Cindy Rodriguez is the Urban Policy reporter for New York Public Radio.
Grand Jury to Examine Role of City Organizations in Child's Death
Thursday, October 14, 2010
The Brooklyn District Attorney's office has impaneled a special grand jury to hear evidence in the case of the sickly, malnourished 4-year-old girl found dead inside her Brooklyn apartment in October.
The Administration for Children's Services and a Brooklyn non-profit were supposed to be monitoring the child's mother who had tested positive for drugs after giving birth to a baby in November of last year. But ACS has admitted serious mistakes were made and the child, Marchella Pierce, likely wasn't visited for long periods of time. She required both a feeding tube and tracheal tube.
The grand jury will hear evidence concerning the roles of ACS and the Child Development Support Corporation. Both entities have been subpoenaed as well as Northwood Health Systems, the upstate hospital that released the fragile child into her mother's care.
An ACS investigation that began after the child died revealed she had been tied down for long periods of time, her home care was grossly inadequate and that she was hit with a video box as a form of punishment.
The child's mother, Carlotta-Brett Pierce, is currently being held on assault charges and prosecutors says more serious charges are possible. The Medical Examiner still has not determined the cause of the child's death.
As a result of the botched case, ACS and the state agency that oversees it are reviewing several categories of cases.
A spokesperson for the Brooklyn District Attorney says the special grand jury panel will likely take months to conclude.