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Bad News, Good News ... sigh - In the Shadow of Leaves
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Bad News, Good News ... sigh
I wonder if the difference here was at least partly because there was more food around in the USA than in China? A three-year-old alone for 18 days and a two-year-old left for 19 days.

Previous Post on the story of a three-year-old girl starved to death after police arrested her mother and left her locked at home with no food for 18 days. Sat Jul 19, 2003

Now there's another story that perhaps ended more happily, but still points to problems in the system.

Toddler survives three weeks trapped in flat
October 1, 2003
Jacksonville, Florida. A two-year-old girl survived on ketchup, mustard and dried pasta for nearly three weeks after she was left home alone while her mother served time in a Florida jail ...
Other links:
Florida Tot Home Alone Nearly 3 Weeks, Survives
Tue September 30, 2003 05:41 PM ET
Sisyphus Shrugged has more background at
Toddler survives over two weeks alone on what she could find
Associated Press Writer

Created: 9/30/2003 7:57:24 AM; Updated: 9/30/2003 5:40:21 PM


240 words


Source: Associated Press
A Jacksonville mother who pleaded no contest to leaving her 2-year-old daughter home alone for 19 days when she was in jail has been arrested for violating her probation and now faces up to five years in prison.. Dakeysha Lee appeared in court Tuesday after the Florida Department of Corrections reported she had changed addresses without notifying her probation officer. She had also failed to perform the 50 hours of community service required under her plea agreement. 19 DAYS ALONE. Lee,

Published on July 28, 2005, Page 8B, Miami Herald, The (FL)

149 words

Source: Associated Press
A Jacksonville mother who allegedly left her 2-year-old daughter alone for almost three weeks in 2003 missed a divorce hearing, possibly hurting her chance of regaining custody of the child.. Dakeysha Lee, 23, mistakenly thought her case had been postponed, said Rodney Gregory, her attorney. Lee was arrested in 2003 on misdemeanor assault and shoplifting charges. Her estranged husband, Ogden Lee, said he found his daughter, Brianna, 19 days later in a filthy apartment.. The child had

Published on March 23, 2005, Page 8B, Miami Herald, The (FL)

1023 words


Source: CAROL MARBIN MILLER, cmarbin@herald.com
A Florida woman whose 2-year-old daughter spent 19 days alone in a locked apartment, surviving on ketchup, macaroni and other kitchen scraps, had been brought to the attention of state child welfare officials three times in the past two years.. ``Mom is an unsafe individual,'' someone told the Department of Children & Families' child abuse and neglect hot line back in May. The investigation of that complaint, like the two previous ones, was

Published on October 2, 2003, Page 1A, The Miami Herald

Sisyphus Shrugged
01:54 pm Oct. 2nd, 2003

leading by example
Which brings us to little Brianna, the toddler in Florida whose mother left her alone in their apartment when she went to jail without notifying anyone. Her father found her three weeks later when he ignored the mother's claim that the child was in the care of neighbors and broke into the apartment with the help of the manager.

Besides milk, ketchup and mustard, the toddler had consumed dry brownie mix, jelly, oatmeal cookies and leftover macaroni, Rutherford said.

He said Brianna had apparently clawed the labels off canned goods, trying to pry the cans open.

Deputies found a toilet lid open and believe that the toddler may have drunk from the commode, according to the sheriff.

Let me just interject here to say that given half a chance, this kid could rule the world. What a little hero. I hope to God they get her the hell out of Florida.

Well, it turns out that someone called DCF and told them that little Brianna was not being cared for properly by her mother (who had previously lost a child to DCF on the grounds of unfitness) and that the child was in danger.

Brianna was actually the second of Lee's children to be taken into care by the DCF.

Dakeysha Telita Lee had been taken into state custody herself at about age 13 after she gave birth to her first child, a daughter, DCF abuse reports show. That child was placed in foster care, after the DCF was told that Lee hit her, and was never returned to her, agency records show.

The next report to the DCF -- the first after Brianna's birth -- occurred in August 2001, when a caller alleged that Dakeysha Lee had attacked Ogden Lee with a knife. 'The mother, while holding Brianna, screamed `You are not leaving me. Don't leave me with the baby,' '' the report said.

''There is concern the mother may hurt the baby,'' the report said.

In February 2002, the Florida abuse hot line received a call that Brianna ``was not being supervised by her mother properly.''

Dakeysha Lee had been hospitalized briefly after reporting dizziness. Ogden Lee was at sea with the Navy, and Dakeysha Lee said she ''was having difficulty finding someone to care for the baby,'' according to an abuse report.

Although officials closed the report with a finding that Lee was capable of caring for Brianna, they also were told by a doctor that Lee ``may have a personality disorder.''

Lee's mental health was the subject of the next call to the state's hot line. In May, a caller told child welfare counselors that Dakeysha Lee suffered from an ''undiagnosed'' mental illness.

''Mom screams at whoever she is talking to,'' the report said. ``Many times, you cannot understand what she is saying.''

''Brianna hears mom constantly screaming, and now Brianna constantly screams, as well,'' the report said. ``Mom is an unsafe individual.''

Records show that DCF counselors at one point discussed offering Lee subsidized child care, but it is unclear whether the day care was ever provided.

So how did the personal responsibility Republican administration in Florida respond to this unfortunate situation?

Well first, the newspapers had to tell the police about Ms. Lee's history, because DCF didn't.

They did, however, have this to say:

Although horrified by the turn of events, DCF officials defended their handling of the reports to the agency's abuse and neglect hot line.

''There was no way the department could have foreseen this deliberate and unspeakable act of neglect,'' said Samara Kramer, chief of staff for DCF Secretary Jerry Regier. ``At some point, parents have to be held accountable for their actions. This is one of those times.''

Toddler Recovers While Controversy Swirls Over Responsibility

October 2, 2003 JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Breanna Janay Lee, the 2-year-old girl left alone for 19 days while her mother was in jail, was recovering Thursday while controversy swirled around the case. Both the mother and father have been named in complaints alleging domestic violence and possible neglect, but state welfare officials said investigators determined that the child had not been in danger.

Ogden Lee received temporary custody of his daughter Wednesday and is attempting to gain permanent custody, which had been shared with his estranged wife, Dakeysha Telita Lee.

Police say it was the mother who left the child alone and told no one in an official capacity after she was jailed Sept. 10 on charges of aggravated assault and petit theft.

The Department and Children & Families has 60 days to complete custody process, said Patricia Mallon, a department spokeswoman.

When the child was found Monday, she was nude and was covered in ketchup, mustard and jelly. Broken eggs, urine and feces were found throughout the mother's third-floor apartment. The child ate dry pasta from a pantry and may have gotten water out the toilet to survive, police said.

Although the mother was arrested on a child abuse charge, Assistant State Attorney Libby Senterfitt said Thursday the State Attorney's Office has not yet decided on any formal charges. The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is still tying up some loose ends before presenting a full case to prosecutors.

"We will try to make a decision within 21 days on what charges to file," she said. If convicted of child abuse, the mother could face up to five years in prison, Senterfitt said.

Calls to Dakeysha Lee's public defender, Melina Buncome-Williams, were not immediately returned.

Lee, 33, and his wife were married on Oct. 9, 2001; Breanna was born May 10, 2001, and the Lees separated on Sept. 19, 2002. They had a rocky relationship.

In June 2002, domestic violence charges were filed against Ogden Lee after he and his wife had a heated argument over his three children by another woman. His wife told police he grabbed her around the throat and slapped her. The case was not prosecuted because of lack of evidence.

Ogden Lee did not return telephone calls Thursday from The Associated Press.

The Miami Herald, quoting records from the Department of Children & Families, said the child's mother had been brought to the attention of child welfare officials three times in the past two years.

"Mom is an unsafe individual," someone told the department's hot line in May.

But investigations into that complaint, like two previous ones, was closed with a finding that Breanna was not at risk, according to DCF abuse complaints. Beverly Keneagy, a DCF spokeswoman, refused to release copies of the reports quoted by the Herald, contending they were not public records under state law. DCF officials defended their handling of the calls to the agency's abuse and neglect hot line.

"There was no way the department could have foreseen this deliberate and unspeakable act of neglect," said Samara Kramer, chief of staff for DCF Secretary Jerry Regier.

According to the Herald's account, Dakeysha Lee was taken into state custody herself at about age 13 when she gave birth to her first child, a daughter. The girl was placed into foster care after DCF was told Lee hit her. She was never returned to her mother.

In August 2001, a caller to the hot line alleged that Dakeysha Lee had attacked Ogden Lee with a knife.

"There is concern the mother may hurt the baby," the report stated.

In February 2002, the hot line received a complaint that the little girl was not receiving proper supervision from her mother.

Another agency looking into the case is the Jacksonville branch of the NAACP, said Isaiah Rumlin, the branch president.

"We don't think both sides of the story are being heard," he said.

The child's father, a petty officer second class stationed at Jacksonville Naval Air Station, has set up a trust fund at Vystar Credit Union in Jacksonville to deposit money for the little girl's education. -- WFTV.com

NOTE: this also has an article about:
Scruggs Trial: Mother Guilty of Contributing to Suicide of Son, 12

Petersburg Times
Report: DCF got alerts about mom of tot left alone
By Associated Press
Published October 3, 2003

The Florida Department of Children and Families was alerted at least three times in two years about possible danger to a 2-year-old Jacksonville girl left alone for 19 days while her mother was in jail, the Miami Herald reported.

"Mom is an unsafe individual," someone told the DCF hotline in May, referring to Dakeysha Lee, the mother of Breanna Janay Lee, the Herald said.

In August 2001, a hotline caller said Dakeysha Lee had attacked Ogden Lee, Breanna's father, with a knife, and "there is concern the mother may hurt the baby," according to another report. And a February 2002 complaint said the girl was not properly supervised.

Investigations into all three complaints were closed with findings that Breanna was not at risk.

Dakeysha Lee, 22, now separated from Ogden Lee, was arrested at her workplace and jailed Sept. 10 on aggravated assault and petty theft charges. Authorities say she didn't mention her child.

On Monday, Ogden Lee was let into the apartment and found his daughter unclothed, filthy and suffering from malnutrition. Breanna was treated at a hospital and is now in his temporary custody.

"There was no way (DCF) could have foreseen this deliberate and unspeakable act of neglect," said Samara Kramer, chief of staff for Secretary Jerry Regier.
© Copyright, St. Petersburg Times.
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