Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Coming this Sunday in the Miami Herald....

Some very important work coming this Sunday in the Miami Herald, online, and in a 16-page special section in print....

-via the Miami Herald...

Innocents Lost:
The Miami Herald will begin an investigative series exploring what happened to more than 470 children who died, often violently, after the Department of Children & Families had been warned that they or their siblings might be in danger. In print and online, the Herald will tell the story of every child and what went wrong. Here is a sampling of those stories. (Click here.)

The stories were written and edited by Carol Marbin Miller, Nick Madigan, Audra D.S. Burch, Julie K. Brown and Casey Frank.

Haleigh Marie Cain, 2.
via the Miami Herald.
Haleigh Cain's mother, Jessica Krsul, had two habits that worried child-protection workers.

The first, her use of various narcotics, was solved, they believed, when Krsul signed a safety plan saying she would not use illegal drugs or expose her daughter to them.

The second problem was Krsul's history of domestic relationships that often turned violent. The latter danger proved to be the most serious.

Child welfare workers took action, but a report suggests their solutions fell short. They referred Krsul to daycare services and drug treatment, but did not confirm that she followed through. The caseworkers praised Krsul's "strong family support system," but did not factor in that some relatives were also drug users, a death review said.

In March 2007, DCF was told Haleigh's dad, Terry Cain, hit Krsul with a "ketsup bottle," and nearly hit Haleigh, as well. Cain called Krsul the aggressor. And although Krsul and Cain separated, the threat to their infant daughter was left unresolved.

Five months later, another report arrived, this one claiming Krsul was selling drugs from her home, and had been arrested for cocaine possession. The report added "Mom is a very volatile person." And though Krsul refused to take a drug test, she was allowed to sign another safety plan: "I will refrain from the use of illegal substances that would adversely affect my child. I will ensure my child is adequately supervised while in my care."

Jessica Krsul was referred to a "family preservation" specialist for services, but the counseling never occurred because Krsul was uncooperative, a report said. Days later, neighbors reported, Krsul and someone named Tim got into a fistfight, and Tim left with a "busted head."

Dennis Creamer.
Florida Dept. of
Corrections photo.
When Haleigh was 2 years old, she was taken to a party at the home of a family friend by Krsul and her new boyfriend, Dennis Creamer, according to the file. The couple later told investigators that after the party they went home and put the children to bed. The next morning, they said, Haleigh was cold and stiff — long dead.

She was found face-down on the floor of her bedroom, bruised and with a bloody nose. The autopsy showed Haleigh had suffered multiple internal injuries, including a lacerated spleen and kidney, and her liver was so damaged it was almost severed.

Under questioning, Creamer confessed to pushing Haleigh's head into a wall three times, hitting her in the face several times and kicking her in the stomach. "I beat her," he told police. Creamer was ultimately convicted of first-degree murder and aggravated child abuse, and sentenced to life in prison.

"He claimed that he loved Haleigh and never meant to do it," a report said.

Read more cases by clicking here.

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