April 19, 2024

M- Caorals

Healthy and Fitness

KARE 11 Investigates: Hennepin Co. to pay $1.3 million in foster care death

Hennepin County achieved a settlement with the family of a 3-12 months-old woman murdered in foster care. But Arianna Hunziker’s family is trying to find extra accountability.

HENNEPIN COUNTY, Minn. — Hennepin County will pay much more than a million dollars to settle a lawsuit brought by the spouse and children of Arianna Hunziker, a toddler who was murdered by her foster mother and father though under the supervision of the county.

Hunziker was just 3 decades previous when she was discovered “seriously malnourished and dehydrated”. She’d been certain to her mattress with sheets which had been wrapped all-around her neck and human body.

Her foster mothers and fathers, Sherrie and Bryce Dirk had been convicted of Arianna’s murder. Sherrie Dirk was Arianna’s aunt and Hennepin County experienced positioned the very little woman and her brother with the loved ones.

“There had been a lot of red flags,” stated Hunziker’s paternal grandmother Mary Egan.

Egan and Tom Hunziker experienced been caring for Arianna and her brother prior to her placement with the Dirks.

“She was a extremely satisfied, smiling minimal female. She liked to take in. She liked us,” Hunziker explained.

But the few believed their grandkids could have a improved life with younger caregivers. They experienced hoped to continue being section of the kids’ life but say the Dirks minimize them out.

They afterwards uncovered of the severe abuse Arianna endured. 

The grandparents advised KARE 11 when they submitted the lawsuit that Hennepin County had failed to correctly shield the woman and that Allina Healthcare team experienced unsuccessful to observe explain to-tale indicators that she was becoming neglected.

“I just consider they were disregarding, definitely, symptoms of youngster abuse and weren’t stepping up and guarding her,” Egan claimed.

As portion of the lawsuit settlement, Hennepin County will fork out $1.3 million — a lot of the income going to Arianna’s surviving siblings. The county has currently agreed to key foster treatment reforms as aspect of a diverse course motion lawsuit.

“The reality that the county stepped up and was ready to present a stage of accountability seriously matters,” reported the family’s legal professional Jeff Storms.

In a statement, Hennepin County instructed KARE 11: “Arianna’s demise is tragic. The county expresses its deepest sympathies to Arianna’s relatives, mates, provider companies, and all other individuals who have been impacted by her passing. One particular of the county’s best obligations is to shield small children, and the county and its staff feels this decline really deeply. The county has produced historic investments into its kids and families programming in new several years and will continue to do so.”

The lawsuit towards Allina proceeds. 

According to court docket files, Arianna routinely saw Allina companies. And yet no a person sounded the alarm about signs Arianna was harming herself — or her severe pounds reduction although in the Dirks’ care.

As a toddler, alternatively of rising, data display she dropped from the 98th percentile in weight to the 5th percentile in just a calendar year. And she did not get any taller.

“For the light to not go off about this extraordinary body weight loss which is actually indicative of starvation, severe hunger, which is extremely tragic,” Storms stated.

Allina issued a statement to KARE 11 stating: “Arianna Hunziker’s demise is a tragedy, and our hearts go out to all who liked her. Since this situation is at present in litigation, we will not be commenting further.”

Storms suggests Arianna’s spouse and children does not want to see an additional boy or girl put up with the way she did. They want mandated reporters, like health care staff, to shell out more focus to indications of neglect.

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