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]

Update 16:“Jury selection was to continue Wednesday in the trial of an Illinois woman accused in the 2011 death of a 4-year-old Bloomington foster child.

Eight jurors were chosen by Tuesday in the trial of Heather Lamie, 31, now of Kankakee, The (Bloomington) Pantagraph reported (http://bit.ly/1mskZK2 ). Lamie is charged with two counts of murder and one count of endangering the life or health of a child in the death of Kianna Rudesill.

The girl was a foster child in Lamie’s Cullom home when she was taken to a Pontiac hospital for seizure-like symptoms. A Peoria County coroner’s jury ruled the girl’s death a homicide. Authorities cited her cause of death as subdural hematoma, cerebral injuries and blunt trauma of the head.”

Jury selection continues in foster child’s death [Pantagraph 9/24/2014 ]

Update 17: Mary Ann Ford tweeted from the courtroom on Thursday September 25 and Friday September 26. https://twitter.com/pg_ford

  • “State’s first witness called, the 911 dispatcher who handled the call from the Lamie house in May 2011″
  • “Jury hears 911 call. Now recessing for lunch”
  • “Defense maintains Kianna was a troubled child who fell the day before. Heather Lamie was a caring mother who would not have hurt Kianna.”
  • “Testimony is starting again in the Lamie trial. The first witness is Wendy Palmer, Kianna Rudesills grandmother.”
  • “Trial finished for today. Continues tomorrow morning. Emergency room doctor doesn’t believe injuries self inflicted.”
  • “First witness is Kianna’s counselor. Testifying Kianna had a bruise on her right ear on May 2. In a previous statement said it was very red”
  • “Second therapist recommended Kianna be sent to Streamwood psychiatric hospital after Heather Lamie maintains Kianna cut herself.”
  • “Kianna’s preschool teachers testify she complained that her leg hurt on May 3 and she had a bruise on the right side of her face.”
  • “Dr. Scott Denton the forensic pathologist who conducted the autopsy on Kianna Rudesill is expected to be the first to testify this afternoon”
  • “Autopsy photos show multiple bruises including several on head and one on hand which indicated a defensive injury, according to Denton.”
  • “Dr. Denton testifies Kianna’s injuries could not have been self inflicted based on the autopsy and other medical information he reviewed.”
  • “Judge orders recess after Heather Lamie becomes visibly upset and possibly ill. Jurors asked to leave the room. Lamie leaves sobbing.”

Hat Tip Hat Tipto a reader who referred me to the Livingston County  Court Records.

“Day 5 Jury Trial; SA Seth Uphoff; Atty. Scott Ripley; Deft. appears with Atty. John Coghlan. Cause comes on for Jury trial. State offers instruction 311 Prior Inconsistent Statements-Limiting Instruction for consideration. Court accepts without objection to be read. Note: Witness lists contained in file includes Witnesses with lines drawn through names on copies to reflect the consolidation of common witnesses into lists. Wit. #7 – Sherry Brendalen; Deft. marked and offered Exht. #1. (Transcript from witnesses previous statement.); Court reads Jury instruction 3.11 to Jury. Wit. #8 – Amanda (Chandler) Cleary; Deft. marked and offered Exht. #2; State offers Exht. #4. (Progress notes – Cleary). Wit. #9 – Corey Turner; Wit. #10 – Julie Ahern; Wit. #11 – Angela Taylor; #12 – Ashley Nissen Richard; At approximately 12:13 p.m. Jury admonished and excused for lunch. At approximately 1:30 p.m. SA Seth Uphoff; Atty. Scott Ripley; Deft. and Atty. John Coughlan present. Court hears arguments on State’s Exht. photographs. Deft. has no objection for admissibility of any of the photographs. Deft. has general objection to photographs being published to the Jury. Court rules on photographs. Jury returned into open Court at approximately 2:10 p.m. Wit. # 13 – Dr. Scott Denton. State tenders Dr. Denton as an expert witness. Court recognizes Dr. Denton as an expert. State offers Exht. #5 (photograph of identifying tag of victim), Exht. #6 – (photograph of front knee of victim) – Offered, admitted over objection and published to Jury., Exht. #7 – (photograph of left knee and leg of victim) – Offered, admitted over objection and published to Jury., Exht. #8 – (back of victim’s leg/thigh) – Offered, admitted over objection and published to Jury., * All further Exht. admitted over ongoing objection of Deft. Exht. #9 – (back of left leg) – Offered, admitted over objection and published., Exht. #10 – (left back of victim) Offered, admitted and published. Exht. #11 – (left arm pit of victim) Offered, admitted and published. Exht. #12 – (top of right shoulder) Offered, admitted and published. Exht. #13 – (right armpit) Offered, admitted and published. Exht. #14 – (top back of right shoulder) Offered, admitted and published. Exht. #15 – (back of elbow and arm) Offered, admitted and published. Exht. #16 – (elbow and forearm) Offered, admitted and published. Exht. #17 – (back of right hand and fingers) Offered, admitted and published. Exht. #18 – (hand) Admitted but not published. Exht. #19 – (Rt. side of head and face) – Offered, admitted and published. Exht. #20 – (right eye) Offered, admitted and published. Exht. #21 – (inner lips of victim) Offered, admitted and published. Exht. #22 – (left side lower head) Offered, admitted and published. Exht. #23 – (right ear) Offered, admitted and published. Exht. #24 (behind right ear) Offered, admitted and published. Exht. #25 – (back of rght side of head) Offered, admitted and published. Exht. #26 – (back of right side of head) Offered, admitted and published. #27 – (bruise on back side of head) Offered, admitted and published. #28 – (stomach) Admitted but not published. Exht. #29 – Autopsy of head. Admitted but not published. Jury adomonished and excused at approximately 4:45 p.m.”

9/29/14 “Court’s motion – Court seals all autopsy photographs admitted.”

Update 18:More of Mary Ann Ford’s tweets.

  • “The Heather Lamie trial is expected to resume in a few minutes. The first witness will be Livingston County sheriff’s Sgt. Earl Dutko”
  • “The judge and attorneys are discussing jury instructions regarding text messages between Heather Lamie and her husband on May 3, 2011″
  • “Lt. Earl Dutko is testifying about photos taken at the Lamie home in May 2011 including a chair with apparent dried blood”
  • “Text message from Josh Lamie to Heather at 8:18 a.m. May 3, 2011, asks how things are going and “is she sore?”"
  • “Texts between Heather and her husband admitted. Heather talks about Kianna being sore and limping at school.”
  • “Heather said the teacher called. Her husband asked if it was about the bruising and mentions Kianna throwing herself on the floor”
  • “Heather texts she’s having trouble with Kianna. Joshua Lamie suggests “beat her ass.”"
  • “Heather texts “no … I’m angry …I wouldn’t just hurt her feelings.” Her attorney notes police did no testing in shower stall or chair”
  • “Lt. Dutko testifies no testing done on chair or shower stall or dog food bowl”
  • “State’s next witness is Dr. Channing Petrak, doctor of pediatrics and child abuse pediatrics”
  • “Testimony is resuming with Dr. Petrak. She saw Kianna at the Peoria hospital after Kianna’s surgery to reduce brain swelling”
  • “Dr. Petrak testifies bruises on Kianna’ s knees not from typical childhood play. She also found other bruises including on the back”
  • “Doctor says it takes a significant amount of force to bruise an ear like the bruising Kianna had in her ear”
  • “Pediatric specialist believes Kianna’s head injuries were inflicted and due to abusive head trauma”
  • “Defense attorney brings out information that Kianna, like her birthmother was an easy bruiser.”
  • “The defense is not finished cross examining Dr. Petrak but because it is 4:30, the trial has been recessed until tomorrow morning”
  • “The state expects to finish with its witnesses tomorrow. The defense could start its case tomorrow afternoon.”

Update 19: Back on September 27th, “Friday was day two of the murder trial concerning a woman, formerly of Cullom, who has been charged in the 2011 death of her foster daughter.

Heather Lamie, 31, of Kankakee, faces two first degree murder charges, as well as endangering the life or heath of a child, after her foster child, Kianna Rudesill, 4, died of brain injuries while under her care May 4, 2011. Lamie would face natural life in prison if convicted of the first-degree murder charges and up to 10 years on the child endangerment charge, which would be an extended sentence because it resulted in the death of a child.

Jury selection began Monday, which includes nine men and seven women, with the trial having starting Thursday. With Livingston County State’s Attorney Seth Uphoff and prosecutor for the State Scott Ripley, a list of witnesses heard Thursday included Dr. Patrick Dowling, an emergency room doctor at OSF Saint James-John W. Albrecht Medical Center. Dowling  said he had never see a child do so much damage to their head on their own, in response to the defense claiming Rudesill had problems, including being admitted to a mental hospital after cutting herself. Lamie’s attorney, John Coughlan, said Rudesill fell on the way to a counseling appointment the day before and hurt her head.

In a video interview, Dowling said Rudesill was non-responsive and semi-conscious when she arrived to the hospital. He found a collection of blood over the back right side of her head the size of a child’s fist. A CAT scan revealed areas of bleeding in her head consistent with a blow to the right side of her head.

When testimony resumed Friday morning, the State brought forth several employees of the Institute for Human Resources and employees at Rudesill’s school to tell of a specific event in which experts suggested Rudesill be hospitalized.

The first, Sherry Brendalen, outpatient therapist at IHR, said she became familiar with Rudesill and had seen her on two separate occasions, in April and May 2011. Brendalen told the court Rudesill was being seen to work on difficulties she had been having, including aggression toward younger siblings. She described the second meeting with Rudesill, saying she met her in the waiting area at IHR in Pontiac, and found her lying facedown on the floor, crying and upset. Brendalen then walked Rudesill back to her office and while Rudesill was calming, tied her hair back and observed a bruise and red line on her ear and on the right side of her forehead by her eyebrow. Brendalen also said she had never personally observed any aggression from Rudesill. During testimony, Brendalen also said Rudesill would never say how she got the bruises. The little girl, whom witnesses described as talkative and bubbly, remained very quiet on the subject.

The next witness, Amanda Cleary, who works in Screening Assessment Support Services at IHR, treated Rudesill as part of the 90-day program set up for clients after a crisis situation. In total, Cleary saw Rudesill six times, four at the Cullom home of the Lamies and two at IHR. Cleary explained the crisis situation that qualified Rudesill for the SASS program was an incident in which Lamie called her and told her of Rudesill cutting herself with a knife. Cleary based a recommendation of hospitalizing the young child at Streamwood Psychiatric Hospital based on a phone call she had with Lamie. Cleary was able to talk to Rudesill on the phone at that time, when she admitted to having a knife, but gave no other information. Cleary continued seeing Rudesill after her hospitalization, and never observed any cuts or injury afterward.

Cleary and Brendalen are mandated reporters, which means if they suspect any sort of abuse is happening, they need to report it to the correct authorities. They both testified they found no cause to report anything, as they saw nothing out of the ordinary during their interactions with Rudesill and Lamie.

Corey Turner, formerly of Turner Bus Services, took the stand next and was directly questioned about a specific date, which seemed very vivid in his memory. He told a story of how, one morning, he arrived to pick up Rudesill and other students to take them to their pre-kindergarten class, and Rudesill was reluctant to get on the bus. He said she was crying and showing obvious pain to one of her legs and had to be physically carried onto the bus. When they arrived at the school, she remained on the bus and didn’t leave until she was carried. Turner said he asked Rudesill what was wrong, and she wouldn’t respond and just kept pointing to her leg. He also testified that the bubbly and inquisitive child was very withdrawn and quiet that morning, except for some crying.

The person who retrieved Rudesill from the bus was Julie Ahern, a paraprofessional at Tri-Point in Kempton. She said Rudesill was acting out of the ordinary in her silence that day, as well as the fact that she had a noticeable limp and was carried from activity to activity, including a recess, where she just sat still on a swing.

Angela Taylor, a parent volunteer at the school, was present that day, as well. Along with the limping, Taylor observed a bruise on Rudesill’s face near her right temple. When asked specifically about any observed dizziness, balance issues or eye problems Rudesill may have had, Taylor said she didn’t notice anything of that nature.

Rudesill’s pre-k teacher, Ashley Richard, also remembered that day, and along with the sore leg and facial bruise, testified she observed what looked like a bitten lip, or a cut down the center of Rudesill’s bottom lip. Upon Rudesill’s arrival at school that morning and noticing the little girl was in a lot of pain. Richard called Lamie to see whether they should send the child home for the day or keep her in class. During the conversation, Lamie said another place to look for bruising would be behind Rudesill’s ear. Rudesill remained at school for the remainder of the day, which for pre-k students, is only about three hours.

Along with the IHR employees, the teachers and aides at the schools are also mandated reporters and all testified they never made a report concerning Rudesill.[Unbelievable!]

The trial will continue for several days and the Daily Leader will have continued coverage.”

Witnesses for prosecution testify Friday during trial[Pontiac Daily Leader 9/27/14 by Cynthia Grau][The Pantagraph 9/30/14 by Mary Ann Ford]

Update 20: More of Mary Ann Ford’s tweets:

  • “The Heather Lamie trial is resuming with cross examination of Dr. Channing Petrak by the defense attorney”
  • “Doctor says no studies available on the amount of force needed to determine the force needed to produce the head injuries Kianna suffered”
  • “Dr. Petrak concludes her testimony. The state’s next witness expected to be eye expert”
  • “Opthamologist testifies Kianna Rudesill had swelling in the optic nerve and bleeding deep in the eye and near the front of the eye”
  • “Opthamologist said the kind of trauma Kianna had was not consistent with a child having a fit or seizure”
  • “Opthamologist testifies Kianna’s injuries ranked in the top 10 of his 27 years of practice”
  • “Judge dismissing two jurors after noticing they have been nodding to each other during testimony and at one point made an outloud comment”
  • “One juror was an alternate. Both were female.”
  • “The state has rested its case and the trial is recessed until tomorrow morning.”
  • “Originally the defense was expected to start its case this afternoon. Scheduling issues postponed that start until tomorrow morning”

“A second expert testified Monday that Kianna Rudesill’s severe head injuries could not have been self-inflicted.

“A 4-year-old can’t generate the force for the type of injuries she had,” said Dr. Channing Petrak, a pediatrician who also is certified in child abuse pediatrics and serves as medical director of the Pediatric Resource Center in Peoria.

Kianna, 4, of Bloomington, died May 4, 2011, the day after she was flown to OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, Peoria, where Petrak was called in for a consultation.

Kianna’s foster mother, Heather Lamie, 31, now of Kankakee but formerly of Cullom, is charged with two counts of murder and one count of endangering the life or health of a child in the death.

Petrak detailed numerous bruises on Rudesil’s body: both knees, her thigh, back of her leg, buttocks, back, arms, shoulder and right arm. Petrak said none of the bruises was the kind typically caused by children playing or falling.

“Bruises on the torso are highly suspicious,” Petrak said.

She also had bruises on the back of her right hand and on the webbing between the thumb and index finger, which Petrak said also was not a typical play injury, and bruising on the right side of her head and on her ear.

“Ears are particularly difficult to bruise,” Petrak said.

Rudesill’s most severe injuries were to her head and caused blood under the outermost layer of her brain and swelling in her brain. She had to have part of her skull removed in an attempt to relieve the pressure.

Petrak said a child with those injuries would show symptoms within a few minutes of occurrence. The injuries would affect her heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature and reflexes.

Defense attorney John Coghlan asked if Petrak was aware of documentation that Kianna and her birth mother were prone to bruising easily. Petrak said she was and ordered tests to see if there was an underlying cause for the brain bleeding.

Coghlan also asked if Petrak knew of past reports of abuse to Kianna and reports that she had previously injured herself.

Petrak said she reviewed all records and none of the reports of self-injury were documented or witnessed.

Earlier in the day, Lt. Earl Dutko of the Livingston County Sheriff’s Department testified no testing was done on either the chair in the Lamie’s Cullom home that appeared to have some blood on it or the shower stall where Kianna was found.

Dutko also discussed text messages between Heather Lamie and her husband, Joshua Lamie, on May 3, 2011.

Joshua Lamie asked how the day was going and “Is she sore?” at 8:18 a.m.

Heather Lamie responds that Rudesill’s teacher called. Joshua asked: “About her bruising?”

After Kianna arrived home from preschool Heather Lamie texted her husband and said Rudesill was carried by her teachers most of the day because her leg hurt.

“You gotta be kidding me,” Joshua replies. “If she hurts that bad she can go to bed.”

At 11:30 Heather Lamie texted she put Kianna in the shower. “Yes it is kind of cold but her brain needs as much stimulation as it can get.”

A short time later she texted: “I still don’t have her under control.”

Joshua Lamie texted back, “Beat her (expletive).”

Testimony resumes at 9 a.m. Tuesday.”

Doctor: Girl, 4, could not have caused own fatal wounds[Bloomington Pantagraph 9/30/14]

 

Update 21:“An eye doctor who testified in the murder trial of Heather Lamie Tuesday gave a jarring description of the injuries that contributed to the death of 4-year-old Kianna Rudesill.

“You’d expect to see this in a catastrophic car accident,” Dr. Steven Lichtenstein said in a report published by the Bloomington Pantagraph.

Lichtenstein, medical director of pediatric ophthalmology at Children’s Hospital and an ophthalmologist with the Illinois Eye Center in Peoria, examined the girl after she suffered injuries including hemorrhaging in all layers of her retina. The 4-year-old Bloomington girl died on May 4, 2011.

Lamie, her foster mother, is charged with two counts of murder and one count of endangering the life or health of a child in connection with Kianna’s death. Lamie, 31, is a former resident of Cullom but lives in Kankakee.

Kankakee resident John Coghlan is serving as Lamie’s defense attorney. He questioned Lichtenstein during Tuesday’s proceedings, asking if there have been any studies to determine the amount of force needed for a child to receive these kinds of injuries. The doctor said no such study had been done but the girl’s injuries involved “a significant amount of trauma.”

Also on Tuesday, a juror and alternate juror were dismissed by the judge because of unauthorized communication. Judge Mark Fellheimer had noticed two jurors nodding to each other and that one muttered “I agree” out loud during Lichtenstein’s testimony.

Coghlan asked that the two women be dismissed from the jury, and Fellheimer agreed.

The original jury panel consisted of 12 jurors and four alternates, a group large enough to replace the dismissed pair.

The trial continued this morning at the the Livingston County Courthouse in Pontiac with the defense presenting its case.”

It’s the defense’s turn in child murder trial[The Daily Journal 10/1/4]

“A defense expert in the Heather Lamie murder trial testified Wednesday that Kianna Rudesill was showing symptoms of head trauma when she went to preschool on May 3, 2011, but she could not determine the cause of the girl’s fatal injuries.

“The key to me is the child that morning was not able to get on the bus on her own … reflected significant symptoms — lethargic, quiet,” said Dr. Janice Ophoven, a pediatric forensic pathologist from Minnesota.

When Kianna had surgery at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria later that day, Ophoven said part of her brain already was dead, signifying she was “at the end of her journey.”

Previous witnesses said Kianna had an injury on her right ear on May 2. Lamie told them the girl had fallen that day.

Kianna, 4, of Bloomington was a foster child in the Lamie home in Cullom on May 3, 2011, when the ambulance was called about 12:45 p.m. for a child with seizure-like symptoms. She died the next day.

The state contends the girl suffered blunt force trauma between the time she came home from preschool on May 3 and when the ambulance was called.

Lamie is charged with two counts of murder and one count of endangering the life or health of a child in the girl’s death.

Ophoven said Kianna suffered a tear in her bridging vein to the brain that caused the bleeding that ultimately led to her death. She said she could not determine “the nature of the event that caused the blunt force trauma” and could not determine if it was accidental or not.

The doctor, the first witness for the defense, testified a bridging vein tear “doesn’t imply enormous force. It’s not the same force it takes to damage the brain itself.”

She also testified brain bleeds like Kianna’s “come from things like a fall from a bike.”

Ophoven maintained Kianna also had a blood clotting problem that would cause her to bleed more or faster than normal and could cause bruises when she was handled by emergency medical service workers.

Previous testimony revealed Kianna had numerous bruises across her body.

Ophoven said the clotting problem could cause the retinal bleeding that was discussed by an ophthalmologist in previous testimony.

Livingston County State’s Attorney Seth Uphoff cited a published article in a journal on child abuse and neglect stating symptoms in such head trauma cases occur immediately after the trauma.

But Ophoven maintained “the bottom falls out at the end of the journey, not at the beginning of trauma.”

The defense told the court Ophoven was a paid witness. Ophoven said she charged $5,400 to review all of Kianna’s medical and other records, $5,400 to do a written report and $5,400 plus mileage to testify. Ophoven no longer practices as a pathologist, but works as a full-time “second-opinion consultant.”

The trial resumes at 9 a.m. Thursday.”

Expert questions cause of girl’s fatal injuries[The Pantagraph 10/1/14 by Mary Ann Ford]

“After a motion for a directed verdict from the defense was denied by Livingston County Associate Judge Mark Fellheimer, day five of the murder trial of Heather Lamie began with a forensic pathologist specializing in injuries to children, an employee of the Babyfold, Normal, and a character witness taking the stand

The first witness for the defense was Janice Ophoven, a medical doctor specializing in forensic and pediatric pathology, who testified she retired from performing autopsies in 2002, and most cases of hers are now second opinions for the defense teams in legal cases, although she said she has performed the same work for prosecutors, as well.

Ophoven testified that defense attorney for Lamie, John Coghlan, contacted her about a year ago for a forensic review of Kianna Rudesill’s death. She said she requested a voluminous amount of medical history, including medical history dating back to her birth mother’s pregnancy with the victim, police investigation reports, witness statements and other detailed information concerning the events of the day of her hospitalization, May 3, 2011, ranging from the paramedic statements through the postmortem analysis.

She said her job was to go through the case file and find case findings, including the child’s health and health history, establishing a differential diagnosis, meaning the possible circumstances that caused the event that eventually led to the death of Rudesill.

Ophoven said she considered all the information presented to her, including records from Streamwood Behavioral Heathcare System and the Babyfold, which would include the reported aggressive and issues of self-harm, post traumatic stress disorder and Rudesill’s day-to-day behaviors.

Ophoven’s conclusion from her examination of all the information she was given was the victim died from complications of acute subdural hemotoma, or the bleeding found on her brain. She said the key question in her analysis was to find what the trigger was and when the bleeding began and what caused it to begin bleeding again.

She told the courtroom Rudesill showed signs of the beginnings of abnormal brain physiology the morning of May 3, 2011, when she had difficulty getting on the bus and had to be carried around the school, as well as showing signs of lethargy, which, in several testimonies of the prosecution’s witnesses in prior days, was the exact opposite, claiming the head injury that caused her death would have shown more severe symptoms.

Ophoven stated by the time Rudesill made it to Peoria and had a craniotomy, or a removal of a part of the skull to relieve pressure from swelling, a part of the brain already showed it was dying, and in her expert opinion, the injury would have had to be much older than the very few hours between the 911 call and her arrival in Peoria. She called the events leading to the 911 call “the end of the journey” when describing the steps from initial injury to death when it involves subdural hemotoma.

In response to the retinal hemorrhages shown in court Monday, Ophoven said those are consistent with cases she’s seen when prolonged and increased intracranial pressure is present and they also don’t present immediately after an injury.

Something else Ophoven mentioned is the victim’s death was caused by lack of oxygen to the brain and not a brain injury, adding again this was a case of subdural hemotoma and not primary brain trauma.

When asked about postmortem reports she read, Ophoven testified that, once Rudesill was declared brain dead on May 3, keeping her on life support at 98.6 degrees caused significant degeneration of the brain, known as “respirator brain.”

When asked the cause of death, Ophoven stated she couldn’t rule out accidental impact, because a variety of things could have happened, either accidental or non-accidental. She also said the points of impact exceed that of a normal child. Ophoven also stated the cause of injury was undetermined, in her expert opinion, which she also said wasn’t uncommon. She just knew blunt force trauma caused the subdural hemotoma and could have happened more than once on more than one occasion, causing the fatal outcome, explaining trauma caused the bleeding in her brain, and the bleeding caused Rudesill’s death.

In cross-examination, Livingston County State’s Attorney Seth Uphoff made some clarifications with Ophoven, including the fact she had never seen the victim in person, she never met with any doctors or medical personnel involved in the case, whether in person or over the phone and she looked over material and reports only. Ophoven said it was common practice not to speak to people who would be expert witnesses for a trial, which is why she never spoke with the people who wrote the reports she examined. Ophoven detailed to Uphoff she reviewed these specific records for about 20 hours, and prepared a report, which is only done if the person who hired her to do the work asks her to. She explained that her work is split up in three phases, and she’s compensated for each – reviewing the report costs $5,400, writing a report of the review also costs $5,400 and testifying in a hearing costs the same. She said she is also compensated for travel expenses incurred in travel for a trial.

When Uphoff asked about testimony she gave about falls being the most common cause of brain injury to children, she cited a Center for Disease Control analysis of all traumatic brain injuries in all age groups. She also stated that, when it comes to symptoms of subdural hemotoma, the age of the patient doesn’t matter – a fall to a four-year old causing those injuries would cause the same symptoms in an elderly patient with the same injury.

Uphoff also presented another study that showed in 81 cases of brain injury from abuse, 80 of those were subdural hemotoma. In 57 of those 81 cases, timing of injury could be ascertained. In 52 of those 57, symptoms appeared immediately. These were in cases involving children from 99 days old to 16 years old.

During redirect, Coughlan brought up that same study, to which Ophoven said she doesn’t agree with those findings, because they were based on confessions and those confessions weren’t clarified whether they came from part of a plea deal or aggressive interrogation.

In re-cross, Uphoff questioned Ophoven about the brain death, or necrosis, that was found in her report. He said it wasn’t in the report of the neurosurgeon who performed the craniotomy, and Ophoven said she wasn’t sure if she saw that on transcripts from this trial or other testimony. She also responded to finding a clot abnormality in Rudesill’s lab  work done while she was in the hospital and previously stated the problem would cause bruises to look more severe than they were and bruising could happen easier in the victim than a person without the abnormality. When asked by Uphoff whether it was included in her report she made for the defense, she said no.

The second witness for the defense, Gayla Jackson, child welfare supervisor at the Babyfold, Normal, who was indirectly involved with Rudesill’s case. Jackson testified she had very limited contact with the Lamies and no direct contact with Rudesill. A panel of people from the Department of Children and Family Services, Babyfold workers and case supervisors, as well as the foster parents and teachers was being planned for Rudesill, but never happened. The state chose not to cross-examine Jackson.

The third witness for the defense, and the first of many character witnesses for Lamie, is the mother of a child who was in school with and friends with the Lamie’s oldest daughter. Lindsay Burns said Lamie is nice, courteous and was active in the school functions. She is also known as being very peaceful.

In cross-examination by prosecutor Scott Ripley, he asked Burns if she was still in contact with Lamie since she moved away from Cullom after the May 2011 incident, and she said yes. Burns also testified that she offered to testify for Lamie and she wasn’t asked. Ripley also asked her to describe the time she heard people talking about Lamie being helpful, to which Burns said it happened one day at the food pantry. Ripley pointed out that happened on one event and not during several.

Court recessed around 2:30 p.m. yesterday for the day and will resume this morning at 9 a.m.

Lamie is facing a possible natural-life-in-prison sentence if convicted of the first-degree murder charges and up to 10 years on the child endangerment charge, which would be an extended sentence because it resulted in the death of a child.”

Defense witness testimony highlights trial’s fifth day[The Pontiac Daily Leader 10/2/14 by Cynthia Grau]

Mary Ann Ford Tweets

  • “Defense asks for directed verdict. Judge denies the request. The defense will begin its case with Dr. Janice Ophoven a forensic pathologist”
  • “Defense witness testifies the injury tFor the first time since the start of the trial, the courtroom is full. Josh lamie has taken the stand”hat resulted in Kianna’s death happened many, many hours, maybe days before the 911 call.”
  • “Doctor says Kianna didn’t die of a brain injury but from bleeding after a brain stem injury. She cannot determine the manner of death”
  • “Doctor says falls are the most common cause of brain injuries in children Kianna’s age and that the symptoms can take days to show up.”
  • “Doctor says she can’t rule out accidental or inflicted trauma. State cites articles saying symptoms would show in 15 minutes in a child”
  • “Doctor maintains Kianna had blood clotting issue which can make bruises look worse and make it easier to get bruises”
  • “Testimony is resuming in the defense case. Gayla Jackson, child welfare supervisor at the Baby Fold is on the stand”
  • “Witness had no direct contact with Kianna. Said a meeting was planned for May 9, 2011, to discuss her care”
  • “A friend of Heather Lamie’s testifies she was considered nice and caring by Cullom community. Testimony is finished for the day.”
  • “Judge has ruled a recording of Josh Lamie asking Kianna Rudesill about self injuries can be played to the jury. Case expected to resume soon”
  • “Jury in courtroom. Told by judge trial may be ready to go to the jury late Monday after closing arguments Monday afternoon”
  • “Defense is bringing in character witnesses”
  • “Five friends of Heather Lamie say she does not have a reputation for violence or losing her temper. Josh Lamie will testify next.”
  • “For the first time since the start of the trial, the courtroom is full. Josh lamie has taken the stand”
  • “The jury is hearing a recording of Josh Lamie asking Kianna questions about why she wants to hurt herself”
  • “Recordings of conversation with Josh and Kianna has Josh, Heather and other family members sobbing in the courtroom”
  • “Kianna says at one point she wants to live with the Lamies forever. She says she hurts herself because she misses her mommy and daddy.”
  • “Kianna says at one point she wants to live with the Lamies forever. She says she hurts herself because she misses her mommy and daddy.”

Update 22:”Heather Lamie testified Friday that her foster child, Kianna Rudesill, routinely banged her head on the wall, floor or table and on May 2 twice threw herself on the floor causing injuries.

But a defense witness, the psychiatrist who treated the 4-year-old girl at Streamwood Behavioral Healthcare Systems in March, said he’s never seen the kind of extensive head injuries Kianna suffered in other children who bang their heads.

“Generally they bang the front part of their forehead; some on the side,” Dr. William Puga told the jury. “This is very extensive,” the doctor said after viewing pictures of Kianna’s head injuries to the right side and right back of her head.

Kianna died May 4, 2011, of head injuries suffered from severe blunt force trauma. Lamie, 31, of Kankakee, is charged with two counts of murder and one count of endangering the life or health of a child. Kianna, of Bloomington, was a foster child in Lamie’s Cullom home when an ambulance was called May 3, 2011, for a child with seizure-like symptoms.

Lamie testified Kianna became upset May 2, 2011, and “threw herself down and hit a chair or table leg,” causing a bruise on her right eyebrow. Later that day, Kianna threw herself down on the kitchen floor, hurting her lip, because she was not allowed to go outside to play, Lamie said.

The next day, Kianna complained her leg hurt, but Lamie didn’t see anything on her leg so she took her to preschool. When Kianna came home about 11:30 a.m., Lamie said she was trying to feed all of the children — her two biological daughters and Kianna and her three siblings, all foster children in the home — to get ready to take the baby for a visit with his birth father.

“Kianna was very fearful of that; she didn’t want him (the baby) to go. That’s the man that had sexually abused her,” Lamie said.

Kianna also said she didn’t want to go; then wet her pants. Lamie took Kianna into the shower, turned on the water then went to change the baby. When Lamie returned to the shower room, Kianna was on the floor sobbing that she didn’t want to go.

Lamie called her husband, Joshua. He talked to Kianna, and she got up, dried off and started putting on her clothes. Lamie went into the living room and heard “dog food scattering across the kitchen floor.” She finished getting the boys ready then went into the kitchen and found Kianna on the floor with “stiff arms pulled down to her side … her jaw was moving.” She called 911.

During his testimony, Puga said Kianna was taken to Streamwood after Lamie had told counselors the child was aggressive toward others and herself — including trying to cut herself with a knife.

Puga said he saw “superficial” cuts on Kianna’s wrist. He diagnosed her as having mood disorders and post traumatic stress syndrome, but after a week discharged her saying she was not a harm to herself or others.

The trial resumes Monday in Livingston County Circuit Court.”

Foster mother says girl routinely banged her head, threw fits[The Pantagraph 10/4/14 by Mary Ann Ford]

Mary Ann’s Tweets:

  • “Testimony is about to begin in the Heather Lamie murder trial with Dr. William Puga from Streamwood Behavioral Healthcare testifying.”
  • “Doctor says Kianna told him she cut her wrist with a knife and it didn’t hurt. Doctor said that was a big concern for him”
  • “Doctor says never seen as extensive injuries as Kianna had in a head banger”
  • “Doctor testifies Heather told him she told her biological children to protect themselves from Kianna’s aggression”
  • “Doctor says the person a child is emotionally close to would be the target of her behaviors.”
  • “Doctor says Kianna was a severely disturbed child. He believes she had had an awful life.”
  • “When the doctor discharged Kianna from Streamwood, he said she was not a danger to herself or others. Heather is expected to testify next”
  • “Heather said Kianna Had two fits on May 2 and hurt herself each time. Said she complained of her leg hurting the next morning”
  • “Heather says she never did anything to harm Kianna. On May 3 she found Kianna on the kitchen floor with stiff arms and her jaw moving.”
  • “Heather often has a quivering voice during testimony. She remembers some specifics about May 2 and 3 but not others”
  • “Heather says they never used corporal punishment on Kianna that her husband just said “beat her ass” in a text message but didn’t mean it”
  • “Defense is not calling more character witnesses as first expected. The defense has rested its case”
  • “There may be a state rebuttal witness Monday then closing arguments and then the case will go to the jury”
  • “The jury has been sent home for the day. The trial resumes at 9 a.m. Monday.”

Update 23:”Closing arguments in the Heather Lamie murder trial could come as early as today, when the trial resumes at the Livingston County Courthouse in Pontiac.

The trial continued Friday with Lamie testifying on her own behalf. Lamie, 31, of Kankakee and a former Cullom resident, is charged with two counts of murder and one count of endangering the life or health of a child in connection with the death of Kianna Rudesill.

Kianna, of Bloomington, was a foster child in Lamie’s Cullom home. On May 3, 2011, the 4-year-old girl was transported to the hospital in an ambulance after suffering seizure-like symptoms. She died at a Peoria hospital the next day.

On Friday, Lamie testified the girl regularly banged her head on the wall, floor or table, and that on May 2 she twice threw herself to the floor causing injuries.

But according to a story published in the Bloomington Pantagraph, a defense witness, the psychiatrist who treated Kianna in March 2011, said he had never seen the kind of extensive head injuries Kianna suffered in other children who bang their heads.

“Generally they bang the front part of their forehead; some on the side,” Dr. William Puga told the jury. “This is very extensive.”

Lamie testified Kianna became upset May 2, 2011, and “threw herself down and hit a chair or table leg,” causing a bruise on her right eyebrow. Later that day, Kianna threw herself down on the kitchen floor, hurting her lip, because she was not allowed to go outside to play, Lamie said.

The next day, Kianna complained her leg hurt, but Lamie didn’t see any injury so she took her to preschool. When Kianna came home about 11:30 a.m., Lamie said she was trying to feed all of the children — her two biological daughters and her foster children, Kianna and her three siblings. After lunch, the plan was to take the baby for a visit with his birth father.

“Kianna was very fearful of that; she didn’t want him (the baby) to go. That’s the man that had sexually abused her,” Lamie said.

Kianna also said she didn’t want to go; then wet her pants. Lamie took Kianna into the shower, turned on the water then went to change the baby. When Lamie returned to the shower room, Kianna was on the floor sobbing that she didn’t want to go.

Lamie called her husband, Joshua. He talked to Kianna, and she got up, dried off and started putting on her clothes. Lamie went into the living room and heard “dog food scattering across the kitchen floor.” She finished getting the boys ready then went into the kitchen and found Kianna on the floor with “stiff arms pulled down to her side … her jaw was moving.” She called 911.

During his testimony, Puga said he treated Kianna after Lamie told counselors the child was aggressive toward others and herself — including trying to cut herself with a knife.

Puga said he saw “superficial” cuts on Kianna’s wrist. He diagnosed her as having mood disorders and post traumatic stress syndrome, but after a week discharged her saying she was not a harm to herself or others.

Kankakee attorney John Coghlan is serving as Lamie’s defense attorney.”

Accused child killer testified at trial [The Daily Journal 10/6/14]

“A Livingston County jury will resume deliberations Tuesday morning in the murder case of Heather Lamie, who a prosecutor said reached her breaking point when her foster child, Kianna Rudesill, picked up a dog food bowl and threw it everywhere on May 3, 2011. 

“I submit that’s when she lost it; she snapped,” said Livingston County State’s Attorney Seth Uphoff in his closing argument on Mondid ay.  “After she (Kianna) threw the dog food she (Lamie) grabbed her and slammed her repeatedly into the wall.”

Several experts who testified for the state said Kianna had 33 bruises throughout her body, including under her arms, on her legs, on her back and on her head.

Kianna, 4, of Bloomington, died May 4, 2011, of head injuries caused by blunt force trauma. Lamie, 31, then of Cullom and now of Kankakee, was initially charged with two counts of murder and one count of endangering the life or health of a child in the case.

Uphoff withdrew the murder count that alleged intent on Monday. The remaining murder charge alleges Lamie knew her actions had a strong probability of death or bodily harm for Kianna.

The case went to the jury about 3:15 p.m. Jurors were sent home for the day at 6:30 p.m. and will resume deliberations at 9 a.m. Tuesday.

While Uphoff maintained Lamie caused the injuries, Lamie’s attorney, John Coghlan, said no evidence was presented justifying that claim and he said the Livingston County sheriff’s police did not test anything at Lamie’s home.

“There was no physical evidence and the one thing that could have had it, they didn’t test,” Coghlan said referring to a kitchen chair that police said had what appeared to be blood on it.

Coghlan maintained Kianna was not a normal little girl as portrayed by the state.

“She was removed from her home because of sexual and physical abuse; she was hospitalized for cutting herself and she had self-injurious behavior,” he said.

But Uphoff said all of the state’s experts — Dr. Channing Petrak, a pediatric physician who specializes in child abuse; Dr. Scott Denton, a forensic pathologist who conducted Kianna’s autopsy; and Dr. Steven Lichtenstein, an ophthalmologist — said Kianna’s injuries could not have been self-inflicted.

Uphoff said Lichtenstein testified Kianna had hemorrhages to multiple layers of her eyes – from back to front — and that “it takes an extreme trauma in order to inflict that type of retina damage.”

Coghlan told the jury to discount Petrak because she would “sell a story of abuse because she is an abuse expert” and Lichtenstein because he didn’t see Kianna until late May 4 after she was brain dead. He said Denton didn’t have all the information about Kianna — especially her mental health.

Coghlan said defense witness Dr. Janice Ophoven, who said Kianna had a blood clotting disorder and testified the blunt force trauma could have been accidental or intentional but nothing is known about how it happened — was being honest.

But Uphoff said no one, including Lamie’s husband, Joshua Lamie, ever saw Kianna’s tantrums, fits or head banging that Heather Lamie maintains caused the little girl’s injuries.”

Jury resuming deliberations in Lamie murder case

[The Pantagraph 10/7/14 by Mary Ann Ford]

Mary Ann Ford’s Tweets

  • “Dr. Denton disagrees with Dr Ophoven and says Kianna did not have a blood clotting disorder that would have increased chances of bruising”
  • “Dr. Denton still maintains Kianna’s injuries could not have been self inflicted an aren’t consistent with had banging. State rests its case.”
  • “The attorneys are discussing jury instructions. State is dismissing count one of murder, showing intent.”
  • “The second count of murder remains as does the charge of endangering the life or health of a child”
  • “Defense attorney asks for directed verdict saying none of the testimony directly linked Heather Lamie to the injuries”
  • “Judge denies the motion. The jury is coming into the courtroom to hear closing arguments”
  • “States attorney Seth Uphoff says all experts agreed Kianna could not have caused the injuries to herself. It was significant force”
  • “State just finished final arguments showing picture from Kianna’s autopsy saying this is what she looked like after Heather got angry”
  • “Defense is starting closing arguments. Says Kianna was not a normal child; had been hospitalized for cutting and self injury”
  • “Defense is challenging the credibility of Dr. Channing Petrak and her testimony”
  • “Defense emphasizes no testing was done on any evidence in the Lamie home including a chair that might have had blood on it.”
  • “Defense maintains it has provided information the state hasn’t including Kianna’s mental health issues.”
  • “Defense says the audio tape shows Josh Lamie no more meant “beat her ass” than he didn’t go to Iraq. Kianna loved Josh Lamie.”
  • “Defense has finished; the state is giving its reply”
  • “State says no one but Heather saw Kianna’s fits, aggressive behavior against others or head banging…not teachers, therapists or husband”
  • “The jury is getting jury instructions and then will get a break to eat lunch before getting all the evidence to begin deliberations”
  • “The jury is now in its deliberations in the Heather Lamie murder case.”
  • “Judge was planning to suspend the jury’s deliberations but the jury has asked to continue for awhile.”
  • “The judge is giving the jury until 6 p.m. Then will call them into the courtroom to see if they want to continue or break until tomorrow.”
  • “The jury sent a note asking to continue deliberations until 6:30 and return tomorrow at 9 a.m.”

Update 24: “Heather Lamie Jury returns guilty verdict on both counts. Lamie family sobbing has been found guilty of both murder and endangering the welfare of a child in connection with the May 2011 death of her foster daughter, Kianna Rudesill. Hand Clap

The jury of six men and six women returned the verdict at noon Tuesday. Lamie’s family sobbed as the judge polled the jury, a routine part of the process.”

Live tweets from the Heather Lamie murder trial [The Pantagraph 10/7/14 by Mary Ann Ford]

Mary Ann Ford Tweets:

  • “The jury in the Heather Lamie case is back and beginning diberations”
  • “The jury has reached a verdict. Everyone is returning to the courtroom”
  • “Jury returns guilty verdict on both counts. Lamie family sobbing”
  • “Heather is taken into custody sobbing. Her husband is sobbing in the courtroom. All of Kianna’s relatives also are crying”
  • “Heather is coming back in the courtroom”
  • “Sentencing Nov 21. Heather is visibly ill in the courtroom. She will remain in custody until the sentencing”
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20 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.

  14. Jury trial is ongoing. Look here for updates

  15. Heather Lamie has been found guilty of both murder and endangering the welfare of a child

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