exposing the dark side of adoption
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October 3, 2002

Martin Stolz

Plain Dealer Reporter

Akron – Kelsey Hyre, a 26-month-old girl adopted from Russia, may be paralyzed for life, and her adoptive father faces criminal charges for the injuries.

Akron police yesterday arrested Gerald B. Hyre, 32, of Akron.  He was charged with felonious assault and felony child endangering for Kelsey’s Sept. 26 spinal injury.

Hyre told police that he picked Kelsey up with his hands and that he accidentally dropped her from about five feet.  After the injury, Hyre’s wife, Bonnie Hyre, 34 returned from work and drove Kelsey in her car to Children’s Hospital Medical Center of Akron.  The Hyres did not call 9-1-1.

Kelsey broke two bones in her mid-lower back and completely dislocated her spinal column, said Dr. R. Daryl Steiner, director of the hospital’s Children At Risk Evaluation Center. Kelsey underwent surgery to realign her spine but has not sensation below the waist, an untreatable condition unlikely to ever change, he said.

The injuries were too severe to have been caused by getting dropped, Steiner said.

“We see these injuries very rarely, and only with very violent events, like automobile accidents,” he said.  “This was not an accident.”

Hyre, who works for a supermarket chain, has no criminal record.  But police yesterday searched the Hyre’s southwest Akron home, said Lt. Gerald Kelly of Akron’s Juvenile Bureau.

The Hyres adopted Kelsey and a 30 month old boy, also from Russia, in January through Building Blocks Adoption Services, Inc., a private Medina County adoption agency.  Denise Hubbard, the agency owner, said the required “home study” of the Hyres’ parental fitness had been conducted by another  state-licensed agency.

Adoption agencies generally do not make follow-up visits to adoptive families or prepare post-adoption reports unless required to do so by the native country
of the adopted child, said Richard Marco, Hubbard’s attorney.

Kelsey’s 30 month old brother has been placed in foster care, said a Summit County Children Services Board official.

Hyre, in custody at the Summit County Jail, is scheduled to be arraigned this morning in Akron Municipal Court.

2002 Oct 3