Skip to Full Menu

Providing information, education, and training to build knowledge, develop skills, and change attitudes that will lead to increased independence, productivity, self determination, integration and inclusion (IPSII) for people with developmental disabilities and their families.

Benko Investigation Moved To Michigan
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
April 15, 2004

CASSOPOLIS, MICHIGAN--The investigation of Paul "Danny" Benko, the malnourished teenager being treated in a St. Louis, Missouri hospital, was turned over to Cass County prosecutors this week.

Michigan State Police sent the case to Cass County because the town of Cassopolis was the last known Michigan address for Danny's family. Authorities said that the family had been moving around the country, to several towns in different states, in recent months.

Cass County Prosecutor Victor Fitz said Tuesday that his office needed more time to review the case before deciding whether to file charges against Danny's mother, Lora Benko. Neither Fitz nor the state police would disclose details about the findings thus far.

Fitz said the state police is coordinating its investigation with other agencies in Southwest Michigan and around the country.

Danny, 16, was flown to Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital in St. Louis on April 6 after his mother brought him to a Mount Vernon, Illinois emergency room. The teen, who has cerebral palsy, mental retardation and epilepsy, weighed just 40 pounds. He was dehydrated, had bedsores, and appeared to be in shock.

Illinois officials said Danny tested positive for both marijuana and methamphetamine, neither of which he could have taken without assistance.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Lora Benko had been traveling through Illinois with her two teenage sons and her brother. She told social workers she was returning to their home in Niles, Michigan after seeking treatment for Danny in Texas. Records at Michigan hospitals showed Danny had been hospitalized in November, December, January and March, the Post-Dispatch added.

Various news reports noted Thursday that Danny's condition was improving, and that he is slowly being reintroduced to food after several days on intravenous fluids.

WNDU-TV in South Bend, Indiana reported that the hospital is no longer able to comment on Danny's condition at the request of his family.


©2018 The Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities
 370 Centennial Office Building  658 Cedar Street   St. Paul, Minnesota 55155 
Phone: 651.296.4018   Toll-free number: 877.348.0505   MN Relay Service: 800.627.3529 OR 711   Fax: 651.297.7200 
Email:   View Privacy Policy   An Equal Opportunity Employer 

The GCDD is funded under the provisions of P.L. 106-402. The federal law also provides funding to the Minnesota Disability Law Center,the state Protection and Advocacy System, and to the Institute on Community Integration, the state University Center for Excellence. The Minnesota network of programs works to increase the IPSII of people with developmental disabilities and families into community life.