Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Negligent homicide likely in South Dakota detention case

This case stank from the very beginning.

The Division of Criminal Investigation is apparently still reviewing procedures at a Black Hills 'boot camp' after another child died while in the custody of South Dakota 'Corrections.' Brady Folkens of Brookings was 17.
Folkens’ mother, Dawn Van Ballegooyen, said she went to Custer to visit him Saturday and was told he was ill when she arrived. She talked to her son, who said he had been sick for a few days and had thrown up. Medical staff told her he had liver blockage. “He was awake, and he was a little yellow,” she said. “But he was my same Brady.” Corrections spokesman Michael Winder said Folkens said he felt ill beginning Thursday. Shortly after his mother’s visit, Folkens was flown to Sioux Falls. Van Ballegooyen followed in a vehicle, and had her sister meet Brady at the hospital. But by the time she arrived at the hospital in Sioux Falls, her son had died, and staff were working to revive him. [Beth Wischmeyer, Sioux Falls Argus Leader]
Flown from the Custer Airport to Sioux Falls, about 350 miles: a flight of at least two hours in a state plane?

Brady's mother has been billed for the fateful plane ride and believes the state may have have infected her son with Hepatitis C possibly during a forced hair cutting incident, his immune system weakened from a potent acne medication contraindicated for use with other medicines with which Folkens was being treated.

In a phone interview Ms. Van Ballegooyen told this blog Brady never had a previous acne condition. After being urged to by the Brookings Police Department she signed off on Brady's admission as a child in need of supervision (CHINS) after Folkens' experimentation with cannabis. She is distraught with grief and is ready to fight for the truth but has yet been able to find a lawyer who wants to go up against Attorney General Marty Jackley.

She said she has been poring over documents and doing extensive readings on the legal ramifications of criminal neglect leading to wrongful death and the window for an argument before a judge is closing.

Brady's official death certificate shows the 17-year-old died from lymphocytic myocarditis associated with Parvovirus B19: Dawn Van Ballegooyen believes that the state is covering up key evidence.

Why was he not helicoptered to Rapid City about fifteen minutes away for dialysis? Why was Brady admitted to the State Treatment and Rehabilitation (STAR) Academy without any symptoms of Hepatitis C but then was later diagnosed with it?

The state has a history of poor choices made by state employees: fourteen year old Gina Score died after a forced run in 1999. The state settled with Score's family for an undisclosed amount of money without accepting guilt for her death.

This might be as close to an admission of guilt by the State as we'll see without a trial or lawsuit:
Jim Seward, general counsel for Gov. Dennis Daugaard, said the group is tasked with finding ways to divert youth away from commitments at the state's juvenile facilities in Custer, Plankinton and Sioux Falls. If the juvenile justice system were a pool, Seward said, with the shallow end being county probation and monitoring, DOC commitments would represent "the deep end." It's also clear that regardless of the divergent definitions and programs, South Dakota commits more juveniles per capita than almost any other state. More populated parts of the state are more likely to have options for troubled youth beyond a trip to the STAR Academy. Judges, prosecutors and probation officers from smaller areas have told work group members that they'd like to see more ways to avoid commitments. [John Hult, Sioux Falls Argus Leader]
This is a good example why PAs or CNPs assigned to medical cases is questionable: as i suspected, whoever diagnosed Hep C profiled Brady as a user and chose to do nothing about it.

DCI investigating itself means a criminal trial will probably never happen even though many associated with this tragedy believe crimes were committed. The best Brady Folken's family can hope for is a wrongful death lawsuit.

If you are a lawyer or know of one with a license to practice in South Dakota please contact me: lawrence dot kurtz at yahoo dot com.

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