Skip to comments.Parents Plead Guilty In Dead Relative Case
Posted on 01/05/2005 6:35:54 AM PST by Calpernia
The parents of a 13-year-old foster child who made her bring food to a dead man who lay rotting in their Clark home pleaded guilty Tuesday to elderly neglect and child cruelty.
Kenneth Keaveney and his wife, Donna, pleaded guilty in state Superior Court, admitting that Donna's father was left to rot upstairs for weeks before being found on the floor of a room littered with flies, maggots and dog feces.
Union County Prosecutor Theodore J. Romankow said the plea ends any doubts as to what happened to Nicola Lombardi, whose decomposed corpse was discovered nearly mummified in the August heat inside the upstairs living room of the split level house he owned in a residential section of the township back in 2003.
"The case serves as a grim reminder of the need to provide proper care for our elderly," the prosecutor said. "There is also a price to pay for what they did to this young girl by making her care for him under such horrible conditions."
Clark police responding to calls about a foul odor that had permeated the neighborhood found the 82-year-old man's body in an advanced state of decomposition. An autopsy determined that Lombardi had been dead for several weeks in the room where the girl was sent every day with food, said police Chief Anton Danco.
Superior Court Judge Scott J. Moynihan, in accepting the pleas, said while the couple may not face state prison time, they still could be ordered to pay fines, attend counseling, perform community service, and serve time in the Union County jail as a condition of probation when they are sentenced March 23.
The 13-year-old girl and two other foster children, ages 11 and 4, were removed from the house by the state Division of Youth and Family Services after the body was found.
Have you been following this case?
Where's that "Just damn" guy?
Why were they making the child take food to a dead person? This is not only very sad, it makes no sense.
There are some really sick people around. And how they got to be foster parents is beyond me. Were there not case workers checking on the kids who noticed the ordor or something?
That child was bringing food to him for weeks. No one went upstairs to check on him. The family claimed in interviews that they didn't know he was dead.
Our DYFS system is being 'redone'. This is not at all out of the ordinary for DYFS stories here.
Another one I've been following is about undernourished children eating wallpaper paste to survive because the foster parents would not feed them.
I wonder if they didn't know that he was dead because they never spent any time with him themselves and had the girl take care of him. If the "parents" were abusive, she may have been too afraid to tell them that he was dead.
The girl was the only one sent up there. No one went into the room.
We need pictures of these people.
Psychiatrists have trhe highest suicide rate of any profession - says a lot about the stability of those who are supposed to restore stability to sick minds.
It has been my observation that Social Services agencies, that deal with racist and sexist issues have an unwarranted number of minorities that tend to come across as racist, and of females that tend to come across as male-haters.
Why should we be surprised that those who abuse children would be making the news as child-abusing foster parents?
It's a sick world and leniency to those who commit these atrocities is a symptom of how sick our society has become.
Trust me. They knew he was dead. They are just crazy in the head. When you have a dead body in the house, everyone knows it.
They have to be lying!
They had to know.
Yes in deed.
He couldn't have been dead. His SS checks were still being cashed.........
My daughter used to take horseback riding lessons. One morning we showed up at the stables. We parked about 50 feet from the entrance and as soon as we opened the door, it hit us, the smell of decomp. A horse had keeled over during the night and the knacker hadn't come yet. My clothes smelled for days. There is absolutely no mistaking the smell of death.
Oh, the radio reports from the them were lies. This article says they knew he was dead.
Feb 3, 2004 6:53 pm US/Eastern
(1010 WINS) (CLARK, NJ) A couple has been charged with forcing their 13-year-old foster daughter to take meals to a dead man's room even though they knew the man had passed away, prosecutors said.
Police were called to the house in August and an autopsy determined that the 82-year-old man had been dead for several weeks in the room where the girl was sent every day with food.
Kenneth and Donna Keaveney were charged Tuesday with child cruelty and elder neglect following a five-month investigation, Union County Prosecutor Theodore J. Romankow said.
"They both knew the grandfather had passed away and was rotting to the point where the house reeked of death," Romankow said.
The decaying remains of Donna Keaveney's father, Nicola Lombardi, were found Aug. 28.
The 13-year-old and two other foster children, ages 11 and 4, who were living in the house, were immediately removed by the state Division of Youth and Family Services, said Andy Williams, a spokesman for the agency.
Assistant Prosecutor Robert O'Leary said the girl did not tell anyone about the situation.
The Keaveneys had been foster parents for almost five years, Williams said. It was not known how long the three foster children were living at the home before the body was found.
The Keaveneys were scheduled to make their first court appearance on the charges next week. O'Leary said the couple did not yet have a lawyer.
No one answered the door at the Keaveney home, even though a late-model Mercury SUV was parked in the driveway Tuesday evening.
Bill Megee, a 60-year-old retired electrician who lives next door to the Keaveneys in the solidly middle-class neighborhood, said the couple moved in to the blue, split-level home about 10 years ago with Lombardi and his wife. But the wife was killed in an auto accident four or five years ago, Megee said, and the family underwent drastic changes afterward.
Megee said he sometimes heard Kenneth Keaveneys ridiculing the older man. "You could hear his yelling and screaming, 'your father stinks -- can't you give him a shower?' " They treated Lombardi badly, the neighbor said.
Megee said for a day or two before the body was discovered, he noticed a stench coming from his neighbors' house. "I told my wife, 'there is something dead out here,"' he said believing it was probably the rotting corpse of an animal.
The troubling case is the latest involving children under the care of DYFS. A Collingswood couple was charged in October with starving their four adopted children.
That case caused outrage after DYFS officials said a caseworker was supposed to have been visiting the Collingswood home on a regular basis yet made no report that anything was wrong with the children.
Troubles at the agency previously had led officials to order a safety assessment of every one of the thousands of children under foster care in the state last year. Williams said it was not known if the Keaveney home had been visited as part of those assessments.
James Davy, the newly appointed human services commissioner, called the assessments into question last month and ordered that about half of them be repeated with DYFS caseworkers under the supervision of independent supervisors.
Kevin Ryan, the state's new Child Advocate, said the case in Clark "once again raises very profound questions about the safety assessments and whether children in foster care are safe. We intend to address that as part of our report that we plan to release to the public later this month."
My Dad opened a freezer full of deer meat sometime after the fuse blew on the power to the basement. Great air seal on that freezer ... we didn't smell a thing until he opened it!
Right, but rotten meat ain't the same as "fresh" decomp. Maybe it's the gasses from the gut.
Having smelled both, humans have a distinct , unmistakable odor.
I want to know why they needed a five-month investigation before charges were filed.
DYFS was on record to have had made at least 2 visits to this home WHILE the grandfather was dead.
The investigation involved more than just the family.
And I use the term 'family' here speaking just as a collective.
This is NOT a family.
If you want on the list, FReepmail me. This IS a high-volume PING list...
Methinks this is about checks and ownership of the house.
I think foster parents need to be required to bring children in to a state facility once a month or so, where the children can have a quick examination by a nurse, and an interview away from the foster parents. And the children need to be reassured that if they tell about a serious problem, they will not be going back to the home even for a minute. A lot of these caseworkers are deadbeats who are just going shopping or socializing because they prefer that to working, but the system pretty much assures that the pool of available social workers will be drawn from the dregs of society. People who don't want to work are attracted to jobs where they won't be supervised, and civilized people have better options than to take a job which involves frequent visits to dangerous neighborhoods and dangerous homes.
Why were they making the child take food to a dead person?....It's a Santeria thing. You wouldn't understand.
Right. If the neighbors could smell him, so could the people living under the same roof.
I'm not convinced about them being crazy, though. Some people just have no heart and will do anything for money. I think it is likely that once his death became official, they would have to move out of the house (it was his) and his SS checks would stop. They likely only had foster children for the sake of the $$ they got from the government, too.
I feel so ignorant. Here in the south we bury them warm and split their stuff.
Reminds me of the movie "The burbs" with Tom Hanks.
Were there stock piles of food up there or did the magets take care of that?
They would have to be crazy to live in the same house as that smell.
A friends father was dead in his condo for about one week before he was found. After a week of the bio-hazard folks doing what they do, the friend was allowed into the condo. A week after that we helped him remove his dad's belongings, even with the carpet, drapes and all furniture removed the place had a horrible, sweet-sickly, make you want to vomit odor.
No way a person can live with that smell and not be crazy - - I feel for those foster kids.
You're right. After thinking about it and realizing how horrible the smell would be, there wouldn't be any way that they couldn't know.
I have had the misfortune of discovering a decomposing body outdoors. No way you wouldn't find one inside in summer.
I'm almost afraid to ask, but how did you manage to find a decomposing body?
Hi. I just realized that the response I made to you earlier didn't appear on the thread.
I asked if you were a child when you found the body. I hope that you weren't.
No, I was in my 30's. I wasn't freaked out. I just hope not to repeat it.