Report Faults Foster Care Agency In Marcus Fiesel's Death
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
November 29, 2006
HAMILTON, OHIO--A state review into the death of Marcus Fiesel has faulted the private foster care agency that placed the 3-year-old, who had diagnoses of autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, with Liz and David Carroll, Jr. last April.
In a 34-page report issued Monday, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services blamed LifeWay for Youth for improperly licensing the Carroll's in the first place, and then failing to follow up on the boy's situation once he was placed with them. The department said, among other things, that LifeWay did not gather enough information during its home study of the Carrolls; under-reported the number of training hours the couple received; accepted a reference from a family member, which is not allowed; and failed to even contact that reference, as is required.
Last week, an independent review by San Diego Detective Victoria Reden came up with more than a dozen recommendations to reform Butler County Children Services, including requiring more in-depth investigations; involving police in every case; conducting better background checks of foster parents; and tracking domestic violence cases.
Reden determined that Marcus would probably still be alive if law enforcement agencies had been required to report domestic violence calls to Children Services. In this case, she said, caseworkers would have known about a June 22 incident between the Carrolls that occurred several weeks before authorities discovered Marcus was dead.
Butler County Social Services took custody of Marcus from his biological mother, Donna Trevino, after he was found wandering the streets in the middle of the night. LifeWay was then contracted to place Marcus in a suitable foster home.
The Carrolls have been charged with murder, involuntary manslaughter, kidnapping, felonious assault and child endangerment charges. Detectives said that on August 4, the couple pinned Marcus' arms behind him, wrapped him in a blanket that they taped around him, and left him inside a locked closet while they went out of state to a family gathering. When they returned two days later, the boy was dead, likely from dehydration and heat stroke, investigators said.
Mr. Carroll has been accused of gross abuse of a corpse and covering up the crime by taking the boy's body to a remote area in nearby Brown County, and trying several times to burn it inside the stone chimney of a house that had collapsed many years ago. Police believe Carroll dumped the rest of the boy's remains in or near the Ohio River.
Mrs. Carroll is also charged in nearby Hamilton County with two counts of perjury for allegedly lying under oath to a grand jury. Officials there claim that on August 15, the couple misled the public by saying Marcus had unexpectedly wandered away while the family was at a Hamilton County park. That prompted a massive, weeklong search involving hundreds of volunteers, even though the Carrolls had known for more than a week that he was dead.
LifeWay, which operates in at least four states, is currently undergoing a recertification process in Ohio.
Many people have criticized the state agency for delaying the report several days while deciding what to include and what to keep confidential.
Donna Trevino is suing LifeWay and several other agencies for her son's "wrongful death". Her attorney said the state's report 'doesn't hurt' her case.
"Agency cited in Marcus case" (Cincinnati Enquirer)
"State: Reform foster system" (Cincinnati Post)
"Detective: Changes would have saved boy's life" (Journal News)
"Foster care reforms advised" (Cincinnati Enquirer)
"Editorial: State report on Marcus is inadequate" (Cincinnati Enquirer)
"Lawyer: State report 'doesn't hurt' wrongful death suit" (Journal News)
"Report: Fiesel Case Review" (Ohio Department of Job and Family Services Office for Children and Families)