Thursday, December 27, 2007

Mother Sues Over Son's Choking Death


A Morristown woman filed a wrong death lawsuit against a Nashville-based foster care agency because of her son's choking death in a foster home.

Shelly Shelton filed the suit Tuesday. She is seeking $40 million.

"He just wanted to fit in with us adults," Shelton said about her 16-year-old son Jordan Kaleb Shelton. "He didn't want to be treated like a kid.

Jordan struggled in school and ended up in foster care in West Tennessee.

He died in November. Police said his foster father Kenneth Wayne Taylor strangled him.
Taylor, a former bodybuilder, was charged with reckless homicide.

Shelton is suing Taylor, his wife Lisa Taylor and Omni Visions, the company contracted by the state Department of Children's Services.

"I don't know if you have children. What would you take for one of your children?," said Jon Peeler, who is representing Shelton. "More importantly, what would you take if you have one strangled to death?"

Peeler said Omni Visions ignored past complaints about Taylor harming foster kids.

"Omni has been scrutinized before so you have to wonder why DCS continues to contract with Omni Visions," Peeler said. "They keep making mistakes. They keep being paid by DCS."

Omni Visions is one of the state's largest providers of foster care.

Omni Visions declined comment. DCS officials said it is a good provider and the department will continue to do business with Omni Visions. The company has a good record, according to DCS.

Jordan's mother can't believe that. She said the agency needs to be held accountable for what happened to her son.

"I just want something good to come out of this," she said. "You know, this is so bad. It didn't need to happen. Something needs to be done. Something needs to be changed."

Omni Visions was sued in 2006 in another case for allegedly placing a child with a convicted pedophile.

DCS officials said children placed in foster care are sometimes unruly, but policy prohibits foster parents from ever physically assaulting a child.

Original Article -

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