Mansfield woman charged in baby's death

Relates to:
Date: 2008-07-17

ZACHARY JANOWSKI
The Willimantic Chronicle

MANSFIELD - Police Wednesday arrested a foster mother licensed and employed by the state Department of Children and Families on manslaughter charges related to the death of a 7-monthold boy entrusted to her.

Suzanne Listro, 42, of 260 Stearns Road, was charged with first-degree manslaughter and risk of injury to a minor.

According to DCF spokesman Gary Kleeblatt this morning, Listro worked as a "children's services consultant" for the agency.

Separate from her job with DCF, Listro also took in foster children.

Kleeblatt declined to comment further, saying the department was to issue a statement later today.

Just before 8 p.m. on May 19, emergency medical personnel reported an unresponsive infant to state police.

The child, Michael Brown Jr., was taken to Windham Community Memorial Hospital and then transported by Life Star medical helicopter to Hartford Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at approximately 10 p.m.

According to police, the Office of the Chief State's Medical Examiner determined the cause of death was "blunt traumatic head injury" and the death was ruled a homicide.

Initial autopsy results were inconclusive.

"As a result of facts determined in this criminal investigation, state police detectives submitted an arrest warrant affidavit to Superior Court GA 19 in Tolland for the arrest of the accused," state police spokesman Lt. J. Paul Vance said in a statement.

Police arrested Listro at her homeWednesday without incident. She is being held on $1 million bond and was expected to appear in Rockville Superior Court later this morning.

According to the DCF web site, licensed foster care providers must submit to an assessment of their home and family.

The licensing process includes classes and home visits by a social worker.

Licensed foster care providers must be at least 21 years old and earn enough income to support their family without the monthly reimbursement for foster care.

According to the department web site, other requirements include:

•A doctor's statement confirming each family member is in good health.

• FBI, state and local police backgroundchecks.

•No record of abuse or neglect with protective services.

• References provided by the applicant.

Licensed providers can care for up to three foster children and have up to six children total in their care. There is no marriage requirement for foster care.

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