CHICAGO (CBS) — Records show a caseworker from the Department of Children and Family Services visited the home of a child who died while under the watch of his mother’s boyfriend. The visit was two days before the toddler’s death, and DCFS said Friday the case worker may have filed new records after the child died to show the child wasn’t home during her March 16 visit.
The child’s mother and the babysitter were both charged in connection with 2-year-old Ja’Hir Gibbons’ death this week.
Dejon Waters, 21, of Chicago, was babysitting the toddler Monday in the Washington Park neighborhood when police responded to an emergency call.
Police said the child was unresponsive and had bruises and sores on his body, and there was evidence of abuse months before the boy was killed.
Ja’Hir was taken to the hospital and later died.
“The victim’s abdomen, torso and arms were covered in new and old bruises,” said Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy. “The victim’s face was covered with bruises and abrasions. The victim also had bruising on his forehead, hindquarters, and legs. ”
Waters, the caregiver for Ja’Hir and his five-year-old brother, allegedly admitted to beating the toddler. He has been charged with first-degree murder and is being held without bond.
“He got mad at the victim and struck him multiple times with his hands and a rolled up shirt,” Murphy said. “Defendant Waters said that after striking the victim, the victim began foaming at the mouth.”
The child’s mother, Brittany Hyc, 28, of Chicago, was charged with child endangerment with a $200,000 bond. Police said she left her son alone with Waters, even after knowing he had hit the boy in the past.
Hyc is currently hospitalized for what is described as a mental evaluation.
Authorities say in August of last year, Hyc took Ja’Hir to the doctor for a possible bite on the stomach. She blamed daycare.
In October 2018, a DCFS case worker overheard what the case worker thought was Waters striking the victim.
This month authorities say the boy’s maternal grandparents saw he had bruises.
And last Saturday DCFS attempted to check on Ja’Hir–two days after the toddler died while in the care of Waters.
Investigators later found Hyc’s iPad showed searches for how to hide bruises.
The question now is, why didn’t DCFS remove the boy from the home?
“There are certainly a lot of red flags in this case,” said Charles Golbert, the acting Cook County Public Guardian. “They were not doing a very thorough or aggressive job.”
A DCFS statement sent to CBS 2 Friday said two separate reports with conflicting information were submitted by a case worker who visited the home on March 16.
The first report, filed on March 17, shows two kids were home during a March 16 visit–Ja’Hir and another child, Josiah.
The day after JaHir’s death, she filed a new report that stated only Josiah was home during the visit.
DCFS now says the case worker’s license could be suspended, pending an investigation that is now underway. She was not an employee of the state, but was contracted by DCFS by a private agency called Omni, the agency says.
“During the investigation, the worker will not be permitted to have any contact with children or families,” a DCFS spokesperson said in an email. “Falsifying records will not be tolerated, and DCFS will pursue all available discipline, including termination, if records were falsified.”