DCF Documents Detail Injuries to Jayden Villegas-Morales' Brother | NBC 6 South Florida

DCF Documents Detail Injuries to Jayden Villegas-Morales' Brother

Jayden was in the custody of his father when he died because his baby brother had been seriously injured in the care of his mother a month before, document shows

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    New documents released to NBC 6 by the Department of Children and Families contain details of a disturbing precursor to Jayden Villegas-Morales' fatal injury. NBC 6's Diana Gonzalez reports. (Published Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2013)

    New documents released to NBC 6 by the Department of Children and Families contain details of a disturbing precursor to Jayden Villegas-Morales' fatal injury.

    Jayden was in the custody of his father when he died at age two and a half because his baby brother had been seriously injured in the care of his mother one month before, a document shows.

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    More than 350 pages of documents have been released to NBC 6 by Our Kids and the Children's Home Society, which were involved with the Homestead family of Jayden Villegas Morales in the month before he died at age two and a half. Child advocate attorney Howard Talenfeld said there were documented warning signs that seemed to be dismissed by case managers. The CEO of Our Kids, Frances Allegra, released an emailed statement on the case. (Published Friday, Aug. 2, 2013)

    The DCF documents include notes from an investigator assigned to the case.

    "June 14th, the child whose name is redacted, sustained a fracture through his femur, a bruise on his forehead and cheek,” the investigator wrote.

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    There have been 12 verified deaths due to abuse or neglect in 2013, according to the Florida Department of Children and Families, which announced that it will do a thorough review of them. DCF records frequently mention that the family of 2-year-old Jayden Villegas Morales received services from Project SOS, a Homestead Police Department initiative. Project SOS Executive Director Sandra Nanni said she could not comment on whether DCF informed them that Jayden and his siblings were being removed from their mother and placed with their father in June. Jayden died a month later. (Published Saturday, July 27, 2013)

    There are conflicting explanations for his injuries.

    "The child is 10 months and weighed 11.5 pounds,” a child protective investigator wrote, quoting a doctor at Miami Children's Hospital. The doctor also noted the baby had an "an old fracture of the clavicle."

    "She further reported that the child is delayed: stated he doesn't sit up,” the investigator wrote.

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    In the mother's home, the investigator wrote, "there are 2 pit bulls in the room where the children sleep. The mother's paramour has a history of violence and criminal record."

    The documents state the mom had been referred to services for her and the children that she did not complete.

    On June 18 the investigator went to the family's home to remove the children, and Jayden was the first person she saw when he "came to the door without an adult wearing a diaper and no shirt."

    "The child had no shoes and was taken from the home (DCF custody) in a pair of adult sock(s)," the investigator wrote.

    Six prior reports were listed with no indicators – which means no proof of the charges

    That included a case in November involving another sibling. The investigator said the child "had a big scrape (‘cut') across his whole forehead. There are conflicting explanations about how he got the injury."

    Jayden died in July, allegedly at the hands of his father, Angel Villegas, who is charged with second-degree murder.

    Judge Michael Hanzman had agreed the children could stay with their father. As a result of Jayden’s death, the judge issued an order detailing changes he would make because of what happened.

    The redacted version was provided Wednesday to NBC 6.

    In the order the judge states that preliminary evidence reviewed by the court in this case suggests DCF and the Children's Home Society followed proper protocol in investigating whether Jayden's father posed a risk of harm to the children.

    However, Hanzman said the home studies conducted were "expedited" and that the court has been overly reliant upon these reports in making custody decisions.

    Now, Hanzman said, he will hold an evidentiary hearing before authorizing the placement of any child.

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