exposing the dark side of adoption
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September 23, 1992

Janice Haidet

Dayton Daily News (OH)

A 6-year-old girl with Down syndrome got into some chlorine bleach while her adoptive parents were away Friday. They washed her off and treated her burned skin with aloe and vitamin E.

But they sought no medical help until Monday when she lost consciousness. Then she died.

Today a court is expected to decide whether eight other adopted children should remain in the Cedarville home, and authorities are investigating whether anyone should be prosecuted for the girl's death.

The girl, Hannah Carroll, died Monday morning at Greene Memorial Hospital, where emergency room physician S. Waikhom "concluded there was gross suspicion of child abuse," according to a sheriff's deputy's affidavit filed in Greene County Common Pleas Court on Tuesday.

The doctor found burns on the child's chest, abdomen, groin, arms and back, as well as pneumonia in both lungs.

The burns appeared to have resulted from contact with the bleach; the pneumonia, from inhalation of bleach fumes, Chief Coroner's Investigator William McCarthy said. The pneumonia probably killed Hannah, he said.

"There also was another round, circular, dry, healing ulcer present on the left leg, calf area. . . . This could be a cigarette burn," the court document said. By Tuesday, McCarthy hadn't determined the cause of that ulcer.

Prosecutor William F. Schenck said he met the girl's parents, Timothy and Kathleen Carroll, in their "clean, well-organized" home Monday night.

"The parents were troubled and grieved and upset, and I don't doubt that that was genuine . . . yet there are circumstances here that do trouble me," Schenck said. "I don't know enough about the facts yet to say much more."

Schenck said it concerned him that the parents failed to get medical help for Hannah.

According to court documents, eight of the nine adopted Carroll children are mentally or physically handicapped. Ages 3 months to 16 years, none is enrolled in school, which Assistant County Prosecutor Suzanne Schmidt said could also be cause for concern.

John H. Rion, the Dayton attorney who will represent the Carrolls at today's Juvenile Court hearing, said the parents are Christians tutoring their children in a state-approved home schooling program.

On Tuesday, with Schmidt's help, Greene County Children Services filed for custody of the children.

The Carrolls could not be reached for comment. Rion said, "I think it's an outrage that their grieving process is being interrupted by this bureaucracy."

Several hours after the girl's death, Greene County deputies went to the Carrolls' home at 3315 Straley Road. Detective William Harden says in an affidavit that when he started to inspect the home, he "was informed by the owners that they had consulted with an attorney who advised them not to allow any further inspection of the property or questioning." Deputies returned Tuesday with a search warrant and confiscated bleach, detergents and facial oil.

Rion said the Carrolls kept detergents, bleach and other cleaning supplies behind two doors, and couldn't help it that the little girl got into the bleach. "In no regard are the parents responsible (for Hannah's death)," he said.

Formerly of Massachusetts and the Englewood area, the Carrolls moved to Cedarville in July, Schmidt said.

1992 Sep 23