.
Christopher Hedrick, one of two attorneys representing the parents, said Wednesday that the parents feel they made every effort within their ability to provide treatment for their son.
"The parents are deeply saddened by the loss of Sunari, and that he passed away while in the care of Social Services, when it was Social Services that, in fact, removed the child for treatment," he said.
Hedrick said the parents were upset by how the child was "forcibly removed" from their home, and they would await a court ruling on the allegations of medical neglect.
City officials could not comment on the case because it is confidential, said Mark D. Stiles, a lawyer with the city attorney's office.
# Reach Jon Frank at (757) 222-5122 or firstname.lastname@example.org.