Flawed county system lets kids die invisibly

 

Miguel Padilla, mistreated and abandoned, killed himself at 17

 

Kim Christensen and Garrett Therolf

 

Los Angeles Times

 

October 11, 2009

 

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-miguel11-2009oct11,0,4795548.story

 

Miguel Padilla ran away from a licensed group home in April 2008, but he didn't go far.

Unknown to anyone at the time, the 17-year-old amputee made his way to a stand of trees near the main driveway. Using his one arm, he climbed into the branches, tied a makeshift noose to a limb and hanged himself.

Nine days passed before a staffer found his body at the sprawling LeRoy Haynes Center in LaVerne, coroner's records show -- and then only by chance.

"To our knowledge there was no search by LeRoy's or any other authority," said Dave Rentz, the boy's minister.

Miguel Padilla died much as he had lived: alone and out of sight, his suicide the final step in a failed journey through Los Angeles County's child welfare and juvenile justice systems.

At least 268 children who had passed through the child welfare system died from January 2008 through early August, according to internal county records obtained by The Times. They show that 213 were by unnatural or undetermined causes, including 76 homicides, 35 accidents and 16 suicides.

Eighteen of the fatalities were deemed the direct result of abuse or neglect by a caregiver, subjecting them to public disclosure under a recent state law aimed at prevention.

But Miguel and many others perished all but invisibly, their deaths attracting little or no public scrutiny.

Through interviews and previously confidential records, the newspaper examined his death and that of Lazhanae Harris, a 13-year-old girl slain in March. Both underscore systemic failings, particularly the risks of losing track of abused kids as they commit crimes and "crossover" to the justice system, or as they move through multiple state-licensed homes.

Together, they also illustrate the range of flaws in a system where choices sometimes boil down to leaving children with families that can't or won't care for them, or placing them in foster homes that are no better -- and are sometimes worse.

Trish Ploehn, director of the L.A. County Department of Children and Family Services, said such deaths, though horrific, do not represent the vast majority of the thousands of cases her agency handles each year.

"The tragic lives and deaths of Miguel and Lazhanae only begin to scratch the surface of the extremely difficult, complex and complicated family circumstances that DCFS social workers are faced with every day," Ploehn said.

"It is very rare for a child to die of abuse or neglect while in the care or under the supervision of DCFS," she added, "and we consistently work to perfect our performance to help keep children safe, even after they leave our protection and supervision."

Ploehn said efforts are under way to improve collaboration between juvenile justice and child welfare officials and to intervene swiftly in the lives of troubled families.

By almost any measure, Miguel's life would fit the definition of mistreatment: He was abandoned by his mother, largely neglected by his father and left to struggle with untreated medical problems and depression most of his life.

By the time he died, however, he'd broken the law and moved from the care of the children's services department to that of its Probation Department, which oversees 20,000 juvenile offenders.

Up to half have a history with the child welfare agency, Probation Department Director Robert Taylor said. Ploehn said the proportion was far lower.

In Miguel's case, interviews and records show, the county failed him time and again -- not finding him a stable home, not addressing emotional problems that contributed to his delinquency, not even looking for him when he disappeared.

When the County Children's Commission, a panel appointed by the Board of Supervisors, took the extraordinary step of reviewing Miguel's death and four others among abused children on probation last year, it found "serious and consistent deficiencies" in their care. Four were suicides and one died of disease.

"Had the system met its responsibilities, the committee believes that some of these suicidal youth might have made healthier choices and the fifth might have had his health complaints acted upon more timely," the commission said in a confidential draft report prepared for county supervisors and obtained by The Times.

The draft was never issued in final form.

Abandoned at 10

Miguel Angel Padilla Jr. was born in February 1991 at a Sylmar hospital and later moved with his family to Mexico, where he had two accidents that would shape his life.

When he was about 9, he touched a metal rod to a power line while playing on an apartment building rooftop. He was seriously burned and lost his right arm below the elbow. He later lost the sight in his left eye when a firecracker shattered a pop bottle in his face.

At age 10, he lost his mother, who took his three siblings to Texas and started a new life without him, according to interviews and child welfare records obtained through a court petition.

"Minor's mother left him when he was little and has never made any attempt to visit or call," a social worker's report noted in August 2004.

Shortly after Miguel's mother left, the boy and his father, Miguel Padilla Sr., moved back to Southern California, to the Santa Clarita Valley community of Newhall.

The father worked odd jobs and spent much of his time in Mexico. The boy was raised mainly by his elderly paternal great-grandmother, Maria Arriaga Hernandez, who by all accounts, including her own, was ill-equipped to care for him.

"She had no real control," said Rentz, a minister who was close to the family, "but she provided the best she could."

The family first came to the attention of the children's services department in April 2003, when social workers substantiated allegations that Miguel's father had neglected the 12-year-old's medical, dental and emotional needs.

Their report cited the father's "lack of cooperation," poverty and limited job skills. Records also noted Miguel's suicidal tendencies, which his father attributed to ridicule from other children about his disability.

"Miguel sometimes seems to have a hard time processing information," a follow-up report stated, adding that he used poor judgment and seemed depressed.

Records show that Arriaga, then in her late 80s, went to Mexico with his father for long stretches, leaving the boy with friends or relatives.

Although social workers visited regularly and drafted a mandatory action plan, even its clearest goals -- to get Miguel to school regularly and to get him a prosthetic arm -- were never achieved, documents show.

Arriaga told social workers repeatedly that she had trouble comprehending what they said, even though they spoke Spanish. On the signature line of the parenting plan, she scratched an X.

Even so, there is no evidence that the children's services department tried to remove the boy and find him a more stable environment.

When a reporter visited Arriaga recently at her apartment in Newhall, she referred questions to Miguel Sr., 45.

In an interview, he acknowledged that he lives much of the time in Mexico, where he has two other children. He was unable to drive Miguel to his appointments, he said, because he'd lost his license and was jailed for driving under the influence.

But he denied that he neglected his son or that the boy was emotionally troubled. He suspects foul play in the death, not suicide.

"My son didn't have no problems," Padilla said. "He was just a fighter, that's all, and when I wasn't around for a while he got away from his grandma. She's old and she couldn't handle him too good."

Child welfare records paint a bleaker portrait, saying Miguel sometimes refused to eat and locked himself in the bathroom for hours, crying. At school, he'd skip recess.

"He said at school he stays in the classroom because he can't make friends, except for the second or third graders because they are nicer to him," a social worker wrote in June 2004, when he was 13.

That spring, Miguel was measured for a prosthetic arm he desperately wanted. Months later, he had to be re-measured; he'd missed so many appointments his size had changed.

Meanwhile, he wore a down jacket to hide his disability, said Denise Tomey, executive director of the Carousel Ranch in Santa Clarita, where he spent six months in a riding program for disabled kids.

"He had no self esteem," Tomey said in an interview. "He walked with his head down and he wore that heavy jacket, even if it was 105 degrees out. He thought people judged him because he was missing an arm."

Tomey and Rentz both remembered the boy showing a softer side, such as when he helped other kids at the ranch learn to ride and groom horses.

"I have a heart," he told a probation officer in March 2006. "I care about people. When I have opportunity to do something really bad I think about it."

But he also had a penchant for trouble: He faced charges for allegedly threatening and assaulting a teacher. He also was accused of burglarizing a home, vandalizing cars and tagging a fence with gang graffiti.

Cumulatively the charges were enough to land Miguel in the care of the Probation Department and in a succession of juvenile hall and group home placements.

Along the way, probation reports show, he joined a Newhall gang; picked up the nicknames "Little Shadow" and "Lefty"; and told authorities he used marijuana and alcohol. He liked school but was "not that smart," he said, and during one stretch of heavy absenteeism he pulled straight Fs.

By May 2006, his great-grandmother was overwhelmed. "I cannot take him," she told probation officials. "He is not well. He asks me to make him well. . . . He yells out loud to me, 'Cure me.' "

Miguel spent the last two years of his life in multiple placements, running away at least once before going to the Haynes Center. One probation report called him "a continual behavior problem."

While Miguel was in juvenile detention, psychiatrist Saul Niedorf concluded that the boy's impulse control had been impaired by brain damage from the electrocution. Until then, apparently, no one had considered that possibility.

Niedorf recommended a "structured, therapeutic setting" for Miguel, and he was sent to the Haynes Center, which is licensed to house 72 boys, in January 2008.

The day after his last court hearing that month, his father and great-grandmother left for Mexico, asking a social worker to visit him in their absence. In a March 2008 letter seeking official permission to stop by, the social worker said Miguel had had no weekend visitors for two months.

"I have been informed that the minor has been struggling lately and I believe he may benefit from the interaction," she wrote.

A month later he hanged himself.

Taylor, the county's probation chief, defended his department's handling of the case but acknowledged that the death highlighted the need to better understand why so many children who pass through the child welfare system end up in the care of his agency.

In hindsight, Taylor said, it might have been better if Miguel at a much earlier age had been placed with someone other than his elderly great-grandmother.

"Finding someone who would have been a better caregiver might have resulted in a different outcome," he said. "You just don't know."

As for youngsters who go AWOL from Probation, Taylor said, about 300 were missing at the time Miguel disappeared and he doesn't have the staff to track them down.

Dan Maydeck, president and chief executive of the LeRoy Haynes Center, declined to comment, citing legal and contractual restrictions.

Miguel's death signifies a much broader problem, said Miriam Long, a Los Angeles deputy mayor who worked on children's issues as an aide to former supervisor Yvonne B. Burke.

"A lot of these kids have mental health problems that should have been addressed much earlier in their lives," she said. "Without sounding too much like a bleeding heart liberal, because I'm not one, they could have been redeemed."

But Long said they can be difficult, and many adults would rather not deal with them.

"The teachers were happy when they were finally washed out and gone," Long said. "DCFS was happy when they were gone to Probation, and Probation was glad they were gone and went AWOL."

Before her retirement last year, Burke got board approval to have Probation search for AWOL children and report any deaths confidentially to supervisors.

Seeing no action, her successor, Mark Ridley-Thomas, got the board last month to reiterate Burke's order.

"They don't get it," he said of the department.

Tomey, the ranch director, knows only that children like Miguel can be helped.

"He really was one of those kids that, if he'd been in the right situation, he would have ended up being a totally different person," she said. "His life could have turned out OK, or not. Tragically, it did not."

 

***********

 

 

Child deaths

 

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/traffic/la-me-migueltable,0,4580955.htmlstory

 

This is the Department of Children and Family Services' internal log of 98 fatalities in 2009 (through early August) among children who had passed through the county child-welfare system. It was obtained by The Times and has not been altered, except for the deletion of children's names to protect families' privacy. In most cases, The Times was unable to verify the circumstances the log describes and has not corrected misspellings and typographical errors.

 

 

Age

Race
Ethnicity

Mode of
death

Cause of
death

Narrative

17

Black

Undetermined

Non Abuse/Neglect

On 11/14/08, [boy, 17] was discovered lying unresponsive on railroad tracks. [Boy's] identity remained unknown until 4/29/09, when school staff recognized [boy] on Coroner's Website.

0

Latino

Natural

Non Abuse/Neglect

On 1/04, stepfather found [boy, 0], who had a blanket over his head, was not breathing and had vomit covering part of his body. Paramedics responded to the home and transported [boy] to ER of a local hospital. [Boy's] death was pronounced shortly after his arrival to hospital.

1

Latino

Natural

Non Abuse/Neglect

[Girl, 1] was born prematurely and had multiple, chronic medical conditions since her birth. [Girl] was frequently hospitalized due to complications from her medical conditions. [Girl] recently began bleeding, and physicians were unable to stop the bleedings. on 01/06, [girl] was pronounced dead by physician.

8

Latino

Natural

Non Abuse/Neglect

"[Boy, 8] had a history of severe mental retardation, cerebral palsy, developmental delay, hypotonic. grand mal seizures, and asthma. [Boy] was born out of incest. On or around 1/04/09, [boy] was transferred to Children's Hospital where he died on 01/06/09 while being ""worked up"" for liver transplant."

12

Latino

Suicide

Non Abuse/Neglect

[Boy, 12] hung himself at his home because his mother cut his hair against his will. [Boy] was hospitalized, and reportedly has been declared brain dead. On 1/07, the life support was removed at family's request, and [boy's] death was pronounced on 1/09.

15

Black

Homicide

Non Abuse/Neglect

On 1/10, [boy, 15 ] was on sidewalk from his home when an unknown assailant shot him 4 times. [Boy] was in cardiac arrest upon hospital arrival, and resuscitative efforts were not successful. [Boy] was pronounced death shortly after arrival to the ER.

5

Black

Accident

Non Abuse/Neglect

On 1/07, [boy, 5] and his sibling were passengers in mother's vehicle when she was involved in a single car accident. She lost control of the vehicle, struck a guard rail, became airborne, and landed on an on-ramp. The deaths of both [boy] and his mother were pronounced by paramedics at the scene.

17

Black

Natural

Non Abuse/Neglect

On 1/10, [girl, 17] was pronounced dead at Huntington Memorial Hospital where she had been hospitalized since 12/30/08 for severe kidney failure and other medical problems. [Girl] refused medical treatment and she wanted to die.

14

Latino

Homicide

Non Abuse/Neglect

On 1/10. [boy, 14] was standing outside of his home when unknown assailants fired shots. [Boy] was pronounced dead by physician about two hours after his arrival to hospital.

17

Latino

Natural

Non Abuse/Neglect

On 1/10/09, [boy, 17] returned to Valley Presbyterian with continued back pain accompanied by sever abdominal pain. Exploratory surgery was performed to understand the cause of an aortic dissection that had be discovered. The surgeon found [boy's] intestines covered with gangrene, which was possibly caused by the aortic dissection and the lack of blood to was pronounced dead on 1/12/09.

0

Black

Natural

Non Abuse/Neglect

"On 1/13, mother placed [girl, 0] to sleep in a lateral position. Mother discoverer [girl] unresponsive. Paramedics transported [girl] to Hospital considered ""brain dead"" [girl] died on 1/14."

0

Latino

Undetermined

Abuse/Neglect

On 1/20, Paramedics transported [girl, 0] to ER. Her death was pronounced shortly after her arrival to the hospital. Reporting Party states that on the evening on 1/19, mother and the children had gone to the home of mother's friend where mother got drunk. Mother returned home and went to sleep on a large fold out sofa bed along with Anira and her siblings. Anira was observed to have a dark bruise on her forehead as well as two parallel red marks on her cheek area. Autopsy is scheduled.

0

Latino

Undetermined

Non Abuse/Neglect

On 1/21, when paramedics responded to the home, they found [boy, 0] was unresponsive. Paramedics pronounced [boy's] death at the home. [Boy's] death is described as suspicious. Father has a criminal history and has gang affiliations. Coroner's case no. is 2009-00584.

16

Latino

Homicide

Non Abuse/Neglect

On 1/20, [boy, 16] while riding his bicycle home from school when he was killed very near the school. No further detail regarding the circumstances [boy's] death.

0

Latino

Undetermined

Non Abuse/Neglect

"On 1/22, mother went to ER in a ""pool of blood"". Mother gave birth to baby girl who was deceased prior to delivery. Mother admitted to using ""speed"" for the past ten years. Mother was positive for amphetamine and marijuana. Mother is homeless and rsides in a car."

0

Black

Undetermined

Non Abuse/Neglect

On 1/22, mother placed [baby, 0] to sleep face-down. Three hours later she discovered [babyl] was unresponsive. Paramedics transported [baby ] to the DR where her death was pronounced by physician. Mother admitted to using marijuana.

0

Black

Undetermined

Non Abuse/Neglect

On 1/26, at 4:40 a.m., mother found [boy, 0] unresponsive. Mother noticed blood coming from his nose. Paramedics pronounced death at the scene. An autopsy is pending.

2

Black

Natural

Non Abuse/Neglect

On 1/24, Father found [girl, 2] unresponsive. Paramedics transported [girl] to hospital. Physician pronounced [girl's] death shortly after hospital arrival. [Girl] was born prematurely with neurological complications. She has a history o Cerebral Palsy and Quadriplegia. An autopsy is pending.

0

White

Natural

Non Abuse/Neglect

On 1/29, [girl, 0] who was born prematurely at 28 weeks gestation and had multiple medical problems, died of Natural Causes at Harbor UCLA MC.

17

White

Suicide

Non Abuse/Neglect

On 1/11, [girl, 17] took 15-20 Vicodin. She was treated for an overdose of medication and attempted suicide. On 1/28, [girl] was pronounced dead at Hospital.

1

Latino

Natural

Non Abuse/Neglect

Paramedics transported [girl, 1] to CH. Physicians removed 200 c's of blood from [girl's] stomach. [Girl's] dead was pronounced by H. physician on 02/07/09.

0

Latino

Undetermined

Non Abuse/Neglect

On 02/06, mother placed [girl, 0] to sleep on her stomach between the parents. Father discovered [girl] unresponsive. Mother indicated a history of heart problems in the family. Autopsy is pending.

15

Black

Homicide

Non Abuse/Neglect

On 01/31, [boy, 15] was shot by an unknown assailant multiple times. Paramedics transported [boy] to ER. Physician pronounced [boy's] death shortly after his arrival to hospital.

6

Latino

Natural

Non Abuse/Neglect

On 2/15, paramedics transported [girl, 6] to Hospital. Ashley was in full cardiac arrest when she arrived at ER and she was pronounced dead after her arrival to ER. Ashley had a pre-existing condition called Pyruvate Dehydrogenase Complex Deficiency, which is a metabolic disorder and was not expected to live a long life. A nurse noticed evidence of sexual abuse to Ashley's genitals. An autopsy is pending.

15

Latino

Undetermined

Non Abuse/Neglect

On 2/13, [boy, 15] was attending a school dance when he collapsed. Paramedics transported [boy] to ER. [Boy's] death was pronounced by physician shortly after his arrival. An investigation by school revealed that [boy] may have huffed a computer cleaner and used ecstasy sometime prior to his collapse. [Boy] had a prior arrest last year on charges related to marijuana used. Autopsy is pending.

4

Latino

Accident

Non Abuse/Neglect

On 2/19, [boy, 4] was playing outside unsupervised in front yard of his home. [Boy] was struck by a moving vehicle. [Boy] was transported to ER by paramedics. Physician pronounced death shortly after his arrival.

16

Black

Undetermined

Non Abuse/Neglect

"On 2/22, [girl, 16] was found unresponsive. She was placed with an electrical cord around her neck, tissue stuffed in her mouth, & lotion in her eyes. On 2/23, [girl] was prounounced ""brain dead"". Mother made a decision to remove life support. Physical death took place an hour after midnight on 2/24. [Girl] had psychological problems and was diagnosed with mild mental retardation. An autopsy is pending."

16

Latino

Homicide

Non Abuse/Neglect

On 2/21, an unk assailant shot [boy, 16] in the back area. Despite medical intervention, death was pronounced by physician shortly after his arrival there. [Boy's] gang affiliation is not known. He has an arrest history. Autopsy was completed. Cause of death is gunshot wound to back.

17

Black

Homicide

Non Abuse/Neglect

On 023/23, [boy, 17] was riding on a public bus when an unrelated suspect confronted him and shot him in the head. Paramedics responded to the scene where his death was pronounced. [Boy] was gang affiliated and had an arrest history. Autopsy completed.

0

White

Natural

Non Abuse/Neglect

On 2/27, [boy, 0] died at Mattel Children's Hospital as a result of an infection and complications acquired after heart surgery. [Boy] remained in the hospital's ICU unit until her death.

5

Black

Natural

Non Abuse/Neglect

On 3/4, Day Care staff found [girl, 5 ] not breathing. Paramedics transported [girl] to Hospital. She was pronounced dead shortly after her arrival to ER. The doctor believes the probable cause of death is cardio-pulmonary arrest with possible gastro intestinal hemorrhage and aspiration. [Girl's] dead did not become a coroner's case.

0

Black

Natural

Non Abuse/Neglect

On 2/27, mother was transported to hospital. Mother suffered hypertension and was noncompliant with medication, tested positive for cocaine. A decision was made to terminate her pregnancy, and [girl, 0 ] was delivered with no signs of life and was pronounced dead on 2/28. Mother progressed to brain death, and she was pronounced dead on 3/2.

13

Black

Homicide

Non Abuse/Neglect

On 3/7. [girl, 13] was found stabbed at an abandoned apartment bldg. [Girl] was transported to St. Francis Medical Center where she was pronounced dead on arrival. [Girl] was considered AWOL from her faster home and she may have been staying with her biological mother prior to her death.

16

Latino

Homicide

Non Abuse/Neglect

On 3/13. [boy, 16] & a friend got into a verbal argument with suspects. One of the suspects fired shots and struck [boy] and the friend. They both were pronounced dead shortly after their arrival to ER.

0

Black

Natural

Non Abuse/Neglect

On 3/14, Mother noticed [boy, 0] was not breathing. Paramedics transported [boy] to ER. [Boy's] death was pronounced by ER physician. [Boy] had reportedly been ill with cold symptoms for few weeks. Autopsy date is not know.

14

White

Natural

Non Abuse/Neglect

On 3/17, Grandmother accompanied [boy, 14] to a local park for a run. After running, [boy] told grandmother he did not feel well. [Boy's] medical condition deteriorated and ER physician pronounced death a short time later.

0

Black

Medical

Non Abuse/Neglect

On 3/17, [boy] was pronounced dead at Hospital where he was receiving medical treatment after being born premature, which was due to prenatal exposure to illicit drugs. [Boy] suffered from lung problems and never left the hospital after he was born.

17

Black

Undetermined

Non Abuse/Neglect

On 3/17, [girl, 17] was unresponsive and she had foam coming from her nose. Paramedics responded and [girl] was pronounced dead at the scene. It appears that [girl] overdosed on prescribed medication.

2

White

Natural

Non Abuse/Neglect

On 3/22, [boy, 2 ]'s death was pronounced by physician at UCLA Medical Center where [boy] had been hospitalized since 2/19/09. [Boy] was born with multiple, severe and chronic medical problems.

0

Latino

Undetermined

Abuse/Neglect

On 3/25, Mother woke up and found [boy, 0] unresponsive while they were sleeping in the rear seat of a truck that belonged to a good Samaritan. [Boy] was pronounced dead shortly after his arrival to ER. Mother and [boy] were homeless. An autopsy is scheduled for today (3/26/09).

2

Latino

Undetermined

Non Abuse/Neglect

On 3/31, [boy, 2] was pronounced dead at Hospital where he had been admitted on 3/22, due to a near drowning that took place at the home of his maternal grandparents in Palmdale.

0

Latino

Undetermined

Non Abuse/Neglect

On 4/2, father took a nap with [boy, 0]. Father woke up and found [boy] unresponsive. [Boy] was transported to Kaiser Hospital where he was pronounced dead shortly after his arrival to ER.

0

White

Undetermined

Non Abuse/Neglect

On 4/5, the physician at the UCLA Santa Monica observed blood coming from mother's uterus. The physician suspects death was due to placenta separation that was possibly caused by mother's hypertension and her use of methamphetamine that she admitted using two days prior to delivery.

17

Latino

Homicide

Non Abuse/Neglect

On 3/31, [child, 17] was passenger in a moving vehicle when another vehicle began shooting them, and [child] was struck multiple times. Paramedics responded to the scene where death was pronounced.

1

Black

Undetermined

Undetermined

On 4/7, [boy, 1] was found unresponsive. Paramedics transported [boy] to ER. [Boy's] death was pronounced by ER physician shortly after arrival.

10

Black

Natural

Non Abuse/Neglect

On 4/7, [girl, 10] was discovered unresponsive in the group home. Paramedics transported [girl] to ER where physician pronounced death. [Girl] had multiple, significant health condition including Trisomy 13, a Chromosomal disorder. She had a mental capacity of 1 yr old child.

0

Black

Homicide

Undetermined

On 4/5, father was sitting in a SUV with his former girlfriend. Mother who was 33 weeks pregnant started arguing with the girlfriend. The girlfriend threatened to kill mother and then intentionally ran over mother. The baby sustained a skull fracture, multiple intracranial bleeds, and multiple organ failure and served seven hours before dying. shortly after arrival.

17

Black

Homicide

Non Abuse/Neglect

On 4/8, [boy, 17] was shot by an unidentified suspect while standing near the front yard of his house. He was pronounced dead on 4/9. The shooting is believed to be gang-related, however [boy] was not known to have any gang affiliation nor did he have an arrest record.

15

Latino

Homicide

Non Abuse/Neglect

On 4/11, [boy, 15] was attending a party at a hotel located in the city of Rosemead. Suspects entered the room, started shooting, and then fled on foot. [Boy] died at the scene.

17

Black

Homicide

Non Abuse/Neglect

On 4/11, [boy, 17] was walking with a friend when two unknown males shot [boy] multiple times.

5

Latino

Undetermined

Undetermined

On 4/4, [girl, 15] was found unresponsive. Paramedics pronounced [girl's] death at the scene. [Girl] was born premature with multiple developmental disorders.

16

Black

Homicide

Non Abuse/Neglect

On 4/15, [girl, 16] was standing on sidewalk with her mother and a group of friends. An adult woman in wheelchair pulled a knife and stabbed [girl] in the chest area. {Girl's] death was pronounced by hospital physician shortly after her arrival there.

2

Latino

Natural

Non Abuse/Neglect

On 4/14, [boy, 2] was taken to UCLA Medical Center due to vomiting, diarrhea, and possible fever. [Boy] went into cardiac arrest while he was being transferred into the bed in ICU. [Boy] was pronounced dead on 4/15. [Boy] weighed 91 pounds at death.

0

Black

Undetermined

Abuse/Neglect

On 4/17, Maternal great aunt left [boy, 0] on the couch while she went to do laundry. When the great aunt returned, she found [boy] crying and lying on the edge of the couch. [Boy] experienced a severe seizure and was flown via helicopter lo Los Angeles Children's Hospital. [Boy] was diagnosed with subdural hemorrhage, swelling to the brain, and bi-lateral retinal hemorrhage. On 4/19 brain death was confirmed.

16

White

Undetermined

Undetermined

On 4/20, father found [girl, 16] unresponsive. Paramedics pronounced her death at the scene. [Girl] had a history of depression, anxiety, and substance abuse, which included prescription medication. The Coroner's Office believes that [girl] died as the result of an accidental vs. intentional drug overdose.

17

Black

Natural

Non Abuse/Neglect

On 4/5, [child, 17] who was on life support, died as a result of severe chronic asthma and anoxic encephalopathy.

12

Black

Suicide

Non Abuse/Neglect

On 4/26, [boy, 12]'s aunt discovered him with a belt around his neck and hanging from the clothes rod in his closet. Paramedics responded and pronounced death at the scene. [Boy] had a history of depression and was receiving therapy and medication.

0

White

Undetermined

Non Abuse/Neglect

On 5/3, foster mother's adult daughter discovered [boy, 0] unresponsive. [Boy] transported to ER where his death was pronounced by physician.

17

Latino

Homicide

Non Abuse/Neglect

On 5/2, [boy, 17 ] was attending a party. During the party, an argument over a girl ensued and [boy] was stabbed to death.

13

Black

Homicide

Non Abuse/Neglect

On 5/5, [boy, 13] and four of his friends were sitting on a wall in the yard. An unknown assailant began firing a weapon, striking [boy] and one of his friends. [Boy] transported to ER where his death was pronounced shortly after his arrival.

15

Black

Homicide

Non Abuse/Neglect

On 5/6, a suspect walked up to [boy, 15] and shot him multiple times. The shooting is believed to be gang related. He was pronounced dead shortly after his arrival to ER.

17

Black

Homicide

Non Abuse/Neglect

On 5/9, [boy, 17] was shot by an unknown assailant. Paramedics transported [boy] to a local hospital where he was pronounced death shortly after his arrival.

0

Latino

Accident

Non Abuse/Neglect

On 5/13, a drug-exposed infant referral was generated on [boy, 0] after he and his mother tested positive for amphetamine. Baby boy was born 22 wks gestation on 5/12/09. Mother admitted to smoking crystal methamphetamine during pregnancy.M

16

Black

Accident

Non Abuse/Neglect

On 5/19, mother was driving on freeway. [girl, 16] was passenger in the SUV and was not wearing a seat belt. For unk reasons, mother swerved to the left and overcorrected to the right. [Girl] was ejected onto the freeway and was pronounced death at the scene.

0

Black

Undetermined

Undetermined

On 5/21, [girl, 0 ] was discovered unresponsive. Resuscitative efforts were not successful, and [girl's] death was pronounced at the home by paramedics.

12

Latino

Suicide

Non Abuse/Neglect

On 5/16, the 17 yrs old sibling and a friend discovered [boy, 12] hanging by a belt in his parent's closet. [Boy's] x-ray revealed that his is brain dead. After discussing [boy's] prognosis with doctors, the parents agreed to remove him from life support, [boy] died on 5/21.

0

Black

Undetermined

Undetermined

On 5/21. mother discovered [boy, 0] unresponsive on the mother's bed. Paramedics transported [boy] to the ER, where resuscitative efforts were not successful, and death was pronounced by ER physician.

0

Latino

Undetermined

Abuse/Neglect

On 5/26, Paramedics responded to the motel room where parents and children reside. [boy, 0] had been placed to sleep at approximately midnight on 5/26, and parents did not check on him again until 1 yr old sibling awakened mother at noon on that dat. According to the Coroner, [boy] appeared to have been deceased for up to 10 hrs prior to paramedics' arrival.

9

Asian

Accident

Non Abuse/Neglect

On 5/22, mother was stopped in traffic while [girl, 9 ] and her 13 years old sister sat in the back seat. [Girl] was reclining and was only secured by the lap belt. During this time, a large truck swerved and hit the side of the car. [Girl] sustained blunt head trauma and was transported to hospital paramedics' arrival.

0

White

Undetermined

Undetermined

On 5/30, mother found [boy, 0 ] unresponsive. [Boy] was transported to Valley Presbyterian Hospital where he was pronounced dead shortly after his arrival to ER. The hospital social worker suspected [boy] was the victim of an over-lay. An autopsy is scheduled for 6/1/09.

0

Black

Undetermined

Undetermined

On 6/01, mother found [boy, 0] unresponsive. [Boy] was transported to ER where he was pronounced dead.

0

Black

Undetermined

Abuse/Neglect

On 6/4. mother found [boy, 0] unresponsive. Paramedics transported [boy's] body to the Coroner's Office. The mother and father gave conflicting stories regarding [boy's] death.

0

White

Undetermined

Undetermined

On 6/4, mother found [boy, 0] unresponsive. [Boy] was transported to Hospital where she was pronounced dead. SIDS has not been ruled out.

17

Black

Homicide

Non Abuse/Neglect

On 6/8, [boy, 17] was shot three times while standing outside his apartment. It is not know if the shooting was gang-related.

10

Latino

Accident

Non Abuse/Neglect

On 6/16, [boy, 10] was riding in the passenger seat that was being driven by his 18-years old brother. Another vehicle traveling in the opposite direction made left turn in front of the SUV. The SUV struck the other vehicle and [boy] sustained severe head trauma. [Boy] was pronounced dead two days later in LAC+USC Medical Ctr.

2

Asian

Undetermined

Non Abuse/Neglect

On 6/23, [boy, 2] stomach made a big gurgling sound and then he spit up clear saliva. Mother found [boy] unresponsive. [Boy] was pronounced dead shortly after his arrival to ER.

4

Latino

Undetermined

Undetermined

On 6/30, paternal grandfather found [girl, 4] unresponsive. Paramedics resuscitative efforts were unsuccessful.

17

Latino

Homicide

Non Abuse/Neglect

On 6/7, [boy, 17] was shot on a street. [Boy] remained hospitalized until death was pronounced on 6/27/09.

0

Latino

Undetermined

Undetermined

On 7/5, mother went to move [boy, 0] from the bed to his bassinet when she noticed that he was purple and unresponsive. Death was pronounced by paramedics at the home.

0

Black

Undetermined

Undetermined

On 6/29, mother fell asleep. Mother woke up and discovered [boy, 0] unresponsive. On 7/3, [boy] was pronounced dead at Harbor UCLA Medical Center,

16

Black

Homicide

Non Abuse/Neglect

On 7/5, LASD deputies approached [boy, 16] in the city of Compton. [Boy] had a loaded gun and he started running from the deputies. Deputies shot [boy] after he reportedly pointed the gun at them. [Boy] pronounced dead shortly after his arrival to ER.

12

Latino

Natural

Abuse/Neglect

On 7/1, [girl, 12] became unresponsive due to her diabetic condition. [Girl] was in full cardiac arrest when she arrived at the hospital. [Girl] remained comatose throughout her hospitalization. On 7/3, brain death was confirmed by physician.

10

Latino

Accident

Abuse/Neglect

On 6/29, parents were involved in traffic accident in which [boy, 10], [sibling] and [sibling] were all ejected from the van. They were riding in the back of the van which had no seat. [Boy] did not recover from the severe injuries and his death was pronounced by physician at Children's Hospital on 7/6/09.

0

Black

Undetermined

Undetermined

On 7/10, mother left [boy, 0] in the care of his 17 old maternal aunt. When mother returned home several hrs later, she discovered [boy] was unresponsive. [Boy's] death was pronounced by ER physician.

14

Black

Accident

Non Abuse/Neglect

On 7/11, [boy, 14] was participating in a balloon fight with other children in front of her aunt's house. During this time, [boy] darted out into the street between two parked cars and was struck by a passing vehicle. [Boy] was pronounced dead on the same day during surgery at UCLA Medical Center.

3

Black

Natural

Non Abuse/Neglect

On 7/14, [boy, 3] went into cardiac arrest at Whittier Peds. Subacute where he is placed. [Boy] was oxygen deprived at birth, and had a lengthy history of medical complications. [Boy] has been residing in a medical setting for past two yrs.

4

Latino

Homicide

Abuse/Neglect

On 7/18, [boy, 4 ] was found with fatal lacerations to his neck and knife wounds to his left palm and fingers. Mother, was also found dead on the floor with an apparent s-inflicted stab wound to her left wrist and left side of neck. Paramedics pronounced both [boy] and mother dead at the scene.

1

Black

Natural

Non Abuse/Neglect

On 7/19, [girl, 1] was pronounced death at Harbor UCLA Medical Center. She died due to respiratory failure secondary to sepsis due to influenza and staph infection.

1

Black

Undetermined

Undetermined

On 7/15, father went to work and left [boy, 1] with mother. A few hrs later, mother awoke and found [boy] crying and choking. [Boy] was transported to Centinela Hospital where he was resuscitated. [Boy] was pronounced dead on 7/29/09.

7

Latino

Accident

Undetermined

On 7/10, [girl, 7] and her siblings were walking with mother down a street. [Girl] was playing hid and seek, she hid behind a cinder block pillar that was next to an industrial wrought iron chain driven gate of a business. The manager of the business opened the gate with a remote and [girl's] body and head became entangled/trapped in the bars of the gate. On 7/20, [girl] was pronounced dead by the hospital physician.

6

Black

Undetermined

Abuse/Neglect

On 7/23, paramedics responded to an unknown call. [boy, 6 ] was found deceased with multiple bruises in various stages of healing.

16

Latino

Homicide

Non Abuse/Neglect

On, 7/24. [boy, 16] was a passenger in a vehicle that was involved in a police pursuit. The chase ended on foot and [boy] was shot after he reportedly pointed a gun at the officer.

9

White

Accident

Undetermined

On 8/3, [Violet, 9] and her 3 year old sister were traveling southbound on 5 Freeway in a car that was either being driven by the mother or the mother's boyfriend. A truck side swiped the car as it was passing through the city of Oceanside. [Girl] was killed in the accident. Reportedly, mother and the boyfriend were intoxicated and the boyfriend was arrested.

14

Black

Accident

Undetermined

On 8/2, [boy, 14] was hit by a vehicle traveling at a high-speed when he attempted to cross Imperial Highway in the middle of the block. [Boy] was dragged approximately 20 to 50 feet. He was pronounced dead shortly after his arrival to ER.

17

Black

Homicide

Non Abuse/Neglect

On 8/3, [boy, 17] was walking near his home when it appears unidentified suspects were waiting in a van and shot at him as he passed. [Boy] was pronounced dead shortly after arrival to the emergency room.

0

Latino

Undetermined

Undetermined

On 8/6, [girl, 0 ] was transported to Medical Center where she was placed on a ventilator. On the evening of 8/6, [girl] was pronounced dead at Miller Children's Hospital.

1

Latino

Homicide

Undetermined

On 8/8, mother discovered [girl, 1] unresponsive in the bed she was sharing with her boyfriend at the boyfriend's house. [Girl] and mother, who is 8 months pregnant, were placed with a non-related family member. [Girl] had multiple scratches on her ears and stomach and a bite mark on her shoulder that mother claimed happened at a daycare.

0

Black

Undetermined

Undetermined

On 8/9, father discovered [girl, 0] unresponsive on the bed which she was sharing with both parents. Paramedics transported [girl] to hospital. [Girl's] death was pronounced by ER physician.