Jul 28, 2014

Did DCFS, Cops Fail Slain Oak Forest Toddler?

Family of a 3-year-old killed in a case of child abuse last year say the agency and department should have removed the girl from the home.

Did DCFS, Cops Fail Slain Oak Forest Toddler?
The family of a 3-year-old Oak Forest girl killed in March 2013 think police and the Department of Children and Family Services should have done more to help the toddler.

Gina Presley died on March 27, 2013, from blunt force trauma, and her death was ruled a homicide. A lawsuit filed in Cook County Circuit Court this week alleges the agency and police failed to investigate previous claims of abuse involving the girl. 

J essie B. Rodriguez, the boyfriend of the girl's aunt and guardian, was charged with first degree murder after Gina was found dead with "large bruises on her head." He has pleaded not guilty. His next court appearance is April 2. 

The girl's paternal grandfather James Fountas claims in the suit that relatives called Oak Forest police and DCFS investigators "multiple times," as recently as a month before her death, reporting drug use in the home, bruises on her body and hair that “was thinning and falling out," according to the suit. 

The family contends Oak Forest police diverted the family's concerns to DCFS, who then allegedly repeatedly ignored calls. 

"I’m confident that we handled those appropriately," said Oak Forest Police Chief Greg Anderson. 

As of Friday, the department had not been served with the lawsuit. 

Don’t miss updates from Patch!