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Social Worker Dead

February 23, 2011 permalink

Cleveland social worker Tashia Burch-York died Tuesday February 22. Five days earlier she was in a meeting with four or five adults and a teenaged boy who was a ward of Cuyahoga County. He assaulted her, and was quickly subdued. Tashia did not seem to be seriously injured and walked away from the incident. It is not known whether the death is the result of the assault.



Cuyahoga County case worker dies days after being assaulted, county says

Tashia Burch-York
Tashia Burch-York
Courtesy of Cuyahoga County


The Cuyahoga County coroner is investigating the death of a children's caseworker who was assaulted days earlier by a boy in county custody, officials said.

Adoption supervisor Tashia Burch-York, 42, died Tuesday. She was assaulted Feb. 17 by a 15-year-old, 140-pound Cleveland boy at the county Children and Family Services headquarters in the Jane Edna Hunter building on Euclid Avenue, according to a sheriff's report.

Burch-York was among four or five adults meeting with the boy in a room on the building's first floor, officials said. Someone pressed a panic button that signaled security officers, but people in the room restrained the boy before security arrived.

Officials declined to discuss details of the assault or of Burch-York's injuries, though county Executive Ed FitzGerald said she left work Thursday on her own. Officials said they don't know if the assault contributed to her death.

The coroner's office found no evidence of trauma on her head or body, spokesman Powell Caesar said, though he said the cause of death won't be made until more tests are conducted,

Burch-York, of University Heights, had worked for 16 years as an adoption supervisor for the county child-welfare agency. Last year, she made $50,000.

"From our perspective, she really stood out," said Betsie Norris, executive director of Adoption Network Cleveland, a nonprofit agency that worked with Burch-York. "As many things as we hear about county employees and negativity swirling around out there, she was phenomenal. Our whole staff has been crying all day."

Burch-York's co-workers worried Wednesday about security at the county-owned Hunter building, where Burch-York met with the boy.

Sheriff Bob Reid increased security in county buildings a few weeks ago, said FitzGerald's spokesman, John Kohlstrand. Employees are now required to go through metal detectors.

Security desks are at the front and rear entrances of the building. At the time of the assault, eight security guards were on duty.

"I haven't seen anything yet that indicates to me that the security level was inappropriate," FitzGerald said at a news conference.

In a statement, FitzGerald said the assault is a "reminder of the difficult and often dangerous situations our social workers confront every day.

"It is important for all of us to take a moment to grieve the loss of an employee who was loved by her family, friends and co-workers," he said.

Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer

Addendum: The death was from heart disease, and unrelated to the attack by the boy.



Ohio social worker death not due to alleged attack

CLEVELAND (AP) -- An autopsy shows that the death of a Cleveland social worker five days after authorities say she was assaulted by a youth at work was not related to the alleged attack.

Cuyahoga County spokeswoman Nicole Dailey Jones says the coroner has ruled that 42-year-old Tashia Burch-York died of complications from heart disease.

Authorities say Burch-York was assaulted by a 15-year-old boy on Feb. 17 at the Cleveland building where she worked as an adoption supervisor for Cuyahoga County. Her body was found at her University Heights home by her husband on Feb. 22.

The Plain Dealer reports that Burch-York had said she was attacked after she told the boy he would not be moving out of a foster home. She had worked for the county for 16 years.

Source: WSYX