Two children die after families contacted by DCFS. Coroner horrified by what he saw_freckle removal aloe vera gel

Beth Hundsdorfer·7 min read

Peoria County Coroner Jamie Harwood admits he has seen a lot of horrible things in his 20 years as an emergency room nurse in Chicago trauma centers and five years he has served as county coroner.

But he said he has never seen a worse case of child abuse and neglect than he saw Tuesday.

Harwood was the coroner in the case of 8-year-old Navin Jones, who died Tuesday evening at OSF Healthcare St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria. Navin was in the care of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, but his body was found at his parents’ home. Jones’ family had been in contact with DCFS before his death, according to DCFS spokesman William McCaffrey.

Stephanie Jones, 35, and Brandon Walker, 40, Navin’s parents, face first-degree murder charges in connection with the boy’s death.

“I think there should be a hefty internal investigation by DCFS into this case,” Harwood said. “And if there were failures, those should be remedied.”

The Peoria Journal Star reported Peoria County State’s Attorney Dave Kenny said during the arraignment for Navin’s parents the boy weighed 30 pounds and was living in deplorable conditions. The child was last seen in late October or early November, when was in “relatively good health,” according to the newspaper report.

Harwood declined to comment on Navin’s condition at the time of his death, citing the pending investigation, but did say the cause of his death was homicide and the manner was abuse and neglect.

Eighty miles due north of Peoria in Nelson, another coroner was investigating the death of 3-year-old Tamsin Miracle Sauer. She died in a Sterling hospital in Whiteside County on Saturday. The manner and cause of her death is still under investigation.

Tamsin’s family also had contact with DCFS, McCaffrey said.

Pictured is the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services building in Springfield. Two more children have died after DCFS was contacted.
Pictured is the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services building in Springfield. Two more children have died after DCFS was contacted.

Hiring efforts

Also on Tuesday, DCFS Director Marc Smith filed the first annual report on the department’s plan to address investigator caseloads as a requirement of a federal consent decree. That report, filed in a court document, showed there is a current statewide rolling vacancy percentage of 21 percent, and DCFS has a goal of reducing it to 6% or less.

(editor:)

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