Brittle bone cases, fractures

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Brittle bone cases, fractures

Postby Marina » Thu Nov 29, 2007 8:28 pm

. ... 7&cxcat=77

Dad won't face child abuse charge


Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Prosecutors have dropped a felony child abuse charge that was filed against a Port St. Lucie father after his infant son suffered serious bone fractures, saying abuse would have been difficult to prove in light of the dad's defense that he suffers seizures and claims the baby suffers from a condition commonly known as "brittle bone" disorder.

The state attorney's office filed paperwork last week dismissing the single count of aggravated child abuse filed against Preston Irving Stanton, 42, who was arrested Aug. 5 after taking his then 5-month-old son to Lawnwood Regional Medical Center and Heart Institute's emergency room.

Doctors found two fractures in the baby's leg, which came about three months after the baby was treated for two skull fractures.

Earlier this year, a doctor also found a deformity in the baby's rib, police said.

Stanton's attorney, Michael Kessler, said he believes the dismissal of the charge exonerates Stanton, who has always maintained his innocence.

He said investigation by medical professionals, lawyers and the child's mother helped build the defense that the baby suffers from a genetic disorder called osteogenesis imperfecta.

This disorder is characterized by bones that break easily, often from little or no apparent cause, according to the Osteogenesis Imperfecta Foundation.

"The family is relieved Mr. Stanton no longer faces a criminal case, but they're very concerned about the well being of the child," Kessler said Wednesday.

Stanton couldn't be reached Wednesday for comment. Kessler said the baby was approved for treatment by Shriner's Hospital.

Assistant State Attorney Hilary Hunt said it was her understanding that osteogenesis imperfecta is difficult to definitively diagnose, so she's not certain the boy has the disorder. But, she said, "paperwork showed there was a likelihood he suffered from this."

Stanton initially told detectives that the boy's leg was injured when his 3-year-old daughter accidentally fell on the baby, but he later changed his story and said he fell on the boy after blacking out during a seizure.

Hunt said the seizure aspect of the defense also would have made the abuse charge difficult to prove to both a judge and a jury.

"To prove a case of child abuse you must be able to disprove to a judge any possible theory of innocence," Hunt said. "We needed someone to testify that there is no way this could have happened because of a seizure, and we were unable to get a doctor to do that."

Stanton's lawyers said they are hopeful now that the criminal charge is dismissed, the state Department of Children and Families also will dismiss action it's taken in dependency court against Stanton involving the same accusations.

Last edited by Marina on Wed Apr 23, 2008 6:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Marina » Mon Dec 10, 2007 11:20 am

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A bittersweet christening for the boy social workers couldn't take away

By NICK PRYER - More by this author »

Last updated at 21:12pm on 8th December 2007

It was a simple, informal ceremony but one that symbolised a family's bittersweet struggle against the social services, the medical establishment and the British legal system.

Brandon Webster was christened in front of his long-suffering parents Mark and Nicky and scores of family members, neighbours and friends in tiny St Martin's Church at Cromer, Norfolk.

The service last Sunday was a fittingly joyful symbol of the couple's High Court victory over Norfolk's social services, who wanted to take 18-month-old Brandon into care straight from birth.

But it was also a poignant reminder of the absence of their three older children, who can be identified only as Children A, B and C. They were seized by Norfolk County Council in November 2003 and forcibly adopted because of false claims of abuse.

Mark, 34, and Nicky, 27, who fled to Ireland to stop Brandon being snatched at birth, this year mounted a successful legal challenge to Norfolk County Council's attempt to take him.

The High Court heard new expert medical opinion that tiny fractures revealed on X-rays of Child B were not caused by violent twisting and shaking, as social services believed – but were symptoms of scurvy, a now rare vitamin deficiency caused by the family GP's advice that the child should be fed on soya milk deficient in Vitamin C.

Nicky Webster with Brandon: 'It was lovely to have all our family and friends in church at Brandon's christening'
Nicky said: "We always find this time of year particularly difficult because we can't stop thinking of our other three children and what they will be doing at Christmas.

"It was lovely to have all our family and friends in church for Brandon's christening. But it was heartbreaking that our other children could not be there.

"We have no idea where they are or what they are doing – we aren't allowed to know. I like to think they are happy and settled."

The High Court case was strictly confined to Brandon. The other three children were taken after the Websters were branded child abusers in a family court hearing in 2004.

Now the couple are preparing to clear their name in the Appeal Court, which, if successful, would remove the legal basis for taking the trio.


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Postby Marina » Thu Dec 13, 2007 7:36 pm

. ... geId=3.2.1

Midyette Deadly Child Abuse Trial Underway

Last Edited: Wednesday, 12 Dec 2007, 10:14 PM MST
Created: Wednesday, 12 Dec 2007, 10:14 PM MST


BOULDER -- Ten-week old Jason Midyette showed evidence of more than two dozen recent fractures at the time of his death, a pathologist said Wednesday during the first day of testimony in the child abuse resulting in death trial for his mother, Molly Midyette.
Dr. John Meyer, who conducted the autopsy of the 10-week old infant following his death March 3, 2006, said there was little chance the injuries - including a skull fracture - could have been the result of accidents.

At such a young age, "They're not really capable of getting themselves into a position where they can get these types of injuries" accidentally, Meyer testified.

He also said tests on the child's tissue and bone structure didn't indicate a likelihood of osteogenesis imperfecta - more commonly known as brittle bone disease.

"They were fairly strong bones that were not easily broken," said Meyer. "I don't believe that Jason suffered from osteogenesis imperfecta."

At one point during his testimony Meyer unveiled a model human skeleton, tagged with a red marker at each point he'd found evidence of healed or partially healed fractures that he believed had been incurred in the past month. Those included 15 separate rib fractures, plus fractures to all four limbs and the skull.

Prosecutors believe Jason Midyette's injuries - including blunt force trauma to his skull that proved fatal - were caused by blows from his father, Alex Midyette.

Alex Midyette, 28, was charged in the same grand jury indictment with child abuse resulting in death, and is slated to go on trial in Boulder District Court January 14.

While Alex Midyette is suspected of causing the actual injuries to the couple's son, Molly Midyette, 29, is accused of placing their child in a position of jeopardy and failing to get him medical help when needed.

Jason Midyette, who would have turned 2 Dec. 17, was brought to Boulder Foothill Community Hospital Feb. 24, 2006 after Jason showed numerous alarming symptoms such as screaming, vomiting, and becoming tense to the point of rigidity.

He was hospitalized, and finally taken off life support March 1, 2006, dying two days later.

Following Jason Midyette's birth, his parents worked a shared schedule in the office of Alex Midyette's father, a prominent Boulder architect.

On days one worked in the office, the other typically stayed home and cared for Jason.

Fourteen months passed between Jason Midyette's death and the May 8 indictment of both his parents for child abuse resulting in death. Both pleaded not guilty.

If either is convicted, the potential sentence would be eight to 24 years in prison.

Molly Midyette's trial is expected to last about two weeks, and defense lawyer Craig Truman told jurors during jury selection that she will take the stand when the defense presents its case.

Truman's cross-examination Wednesday of Meyer suggested the defense may push a theory that Jason suffered brittle bone syndrome.

The case is being heard by eight women and eight men - 12 jurors plus four alternates - who were selected from an initial pool of more than 500 people.


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Postby Marina » Sun Apr 13, 2008 10:07 am

. ... /801260610

Posted January 26, 2008

Ashwaubenon family back together, searching for clean slate

Charges dropped against father accused of abusing 4-month-old

By Andy Nelesen
[email protected]

For the last six months Mike Servais has been a man in a fight for his life — defending himself against a child abuse charge and a 10-year prison stint.

The charge, a felony, was dropped against the 26-year-old Ashwaubenon resident earlier this month, but its aftermath lingers.

"At this point, I have everything that I could want," Servais said this week. "I have my kids back, I have my life back. What I want now is a little bit of closure. What I want now is my good name back.

"I want people to stop looking at me that way. I want people to stop whispering about me."

Servais was arrested and jailed July 20 after doctors at Bellin Hospital and Children's Hospital of Wisconsin found fractures in the legs of Mike's then 4-month-old son Andrew.

Mike and his wife, Leslie, initially thought Andrew was cranky because of a cold and body aches, and they finally took the child to the doctor after Andrew spent several days fussing.

The first visit to the doctor on July 18 was uneventful, but things spiraled out of control during a second appointment the next day, Leslie Servais said.

"I had no idea social services would be at the hospital," Leslie Servais said. "The police were at the hospital, and they took Andrew into protective custody."

Doctors then flew Andrew by helicopter to Children's Hospital of Wisconsin for more examinations. They were told the infant could need surgery and a body cast to mend the fractures they found in his legs.

Dr. Lynn Sheets, medical director of the Child Advocacy and Protection Center at Children's Hospital, deemed the fractures the byproduct of abuse. Sheets and investigators developed a timeline — based primarily on Leslie Servais' statement to Sheets — placing Mike home alone with the child before the symptoms developed.

"I requested for them to run a vitamin D test and a calcium test," Leslie said. "They just said no.

"They told me that I needed to accept the fact that someone had hurt my children. I said it's not possible, and they told me that I was extremely closed-minded and not doing what was right for my children. I said I was doing exactly what's right for my children. There's something wrong."

Brown County District Attorney John Zakowski said he believes someone abused Andrew Servais.

"The child did not have a vitamin D deficiency or brittle bone disease," Zakowski said. "Children's Hospital discounted any kind of medical abnormality."

Zakowski said he had Sheets and others double-check the findings of Dr. Kathy Keller, a pediatric radiologist from Stanford, Calif., who said the infant had classic signs of a vitamin D deficiency — best known as rickets.

"They said you'd be able to tell from an X-ray and from other tests, and they went back and they double-checked and said no, there was no rickets, there was no vitamin D problem," Zakowski said.

Servais spent the weekend in jail and was charged July 23 with physical abuse of a child — a felony that carries a maximum 10-year prison term.

"That was a nightmare … being in jail, being accused of doing something to your kids … it was hard," Servais said.

A court commissioner ordered Servais, a shift worker at an area paper mill, have no contact with Andrew and his twin sister, Ashley. Social workers placed them in the care of Mike's sister, Connie Servais.

The Servaises paid for medical tests that ruled out some bone problems but provided few helpful answers. Keller offered to take a look at Andrew's X-rays.

"After she got the X-rays, she called me on a Saturday night and felt just awful," Leslie Servais said. "She's like, 'I'm so sorry you're going through this. It's happening all over the northern United States.'

"Rickets was around back in the '50s and '60s, but it's coming back because breast-feeding is supposed to be the best thing for your children, but it has its downsides obviously."

She said her children's vitamin deficiency was filled when they were fed baby formula after they were taken away from the parents. Both children now have a clean bill of health, Leslie Servais said.

Armed with the information about Andrew's condition, they provided the medical reports to social workers and prosecutors, but no one jumped into action.

Social workers returned Andrew and Ashley to the Servais' home on Nov. 5 — with the caveat that Mike not be left alone with Andrew. They would ask the Servais family to take lie detector tests — both passed.

Zakowski said he couldn't prove his case against Mike Servais beyond a reasonable doubt in large part because Leslie Servais changed the version of the events and therefore changed the case's timeline, which hinged on when the child began showing symptoms.

"It may have been accidental. It may have been intentional, but we have no doubt the child was abused," Zakowski said. "The question is who did it and being able to prove that beyond a reasonable doubt."

Mike Servais wants to move on with his life and get back to raising a family.

"People read the newspaper and they watch TV and see a person get arrested and charged for something and they assume that the authorities have enough evidence and enough proof to validate the charges," Mike Servais said. "Assumptions are made about me in turn, and they just weren't true, and they were hurtful.

"I want my good name back," Servais said. "I want the shadow of doubt taken away from me. I don't want people to look at me and wonder, because it was never like that before."

Servais said his family has spent nearly $20,000 on legal and medical bills not covered by insurance.

"I don't think I'll ever get an apology from anybody, because by apologizing they are admitting wrong and they open themselves up to lawsuits," Servais said. "They got it wrong. They got it very, very wrong."


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Postby Marina » Wed Apr 23, 2008 6:59 pm

. ... 06284.html

Apr 22, 2008 10:07 pm US/Central

Attorney: CPS Wrongfully Removed Kids From Home
Stephanie Lucero GARLAND (CBS 11 News) ―

An attorney for a Garland family says Child Protective Services wrongfully took two children from their parent's home.

More than two weeks ago, Zoe and Chris Arriaga were taken into foster care. While in the foster home, Zoe died.

Tuesday, April 22, the juvenile court system returned Chris to his parents, Urbano Arriaga and Juana Mireles.

Arriaga said he and his wife are happy their 4-year-old son has been returned to them, but they still want to know what happened to their daughter Zoe.

"Nothing makes up for the loss of Zoe," said the family's attorney, Tony Olvera. "My heart goes out to them because how can you replace a little baby?"

Zoe was ten-months-old at the time of her death. She had a genetic disorder called Trisomy Eight. Zoe wasn't able to breathe or eat on her own and required around-the-clock care.

On April 4, doctors at Children's Medical Center told the couple they found six fractures in her shoulder, arm and leg. Doctors reported the fractures to CPS, saying the injuries were indicative of physical abuse. CPS removed Zoe and Chris from their home.

Zoe died six days later on April 10, which is also Chris' birthday. Zoe's parents haven't told him that his sister is gone yet.

"I'm so sorry that it happened," said Judy Bartlett, Zoe's foster parent. "I'm sorry that they lost a child, because while she was here, she was my child too, and I have prayed for them."

Another investigation is taking place into the foster family.

The fractures and Zoe's death remain a mystery. The Dallas County Medical Examiner's office has not yet completed the autopsy.


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Postby Marina » Sun May 18, 2008 7:34 pm


Posted on Sun, May. 18, 2008

Parents deny allegations of child abuse
They say girl has rare disorder


NEW DOUGLAS --The bedrooms are kept ready for the hoped-for return of the Frederickson children, who were placed in foster care just over two years ago.

Dolls are perched in the 7-year-old girl's room. Toy trucks are parked neatly in the 4-year-old boy's room.

And in the room of baby Emily, who was only 3 months old when Illinois Department of Children and Family Services caseworkers came, a fluffy pillow and pink blanket cover a tiny bed.

Emily, now 2 1/2 years old, is at the center of a mystery that has torn the family apart and resulted in parents Melissa and Paul Frederickson being listed on the statewide DCFS list of child abusers.

In addition, Melissa Frederickson, 32, has been charged in Madison County Circuit Court with aggravated battery of a child, a felony. According to an indictment, Melissa Frederickson "threw Emily and squeezed her body, causing broken ribs and multiple bone fractures." The case is set for trial in July.

Both parents deny that any abuse occurred. And the couple borrowed heavily from relatives to pay for a lengthy report by Dr. Charles J. Hyman, a California-based physician and child abuse expert. It states that Emily's injuries were not caused by abuse, but by a combination of a nervous system disease and bone fragility.

DCFS spokesman Kendall Marlowe has said the agency does not comment about pending cases. A spokeswoman in the Madison County state's attorney's office, confirmed the trial was set for July but declined further comment.

The Fredericksons' situation is similar to that of Wally and Debby Hines of Minnesota, whose case received national attention. The couple fled the country with their 1-year-old son, Wyatt, after he suffered a broken leg and ribs and after they learned child welfare officials were coming to take him. They hid for nine months, staying in Iceland and elsewhere, until a county judge cleared them of wrongdoing. A medical report stated Wyatt suffered from brittle bone disease and had not been abused.

A major difference in the two cases is that the Fredericksons were methamphetamine users convicted in Madison County and placed on probation a few years earlier. That was before Emily was born. They lost custody of their two children for neglect.

However, both say they are now rehabilitated. And DCFS agreed, returning their two children two months after Emily was born Jan. 6, 2006. The family settled in a neatly kept, brick ranch house on Luesscher Road.

But Emily seemed to cry all the time, especially when picked up, and Melissa Frederickson began taking her to a pediatrician regularly -- there were 17 visits. The doctor diagnosed the problem as colic, or stomach irritability.

Melissa Frederickson said that even after treatment, Emily continued crying. Frederickson became worried April 2, 2006, when she noticed an orange fluid in the baby's diaper. She took her baby to the emergency room at Anderson Hospital in Maryville, where X-rays showed Emily had a broken clavicle or collar bone and broken ribs, as well as an older, healing collar bone fracture.

Just a week earlier, according to a DCFS report, a caseworker visited the home to check on the children and noted no injuries.

The emergency room report stated, however, that there was no redness, bruising or swelling and no symptoms of shaken-baby syndrome, which includes retinal bleeding and brain damage. There were no notations of any organ damage.

Yet the report concluded, "Consider child abuse strongly." Emily was transferred that day to Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital in St. Louis. She never came home.

On Aug. 26, 2006, more than three weeks after Emily had been placed in foster care, she was taken to a hospital for a check-up, and new rib fractures were discovered, according to Hyman's report.

"One must consider the possibility that this fracture could have occurred while in the hospital and not while Emily was in the care of her family," the report stated.

"After all that has happened and how we have changed our lives, and we got the kids back, what's happened is just hard to believe," said Paul Frederickson, a foreman at a basement waterproofing company.

When Melissa Frederickson was charged with injuring her daughter, she said at first she could do little but cry for her lost children. Then she said she got on the Internet and researched child diseases, especially those that cause broken bones.

She traveled to Cardinal Glennon and obtained all her daughter's medical records, hundreds of pages, and then sat with a medical dictionary, analyzing the documents.

Eventually, the couple asked family for financial help in hiring Hyman, the California physician and child abuse specialist. Then they waited until Sept. 15, when they received his 25-page report.

Hyman diagnosed Emily as having leukoencephalopathy, a nervous order disease that made it difficult for her to control movement.

"It is my medical diagnosis and opinion that Emily Frederickson had a bone fragility syndrome primarily associated with her leukoencephalopathy," his report states. "There is nothing in the entire clinical picture that argues persuasively that this child was abused."

Hyman was furnished with DCFS caseworker and police investigation reports. He stated that after reviewing these records, he found false the allegation that Melissa Frederickson had tested positive for amphetamines when Emily was born, and he speculated the rumor probably had been started by a foster parent.

"Ever since I was on probation, I have been tested for drugs every month and never tested positive," she said.

Melissa Frederickson said she hasn't seen her daughters since they were taken, but is allowed regular, supervised brief visits with her son.

"Sometimes I just cry about all this," she said, "It's hard not to."

Paul Frederickson is allowed visits with all three children.

"I want to go to trial, but nobody seems to want to get this thing going," she said. "I know I'm innocent."

The immediate problem, the couple said, is getting their children back. If Melissa Frederickson moves out of the house and lives elsewhere, all three children might be returned to her husband.

"It's very sad. I want to be a mom," Melissa Frederickson said. " I feel like what we've been through is enough. I don't want my children to be in foster care any longer. I want them to have at least one parent."

She said that even living apart from her family, she can still be a mother.

"I can clean house for them. I can make dinners for the week and freeze them so Paul can just pull them out of the freezer," she said. "And do the children's laundry and do everything I would do if I was allowed to be with them. And then make sure if he's on his way coming home, he'll call my cell phone to warn me he was getting close to home with the kids, and then I would go."


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Postby Marina » Tue Nov 25, 2008 5:21 pm ... 2/-1/rss02

Baby at center of murder-suicide was ill


HENDERSON — Family members say a baby whose parents died in a murder-suicide amid a child abuse investigation had a genetic disease that made her vulnerable to broken bones.

Jackie Cuin told the Rocky Mountain News in Friday’s editions that her granddaughter, Alyssa O’Shell, had spinal muscular atrophy, a condition that prevents muscle development.

Cuin says Alyssa died Tuesday. The cause of death wasn’t immediately available.
Alyssa’s parents, William O’Shell and Tiffany Cuin-O’Shell, were found dead in their Commerce City home on June 30. Police say it was a murder-suicide by William O’Shell, who was a Lakewood police officer.

Alyssa had been removed from her parents’ home two weeks earlier because she had 11 broken bones. Police said they were close to arresting William O’Shell on child abuse charges.

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Postby Marina » Mon Feb 16, 2009 8:51 pm

Cleared couple face years without children

Four years ago, Mark and Nicky Webster were suspected of child abuse and their three children were adopted. Last week, an appeal court judge agreed they may have suffered a miscarriage of justice.

But the children had to stay with their adoptive parents. In an interview with Victoria Derbyshire on BBC Radio 5 live, they said they were facing up to not seeing them again for years.

Nicky and Mark Webster's children were adopted

When Nicky Webster took her five-year-old son to hospital for a bad virus infection, she could not have foreseen the consequences.

Doctors found a fracture in the child's ankle - and within two days all three of the couple's children had been taken into care.

"They said the only way these injuries occur is through pulling and twisting - we were absolutely horrified," said Mrs Webster.

"If indeed we had been harming him in any way, wouldn't we try to keep that away from anyone's attention?"

"I went on auto-pilot. It was like an out-of-body experience. It was like I was on the outside looking in."

The allegations set the couple at odds as each blamed the other.

"You keep thinking what happened. Of course after a while you start looking at each other," said Mr Webster.

"They were saying this was child abuse - they'd turned us against each other."

There followed a day-long adoption hearing and the children - who were then aged five, three and two - were no longer theirs.

The couple were told by lawyers that they had no argument against social services' case and to "draw a line under it".

But after the couple had their fourth child, they discovered there was another quite plausible explanation for the fractures.

Norfolk County Council took the Websters to court in a bid to take away the new baby, Brandon, believing he was in the hands of child abusers.

Rare deficiency

To fight to keep him, the Websters went to new experts who came up with a startling new conclusion - the children had not been abused; the fractures had been caused by scurvy.

Mrs Webster said her son had feeding problems and was put on to soya formula. But the problem started when he was switched to regular soya milk feeds.

"I wasn't told that they're not nutritionally complete," said Mrs Webster.

"If I'd been told to put him on vitamin supplements, I would have done."

At first, the Websters thought the explanation would mean they could have their children back.

But adoption orders are irreversible, except in exceptional circumstances. The Websters no longer had any claim on them.

Mr Webster said: "There may have been a miscarriage of justice but there was nothing we could do because they had been with the adoptive parents too long.

"It seems a bit silly because if a child is kidnapped, and taken away for three years, what are they going to say? 'It's been with the kidnappers for three years and the parents are not going to get them back'?

"What does this say about the law? That they know there's been a miscarriage of justice but they can't do anything about it."

It seems like the end of the road for the couple. They say they cannot afford to take the case further because their savings were used up when they fled to Ireland to avoid Brandon being taken into care.

Mrs Webster is pregnant again because she said she could not bear for Brandon to grow up without siblings.

The adopted children are no longer theirs. They can contact their natural parents when they are 18. In the meantime, the Websters receive updates each year on how the children are doing.

Last week's judgement was a step closer to the "acknowledgement we needed" that they did not abuse their children, Mrs Webster said.

But it did not clear their names.

Mark says: "If you wanted to be a taxi driver, you can't because you get checked and we're schedule one offenders.

"We're classed as child abusers."

The couple is now facing up to not seeing their children again for at least another 10 years - until the eldest is 18.

But they are trying not to dwell on it and have pledged to "keep on banging on".

Lisa Christensen, of Norfolk County Council, said she sympathised with the couple's plight.

She said the council had tried to "explore in a fair and measured way all the issues raised by Mr and Mrs Webster".

She went on: "When there are significant concerns about the welfare of a child or children, staff have a duty to act and are subject to public criticism if they fail to intervene.

"In 2004 the medical evidence was unanimous and we clearly had a duty therefore to place the matter before the court."

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