Mothers Of Lost Children – Indiana

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5-month-old died Sunday while in foster care; mom might take legal action

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From The Indianapolis Star:

Posted: April 2, 2009

Police say the death this past weekend of a 5-month-old Indianapolis foster child was an accident, but the boy’s mother said Wednesday she blames the Department of Child Services and the baby’s foster parents.

Mason Brown

Mason Brown

Jamie Dukate, 23, said she is considering legal action as a result of the death Sunday of her son, Mason Brown.  “The foster parents were being paid by the state to take care of my son, supposedly better than I could, and now he’s gone,” she said.

Mason was found unconscious Sunday morning in a crib at a foster home in the 5500 block of West Ohio Street.  Dukate said Mason had been placed with foster parents Bryan and Amy Alexander in November after being removed from her because of neglect allegations.  DCS spokeswoman Ann Houseworth said state confidentiality rules prohibited her from commenting, other than to confirm that the Alexanders are licensed foster parents “in good standing with the department.”  A call to the Alexanders from The Star was not returned Wednesday.

DCS has opened an investigation into Mason’s death, which is standard policy when a child dies unexpectedly, Houseworth said.  Sgt. Matthew Mount, a spokesman for the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, said police investigated the death and determined it was likely the result of sudden infant death syndrome.  The Marion County coroner’s office is working to determine the cause of death, which could take several weeks.

Mason was found unconscious in his crib by Bryan Alexander when he checked on the child Sunday morning, according to a police report. The report says Mason had vomit on his face and was blue. Mason was pronounced dead at the house.

Bryan Alexander, who described Mason as “a healthy baby,” told police the boy was placed in his crib about 11 p.m. Saturday.  The report says Amy Alexander woke about 2 a.m. to Mason’s crying, but she apparently did not check on him. It says: “She thought he had fallen back to sleep” because the crying “lasted only momentarily.”

Since October 2007, Mason is at least the 12th Indiana child to die who was involved in an active or recently closed DCS case, or was the subject of a recent report to the agency.

Posted: April 2, 2009
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