Mark Norris' Father Sues State Over Son's Neglect Death
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
January 7, 2005
ANDERSON, INDIANA--Mark Adrian Norris, Sr., is suing the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, the Madison County Office of Family and Children and Jennifer L. Norris over the death of his son, Mark A. Norris II.
According to the Associated Press, Mr. Norris filed the suit on December 30 seeking unspecified monetary damages.
The suit alleges that the state was negligent because it did not make sure the child's caseworker, Mike Warrum, properly supervised his mother.
"We feel strongly that they dropped the ball," said Mr. Norris' attorney John Eisele. "I don't think there's any question about that if you look at all the facts."
The body of the 8-year-old boy was found by firefighters on January 21, 2003 after the family home in Elwood had been destroyed by fire. Autopsy results confirmed that young Mark, who had cerebral palsy and epilepsy, died of pneumonia at least one day before the fire. Toxicology tests later found evidence that he was malnourished and had not been given prescription medications he needed to treat his seizures.
Mrs. Norris was sentenced in March of last year to nine years in prison after she pleaded guilty to neglecting to seek medical treatment or properly care for her son.
In November, Warrum pleaded guilty to tampering with computer records in connection with the child's neglect and death. In his plea, he admitted that he failed to give his supervisors certain information before Mark's death, and that he back-dated some computer entries to try to cover up his own negligence.
Warrum was supposed to supervise Mark and his siblings under an earlier court order. Prosecutors claimed that he only visited the family once over a several month period.
Warrum was sentenced to one year probation with no jail time.
Investigators had originally suspected that the fire was set deliberately to cover up Mark's death, but they found no evidence of arson.
"The Death of Mark A. Norris, Jr: Was fire a cover-up for his death?" (Inclusion Daily Express)