State child welfare agency under scrutiny

SANTA FE — As a father finalized funeral arrangements for his 3-year-old son this week,New Mexico's governor is placing the state's child welfare agency under scrutiny in the investigation of the boy's death.
Gov. Susana Martinez wants to know what the state could have done to save Leland Valdez, and is placing the state Children, Youth and Families Department under a microscope. Leland died Wednesday in an Albuquerque hospital two days after the couple say he fell off a kitchen chair in their Pojoaque home and hit his head.
Department caseworker Donald Romero and his supervisor, Gabriella James, have been placed on paid leave as the state investigates why Leland was not removed from the home of his mother and her boyfriend.
Doctors and police concluded that bruises and cuts covering most of the toddler's body were the result of repeated physical abuse over time, according to a court document.
Tabetha Van Holtz, 22, who is pregnant with her third child, and her 20-year-old boyfriend, Steven Gallegos, were arrested and are being held in the Santa Fe County jail in lieu of $500,000 cash bonds. They're each charged with child abuse resulting in death, which carries a mandatory 18 years in prison if convicted.
It appeared James has been the primary focus of the internal investigation. She did not return a telephone message Friday seeking comment.
"This individual has been placed on administrative leave and every case in which this individual was involved is being reviewed," Martinez spokesman Scott Darnell said in an e-mail. "The Governor is deeply concerned and has been personally involved in working with the cabinet secretary (Yolanda Berumen-Deines) to get to the bottom of this."
Families department spokeswoman Romaine Serna declined to comment Friday. On Wednesday, she said, "This boy was failed somewhere, and we need to find out where."
Andrew Valdez, Leland's biological father, was mired in months of custody battles with Van Holtz over Leland and his 4-year-old sister, Alyssa. He filed a complaint with the families department in August after he said he found bruising all over Leland's body.
"I asked him what happened, and he told me, 'Mommy hit me in my tummy,' " Andrew Valdez told The Santa Fe New Mexican earlier this week. "And Alyssa told me, 'Mommy's boyfriend' would hit him, too."
The department looked into the allegations but determined there was not enough evidence to remove the child from his mother's custody.
The 25-year-old father, who has since married and has a 1-month-old son, accompanied Leland's body from Albuquerque back to an Española funeral home on Friday after an autopsy was completed. He said he hopes the governor's involvement in the matter will help.
"I can hope that is a good thing, and something good comes from it," he said.
 Public visitation for Leland will be held at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Pojoaque at 6 p.m. Sunday with wakes at 7 p.m. Sunday and Monday, according to DeVargas Funeral Home in Española. Funeral services are set for 10 a.m. Tuesday, with burial to follow at the Nambé Catholic Cemetery.  

Child's death changed protective care

The 5-year-old died after being bound in a high chair with duct tape, spurring reform in Maine's foster care system.

By BETTY ADAMS and JOHN RICHARDSON MaineToday Media Staff Writers
A young girl in need of a stable home. A forceful foster parent. A lack of oversight.
It was a recipe for disaster.
Bound in duct tape in a tipped-over high chair, 5-year-old Logan Marr died 10 years ago Monday in an unfinished Chelsea basement.
The girl was in the state's protective care system at the time, and her death sent shock waves -- and spurred reform -- throughout the state Department of Health and Human Services.
In retrospect, the case heightened awareness of shortcomings in the state's foster care system. Observers say Maine's child welfare system is now a national model.
At the time, however, it rattled the most hardened law personnel and shook confidence in how Maine protects its most vulnerable children.
"This was different," said Deputy Attorney General William Stokes, a prosecutor in the case. "This was a child who was 5. She was verbal, she was mobile.
"The idea basically was she was put in a dungeon, tied to a chair, bound and gagged. She was left to her own devices. It was very horrifying to people."
Sally Ann Schofield -- the state child caseworker who took in Logan and her younger sister, Bailey -- was convicted of manslaughter in Logan's 2001's death and remains behind bars at the Maine Correctional Center in Windham.
She had been acquitted of depraved-indifference murder. Her manslaughter sentence, appealed several times, ended up at 20 years in prison with three years suspended, then four years of probation. Schofield, now 49, has six or seven years remaining in her prison term.
Stokes said the case brought renewed attention to child deaths.
"Typically we think of them as shaken babies," the prosecutor said. "With a shaken baby, we're talking about seconds, a violent eruption by a parent or caregiver to shut a baby up. This was much more deliberate, much more elaborate.
"Think of how much time it took to wrap this child up in duct tape."
To illustrate the crime at trial, Stokes wrapped 42 feet of duct tape around a high chair -- the same length investigators said Schofield used to bind the child.
"A stereotype of who is capable of doing this type of crime was shattered," Stokes said. "She was a professional, a supervisor in DHHS, who fashioned herself knowledgeable about children, relationships, how to raise a child. Here was someone you never would have predicted."
Stokes said because Schofield had been a supervisor in the system, it proved difficult for other case workers to supervise her.
"There was a young case worker, and Sally was a very forceful personality," Stokes said. "It was a recipe for disaster."
State officials took Logan from her birth mother in 1998 and then returned her after Logan's sister, Bailey, was born.
In March 2000, the two girls were removed from their mother's home because their mother -- Christy M. Baker, also known as Christy Marr and, later, Christy Reposa -- "was returning to her previous unsafe lifestyle," according to a state petition for a child-protection order.
After several months in foster homes, the sisters were placed in Schofield's care.
Schofield was a DHHS worker when she took Logan in as a foster child.
The state later acknowledged that Logan's caseworker did not check on the child as often as state rules required. E-mails between the caseworker and Schofield showed a friendly relationship, not the arms-length relationship that should exist.
The department was also criticized for failing to promptly investigate allegations just weeks before her death that Logan was being abused.
Logan's father, John W. Wagg III, of Bowdoin, was 24 when his only daughter was born. He declined comment for this story. Several months after Logan's death, an attorney representing Wagg said the father had been seeking reunification with his daughter. However, the state wanted the sisters to stay together. Wagg was not Bailey's father.
After Logan's death, Reposa regained custody of Bailey.
Schofield's young son, Shaynen, was ordered to have no contact with his mother and was last known to be living with his paternal grandparents -- David and Marilyn Schofield -- in Knox. The couple, who put up their property as bail before Sally Schofield's conviction, insist she is innocent. In a 2004 interview, they said they believe Logan's death was a tragic accident brought on when the child played with duct tape.
"I still believe Sally. I do not believe she did this intentionally to a child," Marilyn Schofield said. "I knew Sally during the six years she and (Sally Schofield's husband) Dean were together, and she had a way around kids. She never lost her cool."
Brenda Harvey, former commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services, said in an interview last month that the child welfare system is dramatically different today than a decade ago.
The department now focuses much more on "kinship care" or keeping children with relatives rather than foster care, she said.
Case workers now visit foster children at least once a month, rather than the three-month standard back then. Adoptions also happen much more quickly. And, most significantly, "The number of children in our care has significantly decreased," she said.
In January 2001, some 2,956 children were in legal custody of the Department of Health and Human Services; this January, that number is 1,461, according to department spokesman John Martins.
Parents are no longer seen and treated as adversaries, Harvey said. "Now we have a practice where family team meetings are held and staff see parents as equal partners. ... It's not just blame the parents."
Since 2001, the number of children taken from their homes has dropped by 30 percent, said Richard Wexler, executive director of the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform in Alexandria, Va.
At the same time, the proportion of foster children placed in group homes and other institutions has dropped from about 28 percent to 10 percent, making Maine one of the nation's best at avoiding placing foster children in group home settings, Wexler said.
Maine's child welfare system has been held up as a national model by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a private group in Baltimore that works on child welfare issues.
Logan's death was the driving force behind the improvements, said Jim Beougher, director of the Office of Child and Family Services at the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.
"I don't think anybody who was (involved in child welfare) at the time will ever forget not only the tragedy, but the ensuing public debate," said Lucky Hollander, director of Cumberland County Child Abuse and Neglect Council in 2001 who later worked for DHHS. "(Logan's death) certainly was a catalyst for change. ... What we learned was there definitely needed to be a different way of assessing safety on a lot of levels."
The Logan Marr case also made headlines as attitudes toward child protective care were changing nationally, Hollander said.
"Logan Marr may have triggered the public attention, but certainly we were getting better and better in evaluating outcomes of children both in care and at home," Hollander said.
Tracy Feild, of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, said child welfare managers, case workers and advocates, as well as some legislators, from Virginia and other states have visited Maine in recent years to get a firsthand look at its child welfare system.
"Maine was not on the map as being a leader in the past," Feild said. "Now they're viewed as having really good outcomes."
Jed Davis, Schofield's attorney at trial, said she declined a request to be interviewed for this story. Davis also declined.
Reposa, who was 18 when Logan was born, did not respond to an interview request sent via the Office of the Maine Attorney General.
Associated Press Writer Clarke Canfield contributed to this report.

Dad sues agency after girl allegedly gang raped

MONTREAL – A child-protection agency near Montreal faces a $408,000 lawsuit amid allegations that a 10-year-old girl was repeatedly raped by five boys aged 10-12 while under its care.
The lawsuit, filed by the girl’s father, says young assailants performed numerous sex acts on the girl inside a school bus and at a group home. The man is seeking damages and accusing child-welfare officials at the Centre jeunesse de la Monteregie of failing to protect the girl.
The child’s ordeal was painstakingly recounted in the lawsuit, filed last week in Longueuil, a suburb of Montreal.
The suit says the girl, nicknamed Amanda (fictitious name), moved to the group home, L'Amaryllis, in 2008 just after her 10th birthday. She had been placed in the home after she was molested by her step-father.
The girl expressed concerns at the time that she could be molested again, said the suit. Not long afterward, she was sexually assaulted at night “on several occasions” by two boys, aged 10 and 12.
The court documents allege that Amanda told her mother about the assaults and that the woman notified agency officials, but that “nothing was done to deal with (the) abuse.”
The girl began to show behavioural problems and ran away several times, leading officials to move her to another group home.
It was at the second home that she was abused again, the lawsuit alleges. Three boys, between the ages of 11 and 12, would corner her inside a school bus on the way to class and force her to submit to various sex acts.
The suit says years of abuse had rendered her unable to defend herself against the sexual assaults.
The regional youth-protection agency says all children have since been removed from L’Amaryllis group home and another centre belonging to the same owner.
The lawsuit's allegations have not been proven in court.

Sask. foster child’s death highlights gap

Recommendations from a coroner's jury examining the death of a three-year-boy in foster care point to a glaring gap in Saskatchewan's foster-care system.
The child who died was placed in a foster home in Pense, Sask., in 2009 and cannot be identified because of a publication ban imposed by lawyer Alma Wiebe, the presiding coroner.
The child's foster parents, whose identities are also protected by a publication ban, testified the boy was ill and running a fever the week before he died. He was found dead in his crib Dec. 17, 2009. According to medical experts, he died of a chest infection.
The inquest learned that because of an underlying heart condition, the boy would have been at risk if he developed a fever — information that was not shared with the foster parents.
The jury's recommendations highlighted this failing, saying that in future foster-care placements a child's medical records should be available to parents.
Jurors also recommended that children with medical needs be placed in homes close to medical services. Pense is about 30 kilometres west of Regina.
Wiebe told CBC News the boy's death was "tragic." She added that the jury's recommendations might help prevent future deaths, although they are not binding on any agency.
The boy's grandmother told CBC News she hopes the Ministry of Social Services will follow the recommendations.
"This was a preventable death," the woman said. "We pray for all the children in care. This inquest took place to prevent this from happening to other children. One dies so many will live."
Bob Hughes, a community activist who was providing advice and support to the family of the dead boy, said he was concerned the recommendations would not be followed.
"We've seen lots of inquests," Hughes said. "We've seen lots of recommendations, and often times we haven't seen any action from those recommendations. So I think the value of this inquest is yet to be seen."
Andrea Brittin, an official from the Ministry of Social Services, told reporters the recommendations will be considered

Foster child's sad death sparks calls for change

By Barb Pacholik and Karin Yeske, Postmedia News January 29, 2011
REGINA — The grandmother of a three-year-old boy who died in foster care in Saskatchewan is making a tearful plea that his death result in changes so other families are spared from such a tragedy.
"One dies so many will live," said the woman, who cannot be identified under a publication ban.
"This was a preventable death. We pray for all the children in care. This inquest took place to prevent this from happening to other children."
A coroner's jury on Friday night deemed the death of the little boy, who can only be identified as APG, a homicide.
The boy died at a foster home in Pense, Sask., on Dec. 17, 2009, after suffering what the inquest this past week heard was a chest infection that would have been treatable had he received medical attention.
The case is the latest in a seemingly endless trail of child injuries and deaths that have raise concerns and drawn outrage over the quality of foster care across Canada.
The coroner's inquest focused in great detail on the state of the foster home, which was cluttered and unsanitary, and had often seen children fall down stairs.
While the jury deemed the boy's death was homicide — defined as the result of a voluntary act to cause fear, harm or death — it had inquired early in the deliberations where negligence fit.
Presiding coroner Alma Wiebe said homicide, as defined by the Coroner's Act, does not include acts of omission, and if the death doesn't fit into the categories, it's undetermined.
The jury returned with seven recommendations, directing Saskatchewan's Ministry of Social Services to do everything from more thorough foster home checks to making them safer.
Andrea Brittin, executive director for service delivery in Child and Family Services, said the ministry respects the process, appreciates the work of the jury and needs time to consider its findings.
"The death of this child is indeed a tragedy," she said, extending sympathy to the boy's family and friends.
The boy had been a permanent ward of the province.
A pathologist found he died from a treatable bacterial infection that started with bronchial pneumonia and spread to his chest cavity.
In her final instructions to the jury, the presiding coroner noted the pathologist was unable to directly link the chest infection to the conditions in the home, but she added that the jurors may infer that the state of the home raised issues of quality of care and neglect.
The jury's final recommendations include improving foster-home checks and closer monitoring by case workers and supervisors.
They also call for improved training for foster parents and ensuring that children with medical needs are placed in areas with adequate medical facilities.
Bob Hughes, who represented the boy's biological family in the inquest, said action hasn't always followed the recommendations brought down inquests.
"I think the value of this inquest is yet to be seen in what changes the ministry is able to do."
APG and his sister joined another foster child and three adopted children in the home in June 2009.
The inquest heard that child-protection workers were raising concerns with the resources unit, which was responsible for the home, about the deplorable and deteriorating conditions for over four months before APG died there.
Some measures were put in place, but they didn't happen fast enough. In November, the home failed a safety check.
It was only after the boy's death that a comprehensive review of 31 files on the home since it opened in 1999 revealed a pattern of concerns regarding quality of care and conditions. But no one person had that complete picture until the death, the inquest heard.
After the boy's death, three adopted children and one foster child remained in the home because conditions improved.
But by March 2010, things had deteriorated again and all the children were removed and placed in foster homes. In August, after court action, the adopted children were allowed to return, but under terms, including increased checks and counselling for the children and parents.
Child protection worker Holly Murray testified she was at the home Dec. 30 and "it has improved greatly."
"There is still some clutter, but no safety concerns," she added.

© Copyright (c) The Regina Leader-Post

Social worker faces teen rape charges

Published on Sat Jan 29 08:39:39 GMT 2011
A SOCIAL worker specialising in vulnerable children has appeared in court accused of raping a youth in his care during the 1990s.
Peter Fordham, aged 39, faces allegations of rape and gross indecency against a boy aged between 12 and 14 when he was his principle carer.
It is alleged Fordham, of Ashley Way, Weston Favell, Northampton, subjected the youth, who is now aged in his mid-20s and cannot be named, to four rapes and an act of gross indecency while working at the county council-run St John’s Centre, Tiffield.
The offences are alleged to have taken place at Tiffield, near Towcester, Castleton in Derbyshire, Southampton and Northampton.
Fordham, who only spoke to confirm his name, was not required to enter pleas to the charges he faces. Deputy Circuit Judge Michael Mott adjourned the case until a plea and case management hearing in March and released him on bail.
A spokesman for Northamptonshire County Council confirmed Fordham was suspended from his role as a principle social worker.

Hospital director denies adopted son abuse claims

LONG BEACH, Calif. -- A state mental hospital director on trial for child molestation flatly denied any wrongdoing Friday, following emotional testimony by his adopted son who characterized his father as a monster who abused him for more than a decade and destroyed his life.
The 27-year-old man, who wept on the stand, said Claude Foulk began abusing him at age 9, when he was Foulk's foster child, and continued for more than a decade until he fled at 21.
Foulk, who was fired as director of Napa State Hospital after his arrest last year, had adopted the man when he turned 13.
The Associated Press is not naming the witness because it has a policy not to identify alleged victims of sexual abuse.
Foulk, 63, has pleaded not guilty to 35 counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a child. If convicted of all the counts, he could face a maximum of 280 years in prison.
Wearing a button-down shirt and silk vest, a gray-mustached and balding Foulk denied all allegations of molestation.
He said he adopted the witness because he believed older children needed parenting too, adding that he had previously served as a foster parent and had adopted one other son.
"There was no physical abuse. There was no sexual abuse. There was no intimidation," Foulk said.
Those claims were contradicted by testimony earlier in the day by Foulk's alleged victim.
"He's a monster," the witness said, adding that he quit college and left home to escape the abuse. "He has torn me apart."
Authorities contend 13 men, including another one of Foulk's four foster sons, came forward to claim Foulk molested them as children as far back as 1965. Only one of the cases, however, could be prosecuted due to the statute of limitations.
In cross-examination, defense attorney Richard Poland suggested Foulk's son had a history of lying from the time he entered the foster care system, from making up excuses as an adult to avoid taking calls from his adoptive father.

He also asked the witness why he waited so long to tell Foulk to stop the alleged abuse or report it to police.
"Is it fair to state that you never told him to stop because you wanted to continue getting the toys or the cars or going wherever you wanted?" Poland asked the witness, who answered with a resounding "no."
The investigation was sparked when someone reported sexual abuse to police last September after learning Foulk was head of Napa State Hospital, prosecutors have said.
Detectives from the sex crimes division found evidence that five boys under 14 had been molested in Long Beach, where Foulk had lived, and in Rancho Murieta in Northern California, authorities said. Additional victims were listed in an amended complaint filed last year.
Foulk was paid $98,000 a year at Napa State Hospital, where he was responsible for supervising the 1,260-bed institution that houses adults mostly judged mentally incompetent to stand trial or found not guilty by reason of insanity.
He previously worked as a high-level administrator at several private psychiatric hospitals and with the state Department of Mental Health.
Records show he was briefly married in the 1970s.
During the trial in Superior Court in Long Beach, the witness told jurors he found photos of naked boys on his father's computer.
He said he craved his father's love as a child, and was afraid he would be sent back to foster care if he spoke out.
"He said, 'If you don't love me, we won't be able to do this. This is how a man shows love,'" the witness said.
Foulk will continue to testify on Monday, and attorneys could wrap up the trial with closing arguments later that day.

County worker faces charges

Ex-caseworker falsified records, also endangered child, indictment alleges

SCHENECTADY -- A fired Schenectady County caseworker faces charges she allegedly falsified paperwork and lied to police looking into allegations of the neglect of a malnourished infant boy in the city of Schenectady, authorities said.
Milagros Noriega, 47, is charged in an indictment with official misconduct, making a punishable false written statement, offering a false instrument for filing, and endangering the welfare of child.
The details of what records she allegedly falsified and how they fit in with the case she handled were not available from the indictment's language or authorities.
Noriega formerly worked for Child Protective Services, County Attorney Christopher Gardner said. The agency is responsible for investigating allegations of abuse or maltreatment of children caused by the actions of a parent or caretaker, according to information on the county's website.
The indictment was unsealed Friday by County Judge Karen Drago.
On the last offense, the indictment alleges that between April 8 and June 18, 2010, the defendant "knowingly acted in a manner likely to be injurious to the physical mental or moral welfare of a child" under the age of 17 at a house on Stanley Street.
Authorities say the child was so badly malnourished that his body weight was the same at two months old as it was when he was a newborn and that his skin was flaccid.
On Friday, Noriega sobbed throughout the arraignment as she pleaded not guilty to the charge with Public Defender Kent Gebert by her side. She told the judge she is married with a four-year-old child and works at St. Peter's Addiction Recovery System.
The judge granted a request by Gebert that Noriega, who has no criminal history, be released into the supervision of the probation department.
Neither Gardner or Dennis Packard, commissioner of the county Department of Social Services, returned calls seeking comment.

108 years prison for San Mateo foster dad

January 29, 2011, 02:36 AM By Michelle Durand Daily Journal Staff
The San Mateo foster father who told jurors he didn’t know sexually abusing and videotaping graphic sex acts with young boys — including the 9-year-old ward he was adopting — was wrong will spend the rest of his life in prison even though a court-appointed doctor said probation was possible.
Tarquin Craig Thomas, 44, was sentenced to 108 years to life in prison on 44 felonies, essentially meaning he will die behind bars.
Defense attorney Richard Keyes asked for both a new trial and probation, both of which were denied. A doctor appointed to evaluate Thomas’ propensity to re-offend if released concluded he was amenable to probation.
But prosecutor Aaron Fitzgerald said Thomas should never be released.
“We wanted to make sure the community and victims are safe,” he said.
After the sentencing, Fitzgerald said he was “very happy” and gave credit to Detective Kimber Joyce and others who helped put the case together.
During trial, jurors were shown dozens of graphic photographs and videos of Thomas and the boys, including 9-year-old Oregon foster child Dylan who he began adopting and Freddie, a teenager who Thomas met through the Boys and Girls Club in San Francisco. Freddie’s own mother defended Thomas until finding a hidden flash drive containing the photographs.
Tarquin worked for Barclays Investment Firm as a software designer and ran a child photography business, with a studio in his home. After bringing Dylan from Oregon, the boy was abused from August 2005 until the following November when a spanking report to Child Protective Services led to his return to Oregon. Thomas allegedly hatched a plot to kidnap Dylan using a GPS device hidden in a picture frame he sent and spirit him back to England. When the device was found, authorities arrested Thomas on May 27, 2007 and a search of his home turned up the footage, a journal including the names of child pornography websites and toys and movies tailored to young boys.
Thomas was also charged with molesting Blake, another teen who lived with him because his mother could not care for him. Blake was the only alleged victim who testified and was not on any of the photos or video.
During closing arguments, Keyes told jurors to consider that Blake didn’t disclose the alleged molestation to authorities until after learning about the videos. He also asked jurors to keep their emotions in check and question if everything they saw met the legal definition of sodomy or touching meant to cause arousal.
After Thomas’ conviction, jurors found he was sane while committing the abuse and should face incarceration rather than hospitalization.
During the sanity phase, Thomas, who had not testified in the guilt portion, told jurors he was uneducated about sex as a child in England and later felt having sex with minors was no different than the same acts with an adult. He told jurors the three boys had instigated the sexual encounters and that he captured the acts on film and video because he photographed “everything.”

A Baptist pastor

By Marjie Lundstrom

A Baptist pastor whose Citrus Heights home brimmed with foster children and other needy kids, allegedly molested girls as young as 5 or 6 while they were in his care, according to testimony today in Sacramento Superior Court.
A judge is set to decide whether Tommy Gene Daniels, 48, will stand trial on six felony counts of lewd and lascivious acts and engaging in "substantial sexual conduct" with a child under 14.
Daniels, who remains in jail after his bail was upped to $6 million, is pastor of First Baptist Church of Rio Linda, where he is listed on the church's website as senior pastor. His preliminary hearing drew a handful of spectators who gathered in the hallway and prayed during a court recess.
Daniels was arrested in December and has pleaded not guilty

Foster mother testifies at shaken baby trial

Doctor describes baby's injuries
By LOUISE DICKSON, September 13, 2010

 Baby E was absolutely lovely, didn't cry a lot and didn't cry loudly, her former foster mother testified Monday in Victoria provincial court.
"We thought we might adopt her," said Micheline Slader, testifying at the trial of her former boyfriend Avtar Basi for the aggravated assault of 11-week old Baby E.
But on the morning of Nov. 26, 2008, Baby E stopped breathing and was rushed to Victoria General Hospital where she was found to have devastating brain injuries.
Crown counsel Nils Jensen is alleging the injuries were caused when Basi violently shook Baby E that morning.
Basi's defence lawyer John Green said his client will testify that Baby E went limp and, in a panicked reaction, he shook her three times to try to revive her.
On Monday, Slader and her two oldest sons took the stand, describing a normal, uneventful early morning at their Central Saanich home as they got ready for school. None of them had dropped, harmed or shaken Baby E in any way, at any time, they testified.
Slader called Basi from the van and told him where Baby E's milk was and where her bottle was.
"There was no noise in the background," she testified.
A few minutes later, as she was about to drop the oldest son at Stelly's Secondary School, Basi phoned back.
"I believe his words were, 'I think there's something wrong with Baby E. I think she's not breathing,' " Slader recalled. "I said, 'call 9-1-1.' "
She raced home and found Basi giving rescue breaths to the infant, assisted by an emergency dispatcher on the phone.
"I pushed him out of the way and took over. I had no idea what happened to her," said Slader.
Paramedics arrived within minutes and took over — "It felt like forever," she said.
Slader will continue her testimony later this week.
Also on the stand Monday, Dr. Victor Pegado, an expert in pediatric ophthalmology, testified that he examined Baby E at the hospital on the evening of Nov. 26, 2008 and found multiple retinal hemorrhages, 50 to 100, scattered in both of her eyes.
"The one thing I want the intensive-care doctor and other doctors to know is that this was consistent with non-accidental head injury" said Pegado.
"Which includes shaken-baby syndrome?" asked Jensen.
"Yes," Pegado replied.
The mostly likely cause of the retinal hemorrhages was a series of accelerations and decelerations of the eye, back and forth, he told the court.
Baby E's retinal hemorrhages started at the same time and were similar in size, said Pegado.
"I can't say for sure, but these findings imply it may have been associated with one event."
The trial continues with more medical evidence on Tuesday.