Tuesday, June 03, 2008
GEORGETOWN — Police are investigating the death on Friday of a 21-month-old boy, six months after state child protection officials returned him to the custody of his parents.
Christopher Barcenas had a fractured skull and died at Dell Children's Medical Center in Austin after being transferred Friday from a hospital in Georgetown, according to a petition for custody filed in Williamson County criminal court by Grant Holland, a Texas Department of Family and Protective Services investigator.
A judge granted the petition to remove Christopher's 21/2-year-old sister and the boy's twin brother from the custody of their parents, Elizabeth Arellano, 21, and Sergio Barcenas, 22,.
No charges had been filed in connection with Christopher's death by Monday afternoon. Georgetown Police Department investigators would not comment on the case.
A search of public records shows that Barcenas was convicted in a Williamson County court Nov. 1, 2006, on a family violence charge of assault with bodily harm and was fined $4,000. Details of that incident were not available.
According to the petition for custody, Christopher was injured Thursday. Arellano told police that the boy began choking on a chicken nugget when she was out of the room and that he was not breathing when she returned, the petition states. Christopher was taken to Georgetown Hospital and transferred by helicopter to Dell Children's Medical Center, where he was declared dead Friday.
Christopher had a large skull fracture on the back of his head with swelling and retinal bleeding, injuries consistent with a combination of blunt-force trauma and shaking, the petition states.
Christopher's siblings were examined after they were taken into protective custody, the petition states, and his brother had "significant injuries to his chest along with several suspicious bruises."
Protective services officials began counseling Arellano and Barcenas in 2006 after the agency received complaints about violence in their Georgetown home in September and October of that year and complaints about physical and medical neglect of their three children.
"All allegations were ruled out ... but there were concerns regarding the parents' ability to care for three infants, as well as concerns regarding domestic violence," the petition states.
The agency "continued to have numerous concerns regarding domestic violence toward Ms. Arellano by Mr. Barcenas and despite intervention, state agency officials had increasing concerns regarding the safety of the children in the home. In addition, the family had not followed through with safety plans put into place to protect the children," the petition states.
The state protective services department was granted temporary custody of the children in February 2007, according to the petition. The three children were returned to their parents in December 2007.
"By March of 2008, both parents appeared to have made great progress," the petition states.
Arellano had completed parenting classes, undergone individual and family therapy and was participating in a domestic violence awareness support group, according to the petition; Barcenas had finished parenting classes, attended individual and family therapy sessions and participated in an anger management class.
The state agency ceased supervising the family April 9, according to the petition.
"There are no guarantees when dealing with human behavior," protective services spokesman Darrell Azar said Monday. "And when a child dies, we all grieve. But you can never eliminate risk completely."
Azar said 223 children died from abuse or neglect in Texas last year, many of whom were never in state custody. He did not have statistics on the number of cases in which children died after the state returned them to their homes.
Original Article- Police investigate death of Georgetown toddler
My two cents - (Tongue in cheek) CPS great job, another child DEAD and CPS was involved. (Shaking my head once again- will they ever get it right?)