FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A grand jury has charged a child welfare caseworker and three other women following the death of a 12-year-old autistic girl who died while under state care.
The cousin who was given custody of Tamiyah Audain after her mother died was among those indicted by grand jurors Tuesday. Audain's emaciated body was found in her caregiver's home last September.
Latoya Patterson faces life in prison after being charged with felony murder. She was arrested Tuesday and was being held without bond.
ChildNet caseworker Jabeth Moye faces second-degree child neglect charges. She remained in jail Wednesday on $7,500 bond.
According to a Lauderhill police report, Audain had extensive bed sores and bone-deep wounds. She weighed only 56 pounds at the time of her death.
Two psychologists, Juliana Gerena and Helen Richardson, both of whom were involved in the girl's care, are charged with failure to report child neglect. Court records show they failed to report evidence of neglect to the Florida Department of Children and Families.
"The death of a child is a tragedy whether they are involved in the child welfare system or not," ChildNet spokeswoman Elizabeth Wynter said in a statement. "As this case has now become a legal matter, it would be inappropriate for us to comment. From the beginning we have been cooperating fully with the DCF, law enforcement and the state attorney's office in this matter. ChildNet takes the immense responsibility of protecting Florida's most vulnerable children extremely seriously; we are constantly reviewing and evaluating our policies and procedures to ensure that we are doing everything in our power to protect children from abuse, abandonment and neglect."
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