Antrone Smith (Source: Cincinnati Police Department)
CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -
An independent investigation has been ordered into the case that resulted in 2-year-old DeMarcus Jackson being placed out of foster care and returned to his biological father. His father has since been charged with his murder.
"We want to know what happened and we want to know what the procedures were in place. We've got some idea what the procedures were and they were followed, but if we can prevent this from happening again we want do to that," said Hamilton County Commission President Greg Hartmann
Hartmann and Job and Family Services Director Moira Weir ordered the investigation on Wednesday. The two have asked local attorney Ross Evans to examine the case records and identify any system issues that need corrected.
DeMarcus Jackson had been living with a foster family for about two years before being returned to Antrone Smith, 29, his biological father. Last Friday, rescue crews responded to a home on Bracken Woods Lane for a report of a child not breathing. Jackson was pronounced dead when he arrived at Children's Hospital.
Investigators determined that Demarcus died from blunt force trauma to his abdomen.
On Sunday, Smith was charged with the murder of DeMarcus Jackson. He has pled not guilty to the charges. He is currently being held at the Hamilton County Justice Center on $500,000 bond.
"The Job and Family Services Department conducts its own investigation whenever it is involved with a child who is seriously injured or dies," Hartmann said in a release. "But this warrants an independent review of everyone involved in the placement process to examine the decisions that were made and determine if different actions should have been taken. We owe this to DeMarcus."
Hartmann said the review would take place after the investigation being performed by the Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office so as to not interfere with that work. When asked if the system failed DeMarcus, Hartmann said, "I think we need to be real careful in times like this. We've got to take a look at what happened before we make snap judgements."
The boy's foster father, Joe Tye, says he's been asked not to comment until the investigation is complete, but he says when its over he'll have plenty to say.
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