How Could You? Hall of Shame -Kianna Rudesill case UPDATED-Child Death

By on 5-06-2011 in Abuse in foster care, Heather Lamie, How could you? Hall of Shame, Illinois, Kianna Rudesill, Lawsuits, The Baby Fold

How Could You? Hall of Shame -Kianna Rudesill case UPDATED-Child Death

This will be an archive of heinous actions by those involved in child welfare, foster care and adoption. We forewarn you that these are deeply disturbing stories that may involve sex abuse, murder, kidnapping and other horrendous actions.


From Cullom, Illinois, Kianna Rudesill, who turned 4 on February 9, died on May 5, 2011 while in foster care. Her foster parents are under investigation for child abuse leading to her death. An autopsy will be performed on May 6, 2011.

She died at “OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, Peoria, after being flown by helicopter Tuesday from OSF Saint James-John W. Albrecht Medical Center, Pontiac.”

“DCFS is investigating allegations of abuse and neglect by the foster mother and neglect by the foster father, Marlowe said, adding the child suffered “severe physical abuse.”” Kianna Rudesill, 4, “reportedly experienced a seizure at her foster home in Cullom Tuesday and became unresponsive,” said Peoria County Coroner Johnna Ingersoll.”

The foster parents were licensed and had not been investigated by DCFS in the past.

Kianna and her 3 siblings were placed with this family in August 2010. Their mother, who is from Bloomington ”was sentenced to 18 months’ conditional discharge in September for two counts of child endangerment….due to a situation of neglect and domestic violence by the mother’s paramour.”

“Rudesill’s siblings and the foster parents’ two biological children have been removed from the Cullom home and placed in other foster homes.”

Cullom foster parents under investigation in girl’s death
[Pantagraph 5/5/11 by Mary Ann Ford and Edith Brady-Lunny]

Girl’s death result of possible child abuse
[Central Illinois News Center 5/5/11]

Cullom girl’s death probed
[Pontiac Daily Leader 5/6/11]

Update: From the autopsy released Friday afternoon :”“[T]he preliminary results are that she died from head injuries,” said Peoria County Coroner Johnna Ingersoll. “ The Livingston County Sheriff’s Department and my office will be working together to determine how those injuries occurred.”

“Kendall Marlowe, Chicago, a spokesman for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, Friday afternoon said that it was his understanding that Kianna’s injuries were described as severe physical abuse.”

““DCFS just licensed these adults in Cullom as foster parents on July 13, 2010. This licensing process involved a complete and thorough home study and background check,” said Marlowe. “Kianna and her three siblings were placed with the Cullom family on Aug. 24, 2010. Kianna was the oldest of the four children in her family and the couple had two biological children of their own. Kianna and her siblings were the first foster children to be placed in the Cullom residence.” Way to go Illinois!

“Kianna was a pre-kindergarten student at Tri-Point Elementary School in Kempton.”

Girl’s death attributed to head injuries
[Pontiac Daily Leader 5/7/11 by Sheila Shelton]

Update 2: “An investigation of allegations of child abuse against a Cullom woman whose foster child died May 3 has been expanded to include a second foster child.

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services expanded its investigation to include a sibling of Kianna Rudesill, said DCFS spokesman Kendall Marlowe.”

“Ingersoll said she is ready to conduct an inquest into Kianna’s death, but Livingston County sheriff’s police have asked for additional time to complete their investigation.

No charges have been filed.”

“Marlowe said DCFS guidelines require monthly visits by a caseworker and that procedure was followed in this case. The foster parents had not previously been investigated by DCFS.”

Investigation into foster child’s death expands
[Pantagraph 7/8/11 by Mary Ann Ford]

Update 3: “A Peoria County coroner’s jury ruled Tuesday the May 4 death of a 4-year-old girl living in a Cullom foster home was a homicide.

After the ruling, the parents and extended family who attended the inquest, questioned why no arrests have been made in the death of Kianna Rudesill.

“Why hasn’t there been an arrest?” asked Kianna’s mother, Tawnee Jones.

“We want answers,” said Roxanna Burroughs, Kianna’s great-grandmother. “We’re hearing nothing.”

“Livingston County Sheriff’s Detective Doug Bunting testified the department still is awaiting forensic results and the investigation continues. No charges have been filed.

Peoria County Coroner Johnna Ingersoll said a pathologist’s report indicated Kianna suffered eight injuries to her head and face, seven to her back and 18 to her arms and legs. The pathologist said because of the large number of injuries and their location, they could not have been self-inflicted.

Jones, Burroughs and other members of the family wept as Ingersoll read the report.

The Cullom Fire Department received a 911 call at 12:48 p.m. May 3 about a child having seizures at the foster home, Ingersoll said. Rescue workers found Kianna on the floor with bruises above her right eyebrow and ear. She was cool to the touch; rescue workers were told she had been in the shower, Ingersoll said.

Jones said after the inquest her daughter did not suffer from seizures. Ingersoll said the foster mother also told rescue workers she was not aware that Kianna had any history of seizures.”

“Kianna’s aunt, Jaime Burroughs, said the family was told the child was sent to school that morning even though she said she was not feeling well.

Kianna’s three siblings, who were living in the same foster home, and the foster parent’s two birth children were removed from the home after the incident, said Kendall Marlowe, spokesman for the Department of Children and Family Services.”

“DCFS is continuing its investigation into allegations of child abuse and neglect against the foster mother and allegations of neglect against the foster father in Kianna’s death. The agency also is looking into allegations of abuse against the foster mother and neglect against the foster father regarding one of Kianna’s siblings.”

Death of foster child, 4, ruled homicide
[Pantagraph 8/23/11 by Mary Ann Ford]

Names of the foster parents have yet to be officially released. This is now a homicide. Names had better be forthcoming from officials!

Update 4:
“It’s been more than eight months since 4-year-old Kianna Rudesill died at a Peoria hospital after emergency crews responded to a 911 call from her Cullom foster home.

A Peoria County coroner’s jury ruled her death a homicide and her death certificate lists the cause of death as “subdural hematoma and cerebral injuries” and “blunt trauma of the head.”

No one has been charged in Kianna’s death.

“It’s frustrating that nothing’s been done,” said Kianna’s mother, Tawnee Jones of Bloomington. “There’s nothing to bring closure.”

Kianna’s father, James Rudesill, said while nothing will bring their daughter back, “Someone needs to speak up for her.”

“Justice hasn’t been served for Kianna,” added Wendy Palmer, Kianna’s grandmother.

Livingston County Assistant State’s Attorney Randy Yednak said the investigation is still underway; officials are awaiting forensic test results.

“We want to make the best decision; the most informed decision,” Yednak said. “Once the investigation is complete and it’s decided nothing further needs to be addressed, we will make a decision on what, if any, charges will be filed.”

It was shortly before 1 p.m. May 3 when a Cullom Fire Department ambulance responded to the residence because Kianna was having “seizure-like” symptoms, said Peoria County Coroner Johnna Ingersoll.

Kianna and three siblings had been placed in the foster home several months earlier after Jones was charged with two counts of endangering the life or health of a child for leaving broken glass on the floor of their Normal residence. In a plea agreement, one charge was dismissed and Jones was sentenced to 18 months conditional discharge. She has since completed all required courses, including one on parenting.

When rescue workers arrived, Kianna was unresponsive; the girl was first taken to Saint James-John W. Albrecht Medical Center in Pontiac and later flown to OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria.
Jones learned her daughter had been hospitalized about four hours later. When she arrived at Saint Francis, Kianna was in surgery.

“We asked why she was in surgery if she was having seizures,” Jones said. “They had taken her to surgery to open up the right side of her skull because her brain was swelling so bad.”

After the surgery, Jones said she was told Kianna’s “brain was damaged so bad and left unattended too long, there was nothing they could do. The doctor said she wasn’t going to last 24 hours.”

According to a report by Dr. Channing S. Petrak, a Peoria pediatrician called in as a consultant, Kianna had “multiple bruises on multiple body planes, which is highly suspicious for abuse. Kianna’s bruising on her buttocks, ear, thigh, upper arms and hand are commonly seen in abusive injuries.”

Petrak noted in the report, obtained by The Pantagraph, that Kianna’s foster mother said “Kianna often throws herself to the ground, bangs her head, flails and sometimes throws things.” Such an incident happened the day before, the foster mother told doctors.

But, Petrak wrote, “Kianna’s injuries are not consistent with hitting her head during a tantrum.”

Jones and Rudesill said their daughter had never displayed such behavior when she was living at home. They also questioned the foster mother’s allegation made to doctors that Kianna was aggressive toward her sister and had tried to cut her own wrist with a kitchen knife.

After that allegation was made, Kianna was sent to Streamwood Behavioral Healthcare System in Streamwood, Jones said. When it was time for her to return to the foster home, she didn’t want to go, she said.

On May 3, Kianna went to school, but her teacher called the foster home about 9 a.m. saying she was “a little whiny and complained that her leg hurt,” according to Petrak’s report that Yednak said he has reviewed. Kianna stayed in school and came home by bus as usual at 11:20 a.m.

The foster mother told doctors Kianna became upset and wet her pants when she learned her brother was visiting his father that afternoon and when she tried to get her in the shower, she was “uncooperative” but eventually did.

A short time later, the foster mother said she found Kianna ”on the kitchen floor half-dressed, arching her back and stiffening her whole body,” according to Petrak’s report. She called 911, after which Kianna’s siblings and the foster parents’ two biological children were removed from the home.

DCFS still is investigating allegations of abuse and neglect against the foster mother and allegations of neglect against the foster father in relation to Kianna’s death, and abuse allegations against the foster mother and allegations of neglect against the foster father regarding Kianna’s brother, who also was in the foster home.

John Coghlan, the attorney representing the foster parents, declined to comment on the case.”

Still no one charged in Cullom 4-year-old’s death
[Pantagraph 1/14/12 by Mary Ann Ford]

Update 5: Upon review of the 2012 Office of the Inspector General DCFS child abuse and death, we found Kianna’s case. Full pdf can be seen here.

Her case is listed on Page 66 of the pdf. She is “Child #16″

“Child No. 16 DOB 2/07 DOD 5/11

Age at death: 4 years

Substance exposed: No

Cause of death: Subdural hematoma and cerebral injuries due to blunt trauma of the head

Perpetrator: Foster mother, alleged

Reason For Review: Child was a ward

Action Taken: Full investigation pending

Narrative: Four-year-old foster child was allegedly beaten by her 27-year-old foster mother while her 30-year-old foster father was at work. The foster mother called 911 stating the child had a seizure. The child was taken by ambulance to the hospital where she was found to have severe head injuries and numerous bruises on her body. She was airlifted to a children’s hospital where surgery was performed. She died the next day with her biological parents present. The foster parents reported the child’s injuries were self-inflicted from falling and throwing tantrums. Child protection and criminal investigations are pending. The foster parents’ biological children, ages 8 and 5, are now in foster care. They are placed together with a relative.

Prior History: The child and her two younger siblings entered foster care in August 2010 because of domestic violence by the mother’s boyfriend, whom she allowed to care for her children. The children were placed together in the foster home. When their sibling was born in December 2010, he joined them in the foster home. After their sister’s death, the three surviving siblings were removed from the foster home. They remain in foster care in three separate foster homes. They have a permanency goal of return home. ”

It is a shame that the siblings have been separated!

Update 6: “The Department of Children and Family Services has found enough “credible evidence” to substantiate allegations of abuse and neglect against Cullom foster parents who were caring for a Bloomington girl who died May 4, 2011.

The foster parents’ names now will go on the State Central Register of “indicated” child abusers.

Four-year-old Kianna Rudesill was taken by ambulance from the foster home to OSF Saint James-John W. Albrecht Medical Center in Pontiac after emergency personnel received a call from the residence about a child having seizure-like symptoms on May 3, 2011.

She was later flown to OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria where she underwent surgery and was taken off life support.

In August, a coroner’s jury ruled the death a homicide.

A forensic pathologist’s report stated Kianna suffered eight points of impact to her head and face “causing deeper intracranial injuries,” seven on her back and 18 on her arms and legs. He also said the injuries were “more consistent with inflicted rather than accidental blunt trauma.”

The Livingston County state’s attorney has not filed charges in the case. The Pantagraph has not named them because no charges have been filed.

First Assistant State’s Attorney Randy Yednak said Wednesday the office “will review the results of the DCFS investigation to see if it sheds light on our investigation.”

DCFS removed Kianna’s other three siblings and the foster parents’ two biological children from the home at the time of the incident and began an investigation into allegations of abuse and neglect by the foster parents.

DCFS spokesman Kendall Marlowe said Wednesday the department’s investigation concluded about a week ago, and the foster parents’ names will be listed on the State Central Register of “indicated” child abusers.

That means the couple can not be foster parents or work in any job that requires a DCFS background check, Marlowe said.

The State Central Register is not open to the public but is accessible to employers who have a signed release from a job applicant.

An attempt to reach John Cohlan, the attorney representing the foster parents, was unsuccessful.”

DCFS substantiates abuse, neglect allegations against foster parents

[Pantagraph 6/7/12 by Mary Ann Ford]

No foster parent names published and no charges! What is going on here? Coroner says homicide and DCFS substantiates abuse and these people get off scot-free?

 

REFORM Puzzle Pieces

Update 7/April 20, 2013 /Hat tip to a reader for forwarding on

Ridiculously, the STILL UNNAMED foster mom cites RAD as the reason for Kianna’s death! Ugh!
“Livingston County State’s Attorney Seth Uphoff plans to review a 2-year-old case involving the death of a foster child to determine what — if any — criminal charges should be filed.

Uphoff was not state’s attorney on May 4, 2011, when Kianna Rudesill, 4, of Bloomington, died of head injuries. She was living with a Cullom foster family at the time. Former State’s Attorney Tom Brown did not file charges in the case.

“This case is certainly tragic,” Uphoff said last week. “I can only imagine the impact on the victim’s family. It warrants a careful and thorough review. It’s something I will focus on more.”

That was good news for Kianna’s great-grandmother, Evelyn Rudesill of El Paso.

“I’m glad he’s going to look into it,” she said. “It’s been two years and we need closure.”

While Uphoff said he knew of the case, nothing had transpired since he took office in November to bring it to the forefront. That changed last week during a juvenile court hearing to determine whether the foster parents’ two biological children could be returned to their home.

The two children — as well as Kianna’s three other siblings who also were in foster care at the home — were taken into the custody of the Department of Children and Family Services after Kianna was rushed from the Cullom home to OSF Saint James-John W. Albrecht Medical Center in Pontiac on May 3, 2011.

A 911 caller from the residence said a child having seizure-like symptoms. The girl was later airlifted to OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria where she underwent surgery for a severe brain injury. She was later taken off life support.

A Peoria County coroner’s jury ruled the death a homicide. A report from forensic pathologist Dr. J. Scott Denton indicated Kianna suffered eight points of impact to her head and face, seven on her back and 18 on her arms and legs. He said the injuries were “more consistent with inflicted rather than accidental blunt trauma.”

The Pantagraph has not identified the parents because no criminal charges have been filed against them.

During an initial juvenile court hearing regarding custody of the foster parents’ biological children, Livingston County Associate Judge Robert Travers determined the foster mother caused Kianna’s death after hearing testimony from doctors who treated Kianna, a pediatric specialist called in on the case and Denton.

That decision prompted the court to require the biological children remain in DCFS custody and for the parents to undergo psychological testing and to meet with a clinical psychologist.

During last week’s juvenile court hearing, clinical psychologist Dr. Becky Kalvelage-Roth said she met with the parents once a month for the past year. She testified she found the couple to have very good parenting skills and recommended their biological children be allowed to return home.

When pressed by DCFS attorney Andrew Killian, Kalvelage-Roth said she believed the foster mother’s story about the incident — that Kianna threw a temper tantrum and hurt herself. Kalvelage-Roth noted Kianna had reactive attachment disorder, a psychological condition that can cause a child to “act out” and throw his or her body around during a temper tantrum.

Judge Travers asked Kalvelage-Roth if she had received a copy of the testimonies of the physicians, the pathologist and the pediatric specialist indicating Kianna’s injuries were not self inflicted. Kalvelage-Roth said she did.

“Yet you believe the (foster mother) had nothing to do with the death?” Travers asked. “You testified you believe the (foster mother’s) story. To believe her is to disbelieve or ignore the testimony of three doctors. How do you rationalize that?”

Kalvelage-Roth said she believes certain information is allowed in court and other information isn’t.

“It matters not what I believe about what the court says or (the parents) say,” Kalvelage-Roth said. “I did what DCFS asked — determine if it is safe to return the kids to the home.” [Some village is missing its idiot]

Travers said he had “grave concerns that the parents are not taking responsibility for their actions.” But he also concurred with the parents’ attorney, John Coghlan, who said the situation was at a stalemate.

Coghlan said the parents had done everything the court had asked; had received increased visitation rights; and said no evidence was ever presented that the couple abused their biological children.

While Travers said he stood by his original ruling, he believed the couples’ biological children were suffering by the separation and were being “held hostage” by a goal of finding more evidence of parents possible involvement in Kianna’s death.

He agreed to return the biological children to the home. A status hearing is scheduled on July 9.”
Livingston County SA to review death of foster child case

[Pantagraph 4/13/13 by Mary Ann Ford]

Update 8/June 23, 2013 /Hat tip to a reader for forwarding on

The foster parent has been arrested TWO YEARS AND ONE MONTH AFTER THE CORONER RULED HER DEATH A HOMICIDE and is finally named. Also the placing agency has finally been named- The Baby Fold.  In addition, a lawsuit has been filed by the birthfather against the foster parents.

Heather Lamie is 29 and was “indicted Friday by a Livingston County grand jury on two counts of murder in the 2011 death of a 4-year-old Bloomington girl who was under her care.

Heather Lamie, 29, was arrested at her Kankakee County home by Livingston County sheriff’s police late Friday night, said State’s Attorney Seth Uphoff.

If convicted, she faces mandatory life imprisonment, Uphoff said.  In addition to the murder indictments, she also was indicted on one count of endangering the life and health of a child, a charge that is eligible for probation or two to 10 years in prison.

Kianna Rudesill died May 4, 2011, at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, Peoria, a day after an ambulance was called to the Heather and Joshua Lamie residence in Cullom for a child having seizure-like symptoms.

A Peoria County coroner’s jury ruled the death a homicide; her death certificate states the cause of death as subdural hematoma, cerebral injuries and blunt trauma of the head.

Uphoff, who was elected state’s attorney in this past November, said he started reviewing information in the case after a March juvenile court hearing to determine whether the Lamie’s two birth children could be returned to their parents.

“I’ve reviewed an extensive amount of information in the case, spoke with detectives and the inspector general,” he said. “Multiple experts commented on the severity of the injuries; multiple experts found they were not consistent with accidental trauma and were more consistent with inflicted trauma.

“It was hard to ignore,” he said, adding Heather Lamie was the only adult at home when Kianna suffered her injuries.

A report from forensic pathologist Dr. J. Scott Denton indicated Kianna suffered eight points of impact to her head and face, seven on her back and 18 on her arms and legs. A child abuse specialist also said the injuries were “highly suspicious for abuse.”

Tawnee Jones, Kianna’s birth mother, praised Uphoff for his decision to take the case to a grand jury.

“In four months he’s done way more than anyone else has,” she said. “He has no idea how much that means to me.”

But Jones noted, there’s still a court case to go through.

The indictment comes two months after Kianna’s father, James Rudesill, filed a six-count lawsuit against the foster parents and The Baby Fold, alleging each was responsible for the death of his daughter. The Baby Fold of Normal was named in the suit because it was responsible for the placement of Kianna and her three siblings in the Lamie home.

Kianna and two siblings were placed in the home in August 2011; an infant sibling was placed in the home a short time later.

A year ago, the Department of Children and Family Services concluded its investigation in the case and found enough credible evidence to substantiate allegations of abuse and neglect involving one of Kianna’s younger siblings against the Lamies. The Lamies’ names now are on the State Central Register of “indicated” child abusers.

Uphoff said no charges have been filed against Joshua Lamie at this time.

Heather Lamie will be housed at the jail in Pontiac.”

Foster mother facing murder charges in Livingston County

[The Pantagraph 6/21/13 by Mary Ann Ford]

The Baby Fold’s website can be seen here. Their motto  is “We never give up on a child.” Sigh. “The Baby Fold embodies Christian principles to help families and children develop the hope, courage, and love they need to be whole and healthy.” The social worker who approved this couple for the homestudy and whoever was monitoring postplacement should be investigated.

Update 9: “A local woman, charged with first degree murder in the death of a four year old girl, is in court Monday.

Police arrested 29 year old Heather Lamie who served as a foster care mother.She’s facing two counts of first degree murder and one count of endangering the life and health of a child of four year old Kianna Rudesill.

The child died of violent injuries allegedly sustained in Lamie’s Livingston County home.

A Case…nearly Cold:

Rudesill died more than two years ago and until now, her case had gone unsolved, leaving family members with many questions. ‘

Earlier this spring the Livingston County State’s Attorney chose to reopen the investigation.

Now that an arrest has been made, Kianna’s relatives hope the truth behind this tragedy is finally revealed.

Her great grandmother Evelyn Rudesill thanks those who’ve supported them through the struggle.

“We all appreciate everything they’ve done for us, we really do.  We appreciate everybody, and we can’t thank you guys enough for helping us,” said Rudesill.  “We need justice and we need answers.  Our baby girl, she knows we love her with all our hearts and I just wish we could be with her.”

Lamie’s bond has been set at two million dollars.

If convicted she could face life behind bars.

She’s back in court for a pre-trial hearing August sixth. “

Foster Care Mother Arrested: Family Still Searching for Answers behind Child’s Death
[Central Illinois Proud 6/24/13 by Kim Behrens]

Update 10/August 2, 2013

“A Ford County judge rejected a request Thursday to reduce the $2 million bond previously set for Heather Lamie, who is charged with two counts of murder in the 2011 death of a foster child in her care.

Lamie’s attorney, John Coghlan, asked that bond be reduced to $100,000 and told Judge Stephen Pacey he had a $10,000 cashier’s check in hand to bail out his client. In addition, he said various relatives of Lamie posted their real estate properties for 30 percent of the net bond.

But Livingston County State’s Attorney Seth Uphoff argued Lamie, 29, was a flight risk because — if convicted of the murder of 4-year-old Kianna Rudesill — she faces life imprisonment. Lamie also is charged with endangering the life and health of a child, a felony that carries a possibility of two to 10 years in prison upon conviction.

The child, who was from Bloomington, was taken off life support at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria on May 4, 2011, a day after an ambulance was called to Lamie’s Cullom residence for a child having seizure-like symptoms.

Uphoff said several experts, including the emergency room doctor at OSF Saint James-John W. Albrecht Medical Center in Pontiac, where Kianna was taken first; forensic pathologist Dr. J. Scott Denton; and Dr. Channing S. Petrak, a Peoria pediatrician called as a consultant, each previously testified the girl’s multiple injuries were not self-inflicted, as Lamie has maintained.

But Coghlan said a defense expert testified Kianna was a “child with a lot of problems” and her injuries could have been self-inflicted.

“The key is she’s (Lamie) presumed innocent,” said Coghlan, noting Lamie attended all court dates in the juvenile case and all sessions required by Department of Children and Family Services.

Lamie and her husband, Joshua, have two biological children who were taken into DCFS custody after the May 2011 incident. The juvenile court hearings were to determine if the children could be returned home; that judge returned the biological children to the Lamies’ home in April.

Heather Lamie was arrested June 21 after a Livingston County grand jury indicted her on murder charges.

Pacey, who was assigned to the case after Uphoff requested a change of judge, said he wasn’t persuaded for a lower bond by the fact that Lamie attended juvenile hearings.

“The state had her children; she had a good incentive to show up,” he said.

Lamie waived her right to a speedy trial and Pacey set the case for a jury trial on Oct. 21. [2013]“

Bond remains at $2 million in foster mother’s murder case

[Pantagraph 8/1/13 by Mary Ann Ford]

Update 11/August 8, 2013

“A judge agreed Thursday to reduce the bond for a former Cullom woman facing murder charges in the 2011 death of a foster child.

Heather Lamie, 29, now of Kankakee County, was still in custody Thursday night following her court appearance before Ford County Judge Stephen Pacey. She would need to post $100,000 to be released.

Lamie is charged with two counts of murder and one count of endangering the life and health of a child in the May 2011 death of 4-year-old Kianna Rudesill, who was a foster child in her home.

It was the second time in a week that Lamie’s attorney, John Coghlan, asked the court to reduce her original $2 million bond. On Aug. 1, Coghlan requested the bond be reduced to $100,000, requiring her to post $10,000.

Pacey, who is hearing the case after Livingston County State’s Attorney Seth Uphoff requested a change of judge, rejected Coghlan’s argument that Lamie appeared in court as requested during a juvenile court hearing to determine if her two natural-born children could be returned to the home.

The two children were taken into Department of Children and Family Services custody after Kianna’s death.

On Thursday, Coghlan noted Lamie has no previous criminal background and argued a $1 million bond was significant enough to address all concerns, including “the gravity of the situation.”

If convicted of murder, Lamie faces mandatory life in prison.

Uphoff again argued the $2 million bond was appropriate due to the nature and circumstances of the child’s death. After Pacey agreed to lower the bond, Uphoff asked that Lamie be required to wear an electronic monitoring device.

Pacey denied that request. Lamie is not allowed to leave the state and if she does, she is required to waive extradition back to Livingston County.

A jury trial has been set for Oct. 21.”

Bond reduced for woman charged in foster child’s death

[Pantagraph 8/8/13 by Mary Ann Ford]

Update 12:Heather Lamie, 29, now of Kankakee County, was successful on Thursday in having her bond reduced to $1 million, and she posted the necessary $100,000 to be released from custody.

Lamie is charged with two counts of murder and one count of endangering the life and health of a child in the May 2011 death of 4-year-old Kianna Rudesill, who was a foster child in her home.

It was the second time in a week that Lamie’s attorney, John Coghlan, asked the court to reduce her original $2 million bond. On Aug. 1, Coghlan requested the bond be reduced to $100,000, requiring her to post $10,000.

Pacey, who is hearing the case after Livingston County State’s Attorney Seth Uphoff requested a change of judge, rejected Coghlan’s argument that Lamie appeared in court as requested during a juvenile court hearing to determine if her two natural-born children could be returned to the home.

The two children were taken into Department of Children and Family Services custody after Kianna’s death.

On Thursday, Coghlan noted Lamie has no previous criminal background and argued a $1 million bond was significant enough to address all concerns, including “the gravity of the situation.”

If convicted of murder, Lamie faces mandatory life in prison.

Uphoff again argued the $2 million bond was appropriate due to the nature and circumstances of the child’s death. After Pacey agreed to lower the bond, Uphoff asked that Lamie be required to wear an electronic monitoring device.

Pacey denied that request. Lamie is not allowed to leave the state and if she does, she is required to waive extradition back to Livingston County.

A jury trial has been set for Oct. 21.”


Woman charged in foster child’s death released from jail

[Pantagraph 8/8/13 by Mary Ann Ford]

Update 13/September 19, 2013

“Ford County Judge Stephen Pacey denied a request Thursday to delay the trial of a former Cullom woman who faces two counts of murder in the 2011 death of a foster child.

The request was made by John Coghlan, the attorney representing Heather Lamie, 29, now of Kankakee County. Lamie, who was indicted in June, also faces a charge of endangering the life or health of a child in the May 2011 death of Kianna Rudesill.

Rudesill, 4, of Bloomington, was a foster child in the Lamie home. Lamie posted $100,000 bond and was released from custody on Aug. 9.

Her trial is set for Oct. 21.

In his motion, Coghlan said he needed more time to prepare for the case and asked that the trial be delayed for 60 days. Coghlan said he was trying to get a forensic expert to analyze a personal computer taken by police from Lamie’s former Cullom home. He also noted in the motion that he is the only attorney working on the case and had other cases previously scheduled.

Livingston County State’s Attorney Seth Uphoff did not object to the proposed 60-day continuance, but Pacey did.

The judge, who was assigned to the case after Uphoff re-quested a change of judge, said he rearranged his schedule to hear the case. He also noted that facts in the case previously were argued in a juvenile court hearing regarding the custody of Heather and Joshua Lamie’s two biological children.

The Department of Children and Family Services took custody of the two children and Kianna’s three siblings who were living in the home when Kianna was injured. She died the next day at a Peoria hospital. The Lamie children were returned to their parents in April.

Pacey set a Sept. 19 pre-trial hearing to determine the court schedule for experts who will testify in the case.”

Judge refuses to delay trial of woman charged with murder

[Pantagraph 9/5/13 by Mary Ann Ford]

Update 14: “A trial has been moved to June 23 for a former Cullom woman charged in the 2011 death of a foster child.

Heather Lamie is charged with two counts of murder and one count of endangering the life or health of a child in the death of 4-year-old Kianna Rudesill. The trial was to start April 21.

Livingston County Judge Mark Fellheimer granted the delay Thursday in part because Dr. Janice Ophoven, a pediatric forensic pathologist from Woodbury, Minn., has previous commitments. She is expected to testify for the defense.

In addition, paperwork for the state’s attorney’s office about Ophoven’s testimony will not be available until mid-April, said Lamie’s attorney John Coghlan.

Assistant State’s Attorney Randy Yedinak said that’s not enough time to prepare. He said one of the state’s witnesses was unavailable for a May trial date.

Rudesill, of Bloomington, was a foster child in the Lamie home when the Cullom Fire Department was called to the home for a child having “seizure-like” symptoms.  She was taken to OSF Saint James-John W. Albrecht Medical Center in Pontiac and later flown to OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, Peoria, where she died of head injuries the following day.

A Peoria County coroner’s jury ruled the death a homicide. Lamie, 30, now of Kankakee County, was indicted on the murder charges in June 2013.”

New date set in child-death trial[Bloomington Pantagraph 3/5/14 By Mary Ann Ford]

Update 15:The trial of a former Cullom woman charged in the 2011 death of a foster child has been postponed until September.

It’s the fourth time the Heather Lamie trial has been changed. Lamie is charged with two counts of murder and one count of endangering the life or health of a child in the death of 4-year-old Kianna Rudesill. The trial was originally to start in October, but was moved to January, then to April, then to June 23 in part because an expert was unavailable.

On Friday, Livingston County Judge Mark Fellheimer granted a defense motion to continue the trial again. Livingston County State’s Attorney Seth Uphoff still has not received a report from the defense’s expert witness. It is expected to be completed in late June, giving both sides time to prepare for a September court date.

Lamie, 30, who now resides in Kankakee County, was indicted on murder charges in June 2013. If convicted, she faces mandatory life imprisonment. A conviction on endangering the life and health of a child could bring probation or two to 10 years in prison.

The girl, of Bloomington, was a foster child in the Lamie home when she died of head injuries the day after rescue personnel were called to the home.

A Peoria County Coroner’s jury ruled the death a homicide.”

Trial in foster child death postponed again[Pantagraph 5/31/2014 by Mary Ann Ford]

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17 Comments

  1. If the foster parents haven't been charged after this long how can you still lash out at them. They are good people who were helping those kids.

    • Since May 20, 2011, it’s out in the open that IL DCFS has a huge backlog on child death investigations.

      The Child Death teams work with the State’s Attorney to bring criminal charges and in this instance, it took way too long to coordinate the efforts.

  2. This archive is for heinous actions in the child welfare system. A child has died of head injuries in foster care. The system has failed this child. We will follow up with details of this story until the end.

    As for your comment about charges not being filed yet, it has only been 16 days since the news reports came out. You should peruse our archives to see how long it takes for charges to be filed-sometimes years. We will leave the investigating up to LE. Feel free to report any details of this case here.

  3. Does anyone know these people? The foster parents I mean. Did anyone ever see this little girl? Suspect anything? Yes, she could have been beat. Yes, she could have had a terrible fall. Stuff happens. But why hasn't the press released their names? Cullom seems like a small town! Why isn't anyone talking ?!?!?!

  4. Cullom is a small town (less than 600). People are talking. I know the names, but don't feel I should release them. I saw the little girl, quite often. I thought at times that things were off kilter, but figured she was in a safe home and that kids will be kids. I do not know what happened. What I do no is this: Kianna was 4 years old and the oldest of the four foster children in that home. The biological children were 7 and (had JUST turned) 5. Can you imagine having 5 children ages 4 and under living under one roof? Four of them having been placed all in one day, and as a first time foster placement, no less?? I do not know what happened to that precious little girl. I did know her and I knew her “foster” sisters. Now the original remaining foster children have been seperated into three different foster homes, and the two biological children have also been taken into foster care (and seperated). My heart breaks for all of them.

  5. I know the family very well. They would never put a hand on a child ever. They would do everything in the world to help protect anyone. Do any of you know that the child who died suffered from severe psychiatric problems? Bet you didn't! Did you know that the girls' mothers' live in boyfriend sexually abused her? Bet you didn't! Did you know that these foster parents kept pushing the state to get more counseling and treatment for this girl and they never received it? Bet you didn't! It is now over 7 months later and these foster parents have never been charged and still have not gotten their own children back from the state. Did you know that they are drowning in financial debt because they are doing everything they can to get their children back? Bet you didn't! There are a lot of bad people out there and these foster parents are not those people. Don't talk about those you don't know personally. And by the way. I have let these foster parents watch my children since all of this has happened. You know why, because I know them and they are the kindest, gentlest, most giving, and most spiritual people I have ever been so blessed to have had in my life, or my children's ives.

  6. Anonymous, what does sex abuse from the bio parent's boyfriend prior to August 2010 and your allegation of psychiatric issues have to do with "eight injuries to her head and face, seven to her back and 18 to her arms and legs" that were deemed in the autopsy as NOT self-inflicted that ended her life in May 2011?

    Sadly, I do believe that she did not receive enough counseling and treatment as that is an ongoing problem in every state.

    We are still amazed that the names have not been released as this HAS been ruled a homicide.

    Slowness in charges and trials is quite common in foster care deaths. Some trials do not come to pass for 5 years or more from the death.

    And "Bet you didn't" know that you come off as blaming the child for her death. Sadly,this is also quite typical in foster and adoption death cases. Hope that helps you sleep at night.

  7. A friend of the foster family here. The case was ruled a homicide so they can conduct a homicide investigation. This was done so they they could have more thorough investigation. The Foster parents have not been charged with anything. The foster parents have lost custody over their own two girls since the begining of this investigation. I have seen both sides of this story and it's truely a tradgedy as to what has happened. Kianna had a history of self abuse and seizures before being placed in foster care. Although unfair to the real parents losing their child, it seems more unfair to pin blame and cause unnecessary debt to the people who's intentions were to help.

  8. Anonymous Feb 11, again you are saying that these injuries were self-inflicted. Seriously, why should anyone take your word over the coroner's assessment that they were NOT self-inflicted based on the *location* of the injuries?Your thoughts on why this was ruled a homicide are very strange.

    How do you explain this part-did the AP forget that the girl had a "history of seizures" when asked by the paramedic? "Rescue workers found Kianna on the floor with bruises above her right eyebrow and ear. She was cool to the touch; rescue workers were told she had been in the shower, Ingersoll said.

    Jones said after the inquest her daughter did not suffer from seizures. Ingersoll said the foster mother also told rescue workers she was not aware that Kianna had any history of seizures."

  9. To insinuate that a 4yr old child beat herself to death is absolutely ludicrous! It's been a year and still no charges have been filed against the foster mother. I should drive down there and let her feel the pain this precious baby felt in her last hours.

    • Finally a hearing occurred in this case in April 2013. A status hearing is to be held on July 9 2013. I have updated the post

  10. I’m outraged that Dr. Becky Kalvelage-Roth had the gall to diagnose this child as having RAD based solely on speaking with THE PEOPLE ACCUSED OF KILLING HER. She never even met Kianna; how can any professional presume to diagnose someone after their death, based on what people trying to avoid charges of felony child abuse say?

    And how does RAD apply here? This was a FOSTER placement, with a goal toward family reunification. How can not bonding with foster parents be a symptom of RAD?

    I think RAD is being used as a get-out-of-jail-free excuse for child abuse. They’re portrayed by AT proponents as Machiavellian little sociopaths who deliberately inflict injury on themselves, then blame it on their sainted APs or foster parents. They’re compulsive liars, so don’t believe anything they say–ever.

    In short, they are nearly as demonized and dehumanized as Jews were in Nazi propaganda. I wonder if we could get the Southern Poverty Law Center to consider listing attachment therapy providers as hate groups?

    • Thanks so much for this tip. We will update the post shortly. Finally they name the foster parent!Better late than never with the charges.

  11. Good catch on the OIG redacted summary.

    Here’s the annual report for Baby Fold. An agency is required to disclose any pending lawsuits. http://www.ilga.gov/commission/jcar/admincode/089/089004010F05300R.html

    http://www.state.il.us/dcfs/docs/ocfp/procedure/Procedures_401.pdf

    The one filed against Baby Fold by this child’s father is mentioned in the report and Baby Fold reported NO to questions 4 & 6. http://www.state.il.us/DCFS/docs/BABY_FOLD_2012.pdf. Oddly, the only attachment to the annual report is some computer screen about a case transfer for something called Mediplan.

    I see a pattern with other agencies in IL that I know have pending civil suits or some press coverage that indicate licensing violations for a child welfare agency. Interestingly, the Cradle’s annual report is not filled out at all for 2012. Catholic Charities of Joliet has not filed a report at all for a year or more. I can’t determine of CC of Joliet suspended foster care and adoption services due to Illinois’ civil union law or not. Lutheran Child and Family Services, no mention of being a named party in a Jackson County lawsuit at all.

    Now, if the agency’s self-reporting is this sloppy, DCFS may not be doing their job all that well.

    http://www.state.il.us/DCFS/docs/BABY_FOLD_2012.pdf

  12. The murderer has a Facebook support group with more likes than Kianna’s page – let’s fix that and serve justice for real…
    http://www.facebook.com/groups/563336977047165/

  13. Jury trial set for 10-21-13. The info on the court docket is here.

    http://www.judici.com/courts/cases/case_history.jsp?court=IL053015J&ocl=IL053015J,2013CF152,IL053015JL2013CF152D1

    Someone bonded Heather out.

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