Malnourished Mo. girl kept in cage to remain in foster care

Those allegations were that the child had numerous abrasions, burns and infections, which indicated neglect. The Juvenile Office's petition and supporting documentation did not address the search warrant allegations regarding the cage or another accusation that the child had been tied to a chair and thrown down stairs.

The judge's order states that "reasonable efforts to prevent or eliminate the need for removal of the juvenile from the home" were made and that removal of the child was deemed necessary because "safety of the child could not be ensured."

Efforts made after removal of the child included counseling, psychological and/or psychiatric services, substance abuse treatment, visitation and parenting classes, but did not enable the return of the child to the home, the order states.

The order says the child will remain in foster care and that placement of the girl with a relative "is contrary to the best interest of the minor child because no known suitable relative has come forward."

The girl was 3 years old at the time of the hospital visit. After that vistit, she was immediately placed in a doctor's custody before being released from the hospital into the state's custody. Children's Division and Juvenile Office staff filed paperwork that eventually led to the removal of five other children from the Florida Street home of Kaylah Hill and Dustin Richard.

Dr. Hoanh Nguyen from Mercy testified in court Feb. 19 that the girl's condition in the hospital led her and other doctors to determine she had been neglected and needed to be in state custody.

The mother's attorney, Kyle Wyatt, argued the girl's medical records, overall, showed the child was healthy and that the abrasions were the result of a past rash and insect bites — as were diagnosed in a previous doctor's visit in 2013.

Nguyen said those conditions should have cleared up in two weeks with proper care, and the girl's abrasions, specifically those on her feet, were the sign of a much more serious issue.

The girl's condition also prompted a police investigation. Documents related to that investigation included the allegations about the cage and the chair. Wyatt and the parents have denied those allegations, saying no cage exists and that the girl had no signs of blunt force trauma associated with falling down stairs.

The case has been presented to Greene County prosecutors for review, but charges have not been filed.

A disposition hearing in the child custody case has been scheduled for May 13.


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