MIAMI (CBSMiami) –A 9-year-old boy who was found bruised, naked and severely malnourished while wandering in the street near his North Miami Beach home will remain in foster care along with three of his siblings.
At a hearing on Wednesday before Juvenile Court Judge Cindy Lederman said it still needs to be “made clear” why the 9-year-old child had so many lacerations and bruises on him and had black eyes. It was also revealed that the boy now has a sleeping disorder.
It was also revealed that there are discipline problems and “physical violence” among his three siblings that are under foster care and it was recommended that the parents in this case attend a special parenting class and undergo family therapy.
Judge Lederman told the parents, 34-year-old Marcee “Redd” Strong, and 39-year-old Edward Bailey, that they needed to show stability in their lives before being reunited with their children.
“You need to be able to demonstrate financial stability,” said Lederman. “You also need to stay out of trouble with the law” and she said the parents needed to show stability in the home where they lived.
She also expressed concern that Bailey admitted that he had not had a job since September. Strong said he was drawing unemployment benefits.
Judge Lederman set another hearing for 1:30 p.m. on April 9th.
Department of Children and Families Attorney Christine Lopez-Acevedo said DCF ultimately would like to reunite the children with their parents.
Strong and Bailey refused to comment. Their attorney, Manuel Felipe Garcia, told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench that they “did not want to comment.”
At another hearing on February 22nd, the couple agreed to a consent plea in this case in which they admitted there was a problem in their home that lead to the boy’s harm and medical neglect and required the Department of Children and Families to intervene.
Under the deal, the parents were cleared of some wrongdoing but they also admitted to having some responsibility in this case in which the child required some special care. By asking for help from the state, the parents admitted that they could not provide for his special needs.
The consent plea cleared the way for the state to propose a plan of state care for the four children.
That consent plea was worked out after Juvenile Court Judge Cindy Lederman told an attorney for DCF that the language of the original consent plea was not strong enough.
“We’re ignoring major harm to this child and to not even say that this child was harmed in the plea is unconscionable.”
“He was clearly beaten over and over and over again all over his body,” said Lederman.
“I don’t know how anyone did not intervene and say that there was something wrong and that he needed to be hospitalized.”
“What about evidence of all the bruises marks. He has 100 of them all over his body,” said Lederman.
DCF Christine Lopez-Acevedo said, “Yes, to a certain extent they (the parents) could have done more, not because they didn’t seek medical attention. They did.”
“The kids beat up on each other and they (the parents) are not doing enough to stop this. Maybe they don’t know how.”
“How could this happen?” asked Lederman. “This child had so many marks over his body. You tell me it’s not neglect and you tell me there’s no risk of harm.”
At a hearing in late January, a therapist testified that the boy self mutilates and eats his own skin.
Strong and Bailey, who have been charged with aggravated abuse and child neglect, were in jail until they posted their bonds of $65,000 and $60,000 respectively.
It was January 28th when the 9-year-old boy was discovered outside his home. Police say he was 35 pounds and about the weight of child who is between three and five years old.
Some say it’s a miracle the child survived and a picture that was shown of him in court in late January showed his frail legs. At the time, Judge Lederman said, “He looks like he came from Auschwitz.”
North Miami Beach Police called this one of the most severe cases they have ever seen.
Police say Strong admitted to failing to protect the child from others and not properly supervising him and getting the medical attention he needs in a timely manner. Strong did deny abusing the child.
Police say Bailey claimed he did not abuse the child but admitted he allowed others to do so without his intervention.
Strong and Bailey have a total of six children. A fifth child, a girl, is in the custody of the Department of Juvenile Justice and is in the care of a caretaker, says DCF. The 6th child is 18 years old.
The parents have moved away from the home where the child was found wandering in the street in the
14-hundred block of NE 152nd Street. But a neighbor told D’Oench that they had moved.