DCF releases documents in child neglect case
NORTH MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (WSVN) -- Child welfare officials released hundreds of pages of documents involving the case of a boy who was found wandering the streets, naked and starving.
The Department of Children and Families released over 700 pages on Thursday that drew few, if any, conclusions as to why a 9-year-old boy was found malnourished and bruised in the street in January.
The documents say the boy climbed out a window of his house, naked from a bath and took off. The boy was found in the street weighing only 35 pounds near his North Miami Beach home. "I don't know how any human being, a stranger on the street would not have intervened and said something is very, very wrong here," said Miami-Dade Juvenile Court Judge Cindy Lederman.
According to the report, in 2011 a DCF caseworker looked into the child's eating habits based on a tip. The worker wrote on Dec. 6, 2011 that the victim "needs immediate help. He is psychotic and hears voices. He eats off the floor and from the garbage. He is being fed, but says he is unable to get full. Mom is stressed, concerned and worried."
The case worker goes on to say, "[the school] denied [the mom] the right, she said, to send the child to school with extra snacks."
The mother also says the child's doctor attributed his tiny frame to his premature birth. "They haven't been able to pinpoint whether the malnutrition was due to abuse," said Lissette Valdez-Balle of DCF.
After the boy was found in the street, the worker wrote on Jan. 29 that the "[victim] has been hit with a belt by his parents and brother. He has multiple marks on him. He seems to be malnourished. He weighs 35 pounds, and all of his bones in his body can be seen."
The boy's parents, Marsee Strong and Edward Bailey, have denied all allegations of abuse. The mother, along with other siblings, claim the boy's bruises came from falling down on some of the rocks that line the front yard of the home.
A witness expert told the judge the boy confessed to being afraid of his three siblings who live at home and not his parents. Earlier this month, an uncle taking care of the kids backed out. On Feb. 5, the caseworker "received a call from uncle. [The children] are becoming very aggressive with each other [and] out of control."
The boy remains at Jackson Memorial Hospital, where is he slowly gaining weight.
Strong and Bailey are facing criminal neglect charges.
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