Skip to comments.[Murdered 5-yr-old] Evelyn [Miller]'s father, stepmother suspected she was a victim of neglect
Posted on 10/10/2005 8:41:24 AM PDT by newgeezer
Andrew and his wife, Lindsey, of Waterloo, contacted the Department of Human Services numerous times about Evelyns living conditions, primarily concerning alleged neglect. They and other members of the Christie family said Evelyn was the subject of at least a dozen reports.
The DHS made one cursory investigation.
Andrew was 19 when his daughter was born in 1999. He was in the delivery room, although her mother, Noel Miller, then 16, was already dating Casey Frederiksen, 20 at the time.
Evelyn would live with her mother and Frederiksen, and later the couples two sons. Evelyn visited Andrew on alternating weekends and holidays. Frederiksen was reportedly at home with Evelyn when she disappeared July 1.
We never thought something as drastically bad as this would happen, said Andrew Christie.
Evelyn may have been exposed to marijuana and other drugs, according to Andrew and Lindsey. They said they saw drug paraphernalia in the residence and snapped photos while building a case in a possible attempt to get custody of Evelyn. The couple said they reported what they saw to the DHS.
But it wasnt enough.
Only one call to the state agency made in the last four years prompted a DHS employee to conduct an investigation, Gov. Tom Vilsack said in mid-July. In that case, the agency found no evidence of abuse or neglect.
Lindsey said the investigation was prompted by an elementary school teacher who reported bruises on Evelyns back. The report summary, according to Andrew and Lindsey, states Miller told a case worker Evelyn liked scooting down stairs on her back, which may have caused the bruises.
The Christies added Evelyn never showed signs of physical abuse.
Lindsey said she called to report suspected neglect, drug exposure and filthy living conditions six times.
They made the first call following an early visitation with Evelyn. Lindsey saw what she believed was a cigarette burn on Evelyn, who was still an infant. The DHS contacted Miller. Upset, Miller called Lindsey and Andrew.
The burn turned out to be a skin rash called impetigo, Lindsey said.
Miller has declined to talk to the Courier. The Courier was unable to contact Fredericksen, who is in the Linn County Correctional Center, charged with possession of child pornography.
How the Department of Human Services responded to the Christies other calls is unclear.
DHS reports are kept confidential to protect children involved, said Roger Munns, an agency spokesman.
According to a state handbook on assessments of reported child abuse, if the reporting person cannot provide specific information other than the caretaker uses illegal drugs around a child, DHS cannot accept the report to make an assessment for the presence of drugs in the childs system.
However, allegations of drug use are a crime, Munns said.
We would very likely contact police, he said.
Miller and Frederiksen have not been charged with possession of drugs, but federal court documents assert Frederiksen used and sold marijuana.
In all abuse reports, department officials decide whether to open a case by assuming what the caller says is true and then determining if that is child abuse, Munns said.
For example, if a caller said they saw a mother spank a child in a store and thats all they saw the incident wouldnt be considered abuse. The reasoning is the caller didnt say they saw a mark left behind, Munns said.
When the department does choose to investigate, an employee would have to make contact with the caretaker. If no one answers the door, the worker leaves a note. If a child answers, policy directs DHS investigators not to enter the home or even ask much, Munns said.
You dont want to have a situation where there is suspicion about what was asked of the child, Munns said.
The point of the investigation is to assess the caretaker, he added.
DHS receives 36,000 complaints a year, mostly from mandatory reporters, such as doctors, nurses and teachers. But anyone can call with concerns. Intake operators the people who answer the phone weed out one in four calls immediately.
In a recent example, a person called complaining DHS should do something about loud music at the Iowa State Fair. Declining to investigate that call was simple, Munns said: The Iowa State Fair is not a caretaker.
DHS also handles many calls from estranged parents trying to cause trouble for the other parent.
Its so discouraging. (They) call us with completely fictitious, or 85 percent fictitious, complaints, Munns said.
Those calls take time away from serious reports, but the department must consider every call. Annually, about 25,000 reports receive further inspection and two-thirds of those are unfounded.
Most people assume that in founded abuse and neglect cases children are removed from the home, Munns said.
Usually children remain in the home while the (caretakers) receive counseling, he said.
State child protection agencies must meet national standards: They must prevent an additional instance of child abuse within six months of involvement in 93 percent of cases. Iowa falls short of the national standard at 90 percent.
The Christies say they have requested copies of the other reports made in Evelyns life. In July, a judge removed Millers two sons from her and Frederiksens care following Evelyns death.
Andrew Christie wonders why workers didnt remove the children including his daughter sooner.
Jessica Miller is a reporter for the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier. Contact her at (319) 291-1581 or e-mail jessica. email@example.com
Perhaps this provides a clue:
DHS also handles many calls from estranged parents trying to cause trouble for the other parent. Its so discouraging. (They) call us with completely fictitious, or 85 percent fictitious, complaints, [DHS spokesman Roger] Munns said.
I wonder if Christie had not divulged he was Evelyn's biological father, maybe DHS would have performed more than "one cursory investigation."
Earlier articles can be listed by clicking EVELYNMILLER in the KEYWORDS list above.
I wonder why Andy didn't go to jail after he got a 15-year-old pregnant.
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I wonder why Andy didn't marry the mother. Oh, never mind, that's so old-fashioned of me.
Yes, regretably, when you have split families, reports of abuse like this from one side of the split against the other usually have low credibility. Also, although I strongly disapprove of marijuana use (and selling the stuff), that's not normally an indicator of child abuse.
It's a tragic outcome, but if anything Social Services usually can be faulted for interfering too much, not too little.
Yes..how dare we impose the idea of a stable family environment for a child on someone.. /sarcasm off
Its lack of the family unit that is causing the break down in our society... they question becomes is this a cycle that society is going through..or is this the backwards slide like Rome.
Maybe she was 16? (That is, if 16 is the age of consent, he being 19 or 20 at the time.)
At any rate, I wouldn't be surprised if she was already a 'woman of the world' and I seriously doubt he's any more to blame than she was.
Well since the mother was dating someone else by the time she had little Evelyn, might not have had the opportunity.
I wonder what Nicoles home life was that it was normal to date someone other than the baby's father when pregnant?
why does it always seem that Social Services interfers too much where it is not warranted, and too little where it is absolutely necessary?
Assuming you mean Noel, they were all close friends (bong buddies, I'd guess). Earlier stories said Andy and Casey were best friends.
As for her broken home life, earlier threads gave some indication that her mother has some issues, too.
Now, if this were a BEFORE thread (i.e., before the child was killed) rather than an AFTER thread, and we were discussing the propriety of the parents' behavior here, all the self-styled libertarians would be jumping all over you for being "judgmental" and "trying to get into people's private lives/bedrooms." And if that happens on a forum dominated by social conservatives, you know how strong the sentiment is among the general public.
"I wonder why Andy didn't marry the mother. Oh, never mind, that's so old-fashioned of me."
How DARE you be so judgemental!!!!!!!
I just keep imagining that somebody, at some point, might have shown some responsibility ... but nobody did.
They are four years apart. That is permissible.
This story is poorly written: "Miller and Frederiksen have not been charged with possession of drugs, but federal court documents assert Frederiksen used and sold marijuana."
Federal court documents pertinent to what? Is there a federal drug-dealing charge pending against Frederiksen? Was there a prior conviction? Are the Feds actively investigating this case? Because of the child porn? When and how was that discovered? After the death, because they (who Feds or state or local) had greater search powers than when they were investigating on the complaint of a parent?
Newspapers used to have editors who would think of these questions before a story went to print.
One mention of the Feds in the story and no explanation of their involvement.
Sorry, yes meant Noel!
And I wonder why any parent would let their 16 year old girl date a 20 year old man. Didn't happen in my family.
Yeah I have no doubt about that...:) I get out of peoples lives and bedrooms when the remove crime from society.... (heres the real stinker of it... I am an Independent/conservative.) I hate government intrusion but realize that it is necessary at times.
I dated a (just turned) 19 year old when I was 15 (almost 16). He was only 2 grades ahead of me in school (I was a Sophomore, he was a Senior). My parents had no clue as to what his real age was, and I let them believe he was only 2 years older.
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