According to court documents from The New York Times, a 1-year-old child passed away in Brooklyn, New York, last month, shortly after a judge ordered her and her brother to be returned to their parents. The city officials had accused the parents of being abusive towards the children.
As per the court documents obtained by the Times, Ella Vitalis was admitted to the hospital on September 15 with a head injury caused by blunt force. The papers further reveal that the infant had other damages, including a swollen eyelid, bruising, cuts on her forehead, and what seemed like a broken jaw, along with bite marks.
In a statement issued on Tuesday evening, a spokesperson from the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) emphasized their commitment to the safety and well-being of children in New York City. The spokesperson also confirmed that an investigation into the recent tragedy is underway in collaboration with the NYPD.
Just a day after Judge Erik S. Pitchal ordered Ella and her older brother Liam, 2, to remain under the care of their parents in Kings County Court, Ella tragically passed away. The two siblings had been placed in foster care with family members until June due to a “substantiated finding of abuse last year” by the ACS.
Upon being reunited with their child, Ella, the parents reportedly neglected to attend at least five follow-up appointments with specialists. They did not allow either of their children to be evaluated for early care intervention.
According to the Times, the judge presiding over the hearing on September 14 had the authority to remove the children from their parents’ custody but chose not to. Pitchal allowed the children to remain with Browne and Vitalis and instructed the parents to work out a visitation schedule with their maternal grandmother.
According to records obtained by the Times, in September 2022, Ella was hospitalized with a tongue laceration and was later found to have a moderate amount of blood in her mouth. It was discovered that she had been left alone with her father, and a doctor concluded that a sharp object must have been used to cause the injury.
Unfortunately, Pitchal could not be reached for comment at this time. When contacted, the Kings County Family Court declined to respond to PEOPLE’s inquiries. Similarly, The New York State Office of Court Administration referred all questions to the family court.
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