Foster parent charged in death of 7-week-old child; arraigned

RANTOUL — A foster parent for an infant boy has been arrested for the child’s murder.
State’s Attorney Julia Rietz said Thursday she charged Patrick Kennedy, 35, of the 400 block of East Belle Avenue with the first-degree murder of 7-week-old Daniel Lindholm-Wilkins.
Kennedy was arraigned Friday by Judge Jeff Ford on a single count of first-degree murder alleging that he hit or shook the baby so violently that the child suffered bleeding in the brain that led to his death.
Daniel was a foster child in the care of Kennedy and his wife and had been with them since his birth, Rietz said.
The child was taken from his biological mother at birth because of her ongoing relationship with a sexual predator, Rietz said.
Daniel died Wednesday afternoon at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana, where he had been since April 17.
On that day, Kennedy called 911 about 5 p.m., saying that Daniel had been vomiting and was unresponsive.
“Paramedics responded and took the child to Carle Hospital. Doctors determined he had subdural hematomas and broken ribs,” Rietz said.
She said the medical professionals determined that the injuries that caused the bleeding on the brain were not accidental and “required an adult amount of force.”
“The rib fractures were also non-accidental, not caused by the administration of CPR,” she said.
Kennedy had done CPR on the infant while waiting for the ambulance to arrive, getting instruction from a telecommunicator over the phone.
However, Rietz said, doctors determined that the rib fractures were on the side of Daniel’s body, not in the area of his chest.
She said Kennedy either shook or struck the baby to cause the injuries. His wife was not present when the baby became unresponsive.
Daniel was declared brain dead Wednesday.
Rietz said the Kennedys had also been foster parents to the older biological 2-year-old sister of Daniel and were planning to adopt her. She has been moved to another foster home, Rietz said. Doctors examined her and found she had not been injured.
Rantoul police have been investigating the injuries to the child since April 17. Police went to the home at the same time as the paramedics, Rietz said.
Rantoul Police Sgt. Justin Bouse said investigators arrested Kennedy at 3:35 p.m. Thursday at his home.
He’s being held in lieu of $250,000 bond, meaning he’ll have to post $25,000 cash to be released.
Urbana attorney Baku Patel will represent him. Kennedy requested a probable cause hearing.
If convicted of murder, he faces a mandatory prison term of 20 to 60 years.
Bouse said the case remains under investigation by the Rantoul Police Department.

Injuries of foster child are detailed

Doctors say it's clear case of shaken baby syndrome

 Paul Teldeschi is suspected of child abuse. The baby girl is not expected to survive her injuries, the Stockton Police said on April 17.Stockton Police Department
STOCKTON - Doctors and medical personnel who have examined a critically injured 11-month-old Stockton foster child believe the baby is the victim of "a clear-cut case of shaken baby syndrome" according to a search warrant affidavit from April 22.
Paul Teldeschi, 37, is in county jail on multiple child abuse charges after his foster daughter suffered cardiac arrest on March 30 in his Cleveland Street home. According to the affidavit, Teldeschi was home alone and placed the child in a swing so he could begin preparing dinner. The baby, suffering from bleeding on the brain, suddenly vomited, and went into cardiac arrest. Teldeschi administered CPR and called 911.
The baby, identified in the affidavit as Prinsess, was later airlifted to Oakland Children's Hospital, where doctors found she also suffered from 13 broken ribs that they believe were caused seven to 10 days prior to the cardiac arrest, a broken clavicle and a traumatic spinal injury "like the victim had been bent in half."
Doctors told police the "amount of force needed to see these types of injuries might be seen in a vehicle accident," but that there hadn't been a crash, the affidavit states. One doctor told police he believed the child was the victim of at least two violent attacks.
The brain bleeding, doctors say consistently throughout the detective's report in the affidavit, was caused by shaking. In shaken baby cases, injuries are found all around the brain. If it were blunt force trauma, the injury would have only been in one area, the report explains.
A doctor who examined Prinsess also told police that the bleeding on the brain had to have occurred just prior to the 911 call, because there was a lack of symptoms reported by the foster parents and family members who had watched the children on a couple of occasions.
In early April, and prior to Paul Teldeschi's arrest, Child Protective Services removed three other children from the Teldeschi home - one foster child and two biological children of Paul and Christine Teldeschi. The children were each given medical exams and X-rays.
According to the affidavit, the second foster child and the Teldeschis' biological daughter showed no signs of injury. The Teldeschis' 1-year-old son, however, did have a broken arm and broken finger and neither had been medically treated. A CPS nurse told police that the type of fracture the boy suffered "was common in childhood and not necessarily indicative of child abuse."
The affidavit states that Christine Teldeschi, who is employed by The Record, has continued to cooperate with police in their investigation. Christine Teldeschi, who said she has filed for divorce, had expressed concerns with doctors that Prinsess had some developmental delays and was seeking physical therapy services for her, according to the affidavit.
Over the few months that the Teldeschis had the foster children in their home, Paul Teldeschi was the primary caregiver. He was not employed. During early intervention sessions with the child for developmental disabilities, one social worker told police Paul Teldeschi was "creepy" and "when one of the children dropped something, he would pick it up and then slammed it when he gave it back to the child. There was also a time when the brother was crying and Paul got in his face and told him to 'knock it off,' " according to the affidavit. The social worker thought the behavior was "more than simply being firm," the affidavit said.
The affidavit mentions two instances when Prinsess was dropped, but neither appeared harmful. Once, Christine Teldeschi said she stumbled and fell while holding the child. Prinsess didn't appear injured and was consoled easily. A second time was when the early intervention teacher dropped the child about five inches off the ground.
Prinsess is still in critical condition at the Oakland Children's Hospital. Doctors do not expect her to survive. Paul Teldeschi is expected to appear in San Joaquin County Superior court for arraignment Tuesday.

Foster parent scheduled for court in shaking baby case

Gina Smith News Reporter 

The Sallisaw woman accused of shaking a three-month old baby last month is scheduled for court next Wednesday.
On March 6, Sandra J. Bussey, 62, was charged with one felony count of child abuse by injury after she allegedly admitted to investigators that she shook a three-month-old little boy in her care in mid-February.
According to court documents the child was in foster care through the Sequoyah County Department of Human Services. His foster parents had to go out of town on Feb. 14 so he was placed in Bussey’s home until they could return on Feb.20.
Sallisaw Detective Billy Oliver said he was contacted by a DHS worker on Feb. 25 about the case.
He said in his report that while the regular foster parents were out of town they received text messages from Bussey that he was fussy and running a fever. He said when they picked him up from Bussey’s care they took him for a supervised visit with his biological parents who noticed his soft spot was bulging.
The regular foster parents reportedly said the baby seemed sick but didn’t immediately notice his injuries. Oliver said that by 8:30 a.m. on Feb. 23 the health of the baby had deteriorated and his soft spot was noticeably bulging.
His regular foster parents took him to the emergency room at Sequoyah Memorial Hospital and he was later transferred to Saint Francis Children’s Hospital in Tulsa.
According to the report the baby suffered a fractured skull and about 300 retinal hemorrhages in both eyes because of the abuse.
“The only reasonable explanation would be a non-accidental injury with a shaking mechanism present,” Oliver quoted from the medical report in his affidavit.
Oliver said he interviewed Bussey who allegedly admitted that the injuries were her fault.
“Bussey went on to say she would have to get another job, because she would never be a foster parent again,” Oliver said.
He said that Bussey explained that she didn’t have much experience with a newborn and was very stressed when she kept the baby. She allegedly said that on Feb. 19 he wouldn’t stop crying so she shook him and put him back in his bed.  She allegedly said that after she shook the baby she noticed he began whimpering more than crying.
Oliver said when asked about the facture on the baby’s head Bussey said she hit his head on the handle of the car seat.
In her written statement to Oliver about the incident Bussey reportedly apologized for any injuries to the baby or any other children that have been entrusted to her care.
On March 12, Special District Judge Larry Langley entered a plea of not guilty on Bussey’s behalf. She is scheduled to appear before him at 9 a.m., April 9 for her next court appearance.

Watchdog group raising questions regarding foster program

Reported by: Antonio Castelan

LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3) -- An alleged child abuse case involving foster parents has raised the concerns of a watchdog group that looks out for children.
Police say a foster mom and dad beat, starved and humiliated three girls.
Leaders with the group say Clark County family services needs to be held accountable for its mistakes.
Metro police describe a torturous time for three foster children living under this roof.
Police say Janet and Dwight Solander, the foster parents, kept a close eye on the three girls, turning any mistake they made into a nightmare.
The alleged child abuse has raised red flags for a non-profit group named the National Center for Youth Law. Representatives feel Clark County family services let the children down.
"How did these people become licensed and how did they continue to be renewed yet provide the kind of abuses care that the children were in their home," said Bill Grimm, an attorney with the center.
Grimm says for the past eight years his organization has followed the Clark County foster care system and it has repeatedly failed in its duties.
"To us it just represents an ongoing problem where children in Clark county foster care are at risk of being harmed or not really appropriate care while they are in foster care with Clark county," Grimes said.
In the police report describing the abuse in the Solander home, a CPS caseworker reported in September that he noticed a bucket with a hole on the top and wooden boards on the floor. Janet Solander's daughter, Danielle Hinton - also charged with child abuse - told police the girls were forced to use the bucket as a toilet and they slept on the boards.
"It raises questions about whether she was visiting the home as required was she talking to the children privately was she seeing the rooms they were living in. Was she talking to the kids about the type of care they were getting," Grimes said.
Clark County Family Services representatives say they could not comment on the case citing confidentiality reasons. News 3 reached out to Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak, who understands concerns over foster care in the county, but he isn't sure what needs to change.
"It is difficult because it's a very sensitive situation we are dealing with kids that need to be placed and foster parents that need to be screened," Grimes said.

Foster dad accused of sexually abusing girl in his care

A Santa Rosa foster dad is behind bars after being accused of sexually abusing a 12-year-old girl in his care.
Santa Rosa police arrested 72-year-old Alfredo Saldaña on two counts of indecency with a child on Friday afternoon.
Investigators told Action 4 News that Saldaña had two foster girls at his home but is accused of sexually abusing one of them.
Police said the girl was 12 years old at the time of the crime but recently made an outcry.
The girl told police that Saldaña licked her in one incident and inappopriately touched her in a second incident.
Action 4 News cameras were rolling when Saldaña was being placed into a police car.
Saldaña told Action 4 News that the allegations are false but did not elaborate.
The 72-year-old man remains in custody at the Cameron County Jail where he is expected to face a judge.

Children dying in foster care spurs new set of rules

By Calily Bien  

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Last year, the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) decided to take a closer look at its policies after eight foster children in Texas died from mistreatment, which was more than the previous four years combined.
After holding six statewide forums at the end of 2013 with hundreds of providers who place children in homes, the DFPS council on Friday approved a new set of safety-related rules.
According to the DFPS, the new rules — which are the first major revision of CPA rules since 2007 — are designed to more thoroughly screen potential foster parents and other caregivers and more adequately protect foster children.
The rules for new and existing foster homes apply to the state’s 220 foster child-placing agencies (CPAs), which are licensed by DFPS to operate networks of foster homes and to recruit, screen, train, and monitor the homes.
After a public comment period, the new rules will take effect on Sept. 1.
For new foster homes, in addition to existing requirements (for example, interviews and criminal background checks of all adult family members and a safety assessment of the home) the rules require:
•           An additional interview of a family member not living in the home.
•           Two additional interviews of neighbors, clergy, school employees, and/or other community members.
•           Interviews of all adult children of foster parents.
•           An assessment of personal relationships of foster parents, and review of household finances.
•           Review of any law enforcement agency calls to the foster home for the past two years.
•           Verification of identity and background checks for any person designated as an emergency caregiver.
The new rules also require CPAs to more closely monitor existing foster homes for major changes in the household, including job losses, marriages, divorces, or the addition of any household members or frequent visitors.
So far in FY 2014, which began Sept. 1, 2013, one child, 11-month-old Orien Hamilton, has died from abuse while in foster care.
Background on Orien Hamilton
DFPS officials said Hamilton was removed from a San Antonio home on Oct. 31, 2012, after her mother tested positive for methamphetamines. Officials placed her in a foster home in San Antonio and then placed her with an aunt, Heather Hamilton, in Cedar Park on Dec. 20, 2012.
In 2013, the aunt applied to become a foster parent with Lutheran Social Services, which was required to complete a more thorough background check, the agency said.
The aunt was verified as a foster parent by Lutheran on Oct. 7.
Hamilton was injured on Oct. 19, and passed away at Dell Children’s Hospital the next day.
According to Cedar Park police, the foster parent’s boyfriend, Jacob Salas, 32, admitted to placing the child’s head between his knee and the floor causing injury to the child’s head.
Salas is currently being held at Williamson County Jail on capital murder charges.
CPS says the month before the child’s death, the child’s biological father alerted them that he was concerned about who was also living in the home with his daughter.
“The biological father had concerns that Jacob Salas was living in the home with his daughter and stated those concerns to the CPS case worker,” said DFPS spokesperson Julie Moody.
DFPS says the case worker followed protocol and did a background check on Salas which revealed several red flags including two family violence charges.

According to CPS the case worker responded to Heather Hamilton’s home within 24 hours of receiving the complaint and asked Hamilton if Salas was living there, but officials say she lied.

Former foster dad accused of abusing foster child

By Amy Frazier

PORTLAND, Oreg. (KOIN) — A former foster father accused of victimizing a foster child in his care faced a judge on Monday.
Jerrett Hetrick, 32, is facing multiple sex abuse charges involving a teen that he and his wife cared for, according to authorities.
The victim told investigators the abuse happened at Hetrick’s Troutdale home multiple times in early February.
According to court documents, undercover detectives sent text messages to Hetrick, using the victim’s cell phone. He replied to the texts, admitting the abuse, investigators said.
The Department of Human Services (DHS) said certified foster parents like Hetrick go through an extensive home study process, which looks at their stability and relationships.
Applicants must have multiple references, receive special training and undergo criminal background checks, DHS said. Hetrick went through all the required process and had no criminal history, according DHS.
“I think with anything, you put as many safeguards in place as you can and there’s things that are going to go wrong,” said Norene Owens, Foster Care and Visitation Program manager for District 22. “That’s the most heartbreaking aspect, but we’re not in the homes 24/7; it’s just impossible to have a crystal ball.”
DHS officials said they are looking into whether Hetrick cared for any other foster children prior to the teen who accused him of sex abuse.

Hetrick entered a not guilty plea in court on Monday.