FILE - Kianna Rudesill's 2010 school picture (The Pantagraph, David Proeber)
PONTIAC-- Livingston County State's Attorney Seth Uphoff prepares to examine a 2-year-old case including the death of a foster child to determine exactly what-- if any-- criminal costs ought to be submitted.
Uphoff was not state's attorney on May 4, 2011, when Kianna Rudesill, 4, of Bloomington, passed away of head injuries. She was coping with a Cullom foster family at the time. Former State's Attorney Tom Brown did not file charges in the case.
"This case is certainly awful," Uphoff stated last week. It calls for a extensive and mindful testimonial.
That was good news for Kianna's great-grandmother, Evelyn Rudesill of El Paso.
"I'm happy he's going to look into it," she stated. "It's been 2 years and we need closure.".
While Uphoff stated he knew of the case, nothing had actually come about considering that he took office in November to bring it to the center. That altered last week throughout a juvenile court hearing to identify whether the foster parents' two biological children could be returned to their house.
The two children-- as well as Kianna's three other siblings who likewise were in foster care at the home-- were taken into the custody of the Department of Children and Family Services after Kianna was hurried from the Cullom home to OSF Saint James-John W. Albrecht Medical Center in Pontiac on May 3, 2011.
A 911 caller from the residence said a child having seizure-like issues. The lady was later airlifted to OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria where she underwent surgery for a severe brain injury. She was later taken off life support.
A Peoria County coroner's jury ruled the death a homicide. A report from forensic pathologist Dr. J. Scott Denton indicated Kianna suffered 8 points of effect to her head and face, 7 on her back and 18 on her arms and legs. He said the injuries were "more constant with caused rather than unintentional blunt trauma.".
The Pantagraph has not identified the parents because no criminal fees have actually been submitted against them.
During a preliminary adolescent court hearing regarding custody of the foster parents' biological children, Livingston County Associate Judge Robert Travers figured out the foster mother caused Kianna's death after hearing testament from physicians who dealt with Kianna, a pediatric professional employed on the case and Denton.
That choice propelled the court to require the biological children remain in DCFS custody and for the moms and dads to undergo psychological testing and to meet a clinical psychologist.
During last week's juvenile court hearing, clinical psychologist Dr. Becky Kalvelage-Roth said she met with the moms and dads once a month for the past year. She indicated she found the couple to have very good parenting abilities and recommended their biological children be enabled to return residence.
When pushed by DCFS lawyer Andrew Killian, Kalvelage-Roth stated she believed the foster mother's tale about the incident-- that Kianna threw a temper tantrum and hurt herself. Kalvelage-Roth noted Kianna had reactive attachment disorder, a mental condition that can trigger a child to "impersonate" and throw his/her body around throughout a temper tantrum.
Judge Travers asked Kalvelage-Roth if she had actually received a copy of the testaments of the medical professionals, the pathologist and the pediatric specialist suggesting Kianna's injuries were not self caused. Kalvelage-Roth stated she did.
"Yet you believe the (foster mom) had nothing to do with the death?" Travers asked. "You indicated you think the (foster mother's) story. To believe her is to overlook the testament or disbelieve of 3 physicians. How do you rationalize that?".
Kalvelage-Roth said she believes particular info is allowed court and various other information isn't.
"It matters not exactly what I think about what the court states or (the parents) state," Kalvelage-Roth said. "I did what DCFS asked-- figure out if it is safe to return the children to the house.".
Travers said he had "serious issues that the moms and dads are not taking obligation for their actions." But he also concurred with the moms and dads' lawyer, John Coghlan, who stated the scenario went to a stalemate.
Coghlan stated the parents had done every little thing the court had actually asked; had actually gotten increased visitation rights; and said no proof was ever presented that the couple abused their biological children.
While Travers stated he waited his original ruling, he believed the couples' biological children were suffering by the separation and were being "held hostage" by a goal of finding more proof of parents possible participation in Kianna's death.
He agreed to return the biological children to the residence. A status hearing is scheduled on July 9.
A version of this column originally appeared in pantagraph.com.