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Grandmother of murdered foster child said CPS wrongly took sibling


Grandmother of murdered foster child said CPS wrongly took sibling

Print Story Published: 7/20/2010 6:38 pm Share Updated: 7/20/2010 10:30 pm

Murder arrest warrants have been issued for the foster parents of a 3-year-old girl found dead Sunday, Bakersfield Police Department Sgt. Mary DeGeare said. She said the death of Serenity Gandara has been ruled a homicide.

Meantime, there are serious accusations against Child Protective Services. Serenity’s maternal grandmother, Maria Garcia, said CPS retaliated against her after she criticized a social worker for allegedly ignoring reports that Serenity and her brother, 4-year-old Isaiah, were being abused at their foster home.

"You needed to take care of thing when I told you what happened with my kids the other kids. You never listen to me," Maria Garcia said she told the social worker.

Serenity was found dead at the home of her foster parents, Carla and Alberto Garcia, who is Maria’s son. Isaiah was found sleeping in a bedroom.

Police said the Garcias likely fled to Mexico with Carla's three children before Serenity's body was found.

Maria says the CPS worker went to her home while she was at the coroner's office making arrangements to get Serenity's body. She said Serenity’s younger sister, Juliana, 1, was safe at the home with her uncle and several children, but after Maria retuned and then criticized the worker for Serenity's death, the CPS employee took Juliana, and told Maria it was because she left the toddler at home, albeit with family.

"Why you take away my baby she is fine?" Maria said she asked the CPS employee.

Hours after 17 News called CPS Monday, and asked a spokeswoman why they took Juliana, the little girl was returned, with no explanation from authorities. The CPS spokeswoman told us they are not legally allowed to comment on the case.

Garcia says she wanted to be the foster mother for the other children as well, and she is going to fight to get custody of Isaiah.

2010 Jul 20