Department of Children and Families Investigator and Her Supervisor Resign

Shani Smith and her supervisor Duray Smith resigned on Thursday.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A Department of Children and Families child protective investigator and her supervisor formally resigned Thursday, effective immediately. Both were the focus of an internal investigation involving the case of Catalina Bruno, charged in the death of her 11-month-old son. The former DCF investigator, Shani Smith, and her attorney David Kubiliun discussed the case. Her supervisor Duray Smith resigned in an email, while DCF Regional Director Esther Jacobo issued a statement.

    A Department of Children and Families child protective investigator and her supervisor formally resigned Thursday, effective immediately. Both were the focus of an internal investigation involving the case of Catalina Bruno, charged in the death of her 11-month-old son.

    On May 23, Shani Smith was given notice of intent to dismiss by DCF, effective in no less than 10 days. On Thursday, the department accepted her resignation in lieu of her termination.

    DCF Secretary Discusses Firing of Child Protective Investigator

    [MI] DCF Secretary David Wilkins Discusses Firing of Child Protective Investigator in Connection With Catalina Bruno Case
    A Department of Children and Families child protective investigator has been fired for falsifying documents in a case related to the boy who died a week ago in his mother’s hot car, the agency's leader said. At a Thursday press conference, DCF Secretary David Wilkins described how employee Shani Smith falsified records after mother Catalina Bruno, 30, was arrested and charged with driving under the influence in November. Smith denies she falsified records, but all available evidence points to the contrary, Wilkins said.

    Supervisor Duray Smith had been placed on paid administrative leave. According to DCF Regional Director Esther Jacobo, the Inspector General's investigation is continuing.

    "The thing everybody is putting it on me that Shani, you should have done mor, you should have done more. I had two supervisors who looked over this case file and nobody said to me, you haven't done enough Shani," Shani Smith said.

    DUI Case Hearing for Mother Charged in Son's Death

    [MI] Catalina Bruno, Mother Charged in Son's Death, Makes Court Appearance in DUI Case
    The Kendall mother charged in the death of her 11-month-old son after he was allegedly left in her car appeared in court Wednesday, requesting to see her other children. Defense attorney Lonnie Richardson spoke on Catalina Bruno’s behalf in court. Defense attorney Lonnie Richardson spoke on Catalina Bruno’s behalf in court. Former Department of Children and Families child protective investigator Shani Smith, who was fired by the agency for allegedly falsifying documents, said that after Bruno was arrested on driving under the influence and child neglect charges in November she sent Bruno to a substance abuse evaluation.

    In November, Bruno had been arrested on charges of child neglect and DUI after she was found passed out behind the wheel of her car with the infant in the front seat, arrest records showed.

    Earlier this month, Bruno was arrested and charged with aggravated manslaughter after her son, identified as Bryan Miguel Osceola, died after he was left unattended in her car.

    Shani Smith said that after the November incident, she sent Bruno to a substance evaluation.

    But DCF said the department conducted a thorough search of its electronic and paper files and has found no record of a substance abuse assessment for Bruno. In addition, the provider that conducts the assessments also has no record of an evaluation ever being requested or conducted.

    "I faxed the referral and got the copy of the faxed referral and cover sheet saying it was sent and I put it in the file," she said.

    Shani Smith has said she is a scapegoat and that she has a Polygraph test to prove she is telling the truth.

    "Absolutely not. Absolutely not. I have no regrets. What I regret is that this baby died. That's teh regret that I have, but I did nothing wrong," Shani Smith said.

    NBC 6 could not immediately get comment from Duray Smith.