exposing the dark side of adoption
Register Log in

Police investigate 7-year-old's hanging death



Police are investigating the death of a 7-year-old foster care child who reportedly hanged himself Thursday in the bathroom of a Margate home.

Officers received a 911 call of a possible hanging in the 6500 block of Northwest Ninth Street about 1:37 p.m., police spokesman Officer Vonley Williams said.

When officers arrived, they found the boy unresponsive, Williams said. The boy was taken to Northwest Medical Center, where doctors pronounced him dead at 2:45 p.m.

Williams said police were told the boy had hanged himself inside a bathroom.

Investigators have learned that the boy was a foster child and had been in the care of the Margate couple for about three weeks. Williams could not say how long the child was under the care of the state, but said he had moved several times.

''Apparently he's got a long history of being bounced around,'' Williams said.

Williams said police are reaching out to the boy's biological family. His guardian has been notified of the death.

Williams said an autopsy is to be performed to determine exactly how the boy died.

''We're not ruling anything out at this point,'' Williams said.

Williams said police have no record of problems at the home aside from a recent car break-in that required the mother to come down to the station.

The family consists of a mom, dad, and two biological children, including an 18-year-old son who placed the 911 call, Williams said.

Williams was unclear whether the family was taking care of any other foster children.

The Department of Children and Families is reviewing the child's case history and the history of the foster family, DCF spokeswoman Leslie Mann said.

''Right now, due to the seriousness of this, we've got a number of reviews kicking in and meetings scheduled,'' she said.

Mann said the child was under the care of ChildNet, a not for profit organization contracted by the state to serve as a local community-based care agency.

ChildNet spokeswoman Sasheika Eugent said she could not discuss any specifics about the child's history in foster care or the history of the foster family he was living with, including whether there were ever any citations or problems with the family. An internal review team is currently investigating the child's entire case history, she said.

''It's a really unfortunate situation and we're very saddened,'' she said. ``At this time, we're launching a full-fledged internal investigation to double- and triple-check the steps that were taken in handling this case.''

Mann said there will also be counseling available for the foster family.

''This boy was loved by many people and there's going to be a number of people grieving over this loss,'' she said

2009 Apr 17