DCF Worker Fired As Investigation Into Infant’s Death Continues

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The social worker assigned to investigate Catalina Bruno, the woman accused of killing her son after leaving him in the car, has been fired.

Catalina-Bruno

Catalina Bruno was being investigated by the Department of Children and Families after a crash last November which left her, with her infant son Bryan Osceola on her lap, passed out at the steering wheel. Bruno was charged with a DUI.

After the DUI, Shani Smith of DCF visited Bruno’s home and reported that the safety of the children did not appear threatened and that her drinking was not an issue.

On May 16th, investigators were called out to Bruno’s home at 1071 SW 150th place in West Miami-Dade to investigate the death of her son.

According to Miami-Dade County Police, Bruno put the baby in a car seat and drove home. Upon arriving home, she got out of the car, and left the infant inside the vehicle.

Police said Bruno was inside the house for “an undetermined amount of time,” but that the father, Amos Osceola, would later ask where the child was. At that point, Bruno said she had not taken the infant out of the car.

Bryan’s body temperature was approximately 109F and was later pronounced dead.

Bruno was charged with aggravated man slaughter on a child under 18 and currently remains in jail without bond.

In court, her lawyers asked for a mental evaluation of their client stating that she suffers from postpartum depression and has been off medication for some time because of financial issues.

On Thursday, DCF admitted that Smith, the case worker, falsified documents and lied about ordering an outside evaluation.

“Our review of the case, we found the assessment was not there. In fact, we found it was never done,” said DCF secretary David Wilkins.

Secretary David Wilkins

 

Wilkins fired Smith and has referred the case to prosecutors to see if criminal charges are warranted.

As told by Wilkins, if Smith had done her job correctly, it’s possible that the little boy would still be alive.

Bruno’s attorneys, after hearing about DCF and the caseworker’s neglect, are reviewing how this admission will impact her case.

In addition to being fired, Smith’s more than 100 cases she was previously involved in, since joining DCF in 2011, are being reviewed.

Smith’s supervisor has been taken off the job as DCF investigates his role in the Bruno case.


http://miami.cbslocal.com/2013/05/23/dcf-worker-fired-as-investigation-into-infants-death-continues/

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