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Autopsy: Beating killed toddler 2 1/2-year-old boy was in foster care


The Denver Post

February 6, 1999

An autopsy has found that a 2 1/2-year-old Westminster foster child died from a severe head injury likely the result of a beating, authorities said Friday.The toddler also had bruises on his chest, tailbone, spine, both knees, left leg and behind his left ear, police said.

"It appears that the injuries sustained by the child are nonaccidental trauma," police spokesman Patrick Welsh said. "His injuries were not consistent with a fall, but rather with a severe beating."

The boy died Tuesday at Children's Hospital. His name hasn't been released because authorities can't find his biological mother, who may be homeless.

His foster parents, Ricky and E'von Haney, took him to Centura St. Anthony North Hospital early Monday, and he was then transferred to Children's. The Haneys told police he apparently had fallen from a toilet at their home on West 135th Court.

No one has been arrested and no suspects have been named.

The boy's foster father remained hospitalized Friday for a mental health evaluation after a "feeble" suicide attempt, authorities said. Ricky Haney is believed to have taken over-the-counter pain and cold medication in the suicide attempt.

Police say the boy had been placed in the home in October by Englewood-based All About Kids, a private child-placement agency that has contracts with various counties.

He was one of four foster children in the home. The others - the dead boy's 14-month-old brother and a 2-year-old boy and his 6-year-old sister - were removed from the home and placed in other foster-care facilities this week.

E'von Haney also has a 14-year-old daughter who lives in the house.

Judy Malin, executive director of the child-placement agency, declined to comment Friday, saying her attorney had advised her that it would be inappropriate to comment during the investigation.

The Haneys had been working with All About Kids for a year but had been with other child-placement agencies for a couple of years before that, police said.

"It appears this is their livelihood," Welsh said.

All About Kids was licensed in February 1997, state records show. Prior to the toddler's death, there were no reports of injured children in the Haneys' care listed in All About Kids' state file.

But both have arrest records.

Thornton police say they arrested E'von Haney, 31, in December after more than $3,000 was found missing during an audit of an after-school program at a local elementary school where she was program director. She was booked on suspicion of felony theft and released pending further investigation, police spokesman Matt Barnes said.

Ricky Haney, 37, was convicted in October for driving while impaired in 1997. He also has six convictions for driving a defective or unsafe vehicle and two convictions for speeding.

Both also have lost their driver's licenses - he for failing to pay child support for a son from a previous marriage and she for paying for a driver's license with a bad check, state records show.

But these haven't kept them from serving as foster parents.

"The law looks at very violent crimes or felony convictions or anything that would be harmful to a child," said Dana Andrews, the state's licensing administrator. "Not paying child support is not grounds for taking a license away." Staff writer Patricia Callahan contributed to this report.

1999 Feb 6