Archive for February, 2012

How Did Trumbull County Miss This Sick Boy?

To be sure there are a thousand sad stories of abuse or neglect of children even in a County the size of Trumbull County, Ohio.  This is why records must be kept on national and state databases. Trumbull may have kept these records correctly but they do not have a good track record of keeping information timely.  Parents or care-givers like to “jump” state or move when CSB is after them for a drug screen or if the parents sense the bruises might be discovered.  The person or person’s under investigation need to know moving will not buy them time.  In the tragic case of Willie, TCCSB knew he was sick and it is not clear what they did or what they knew.

Look at the story posted below and ask how there could have been a concern in the summer of 2007 noted by CSB, then a follow-up contact in early 2008 and finally a death in Cuyahoga of the same little boy two months later. Did CSB ever force the parents to take the boy to the doctor’s in 2007.  Did they seek verification in January of 2008? The boy’s Aunt thinks CSB might have been tricked into believing Willie was someone else.  Willie at the time of his death was a poor skeleton of a person.

Does Children Services Board, it’s Director or the Commissioners even care to ask questions?  There is an epidemic of children dying in either foster care or care overseen/approved by CSB.  This would be the 5th death in 9 years.

I will send a copy of this blog to the Governor’s office and the Attorney General of Ohio.  They ought to know.

Cleveland (AP)

The parents of an 8-year-old boy who died from Hodgkin lymphoma after suffering for months from undiagnosed swollen glands have pleaded guilty to denying him medical treatment.

Monica Hussing, 37, and William Robinson Sr., 40, both of Cleveland, face up to eight years in prison at sentencing. They pleaded guilty Monday to attempted involuntary manslaughter in a last-minute plea deal before their trial was about to begin.

Willie Robinson collapsed at his home on March 22, 2008. Prosecutors say he had begged his parents to take him to see a doctor but was rejected. Hodgkin lymphoma is a highly treatable cancer.

Hussing’s attorney, John Luskin, said his client took responsibility in the case but, given her education and background, didn’t realize the boy was seriously ill and was treating him with cold medication.

“She is a mother that just did not have the capability to recognize” cancer, Luskin said Wednesday.

Robinson’s lawyer, Thomas Rein, called it a “sad, horrific case” that drew him inquiries from the White House as changes to federal health care law were being considered in 2009.

“Had he had regular health coverage, it possibly could have prevented this,” Rein said of the boy’s  death.

Luskin and Rein said the parents had financial problems and tried to get checkups for their children but couldn’t afford it.

“The kid had what appeared to be swollen glands,” Luskin said. “This was not a tumor that was getting bigger. It would come and go. He would have his good days, he would have his bad days.”

Hussing’s daughter, Lillian Hussing, said the family didn’t have money for medical care when they lived in Warren, tried repeatedly to get help from social services and visited a free clinic but left when told they would have to pay $180.

“We did not know it was cancer,” she said. “We tried and tried to get help and were denied every time,” said the daughter, who’s 18.

The family soon moved to Cleveland and the boy died within weeks.

Prosecutors say that while the boy was suffering, the parents claimed financial hardship but paid $87 to have a pit bull treated for fleas. Luskin said the dog belonged to Hussing’s parents and her parents paid for the treatment.

Trumbull County Children Services says it had worked with the family to provide Willie health care, getting involved after receiving a phone call in July 2007. Agency officials said a case worker visited the family at least monthly and pushed the parents to have a medical follow-up on his swollen neck but they didn’t.

However, Rein said a social worker who visited the family in January 2008 “indicated the kids were healthy and happy.” He said no one knew the boy had cancer until he died and an autopsy was performed.

And Lillian Hussing said a case worker had told the family the boy’s lump looked like a swollen gland and to hold off until they could secure financial assistance before getting it checked.

About two weeks after they moved to Cleveland, she said, her brother came down with something. Her mother treated him with cold medicine and he died within three days.

She said the boy never complained about his neck.

“He played, he went outside, he wrestled, he played video games,” the boy’s sister said. “He was the happiest kid you could imagine. It never seemed like he was suffering.”

The emotional aftermath from their son’s death led the couple to split, according to Luskin.

The couple’s four other children under 18 were placed in the custody of a family member. Luskin said the daughter, upon turning 18, decided to return to live with her mother.

Rein said Robinson agreed to plead guilty so his children could be spared any further grief and wouldn’t have to suffer by testifying. Lillian Hussing said her mother took a plea bargain because of the uncertainty of a trial and fear she could be sent to prison for a long time.

As part of the deal, the prosecution agreed to drop four counts each against each parent, including child endangering. Prosecutors didn’t agree to a sentence recommendation. Both Luskin and Rein said they hope the judge will consider probation.

“There’s not a day my client … starts without shedding a tear for his son,” Rein said.

The coroner ruled that the boy was a victim of medical neglect and died from pneumonia due to Hodgkin lymphoma.

Hodgkin lymphoma is a highly treatable cancer, with as many as 95 percent of patients in early stages of the disease surviving for five years or more with treatment. It’s one of the most common forms of cancers among children.

Dr. Stanton L. Gerson, director of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center at Case Western Reserve University, said parents should watch for glands that are swollen for more than two or three weeks, particularly if accompanied by weight loss and nighttime fevers.


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This Should Have Been Stopped

By Attorney David Engler

I have been an elected official for over 22 years. The past 11 have been with the Board of the Mahoning County Career and Technical Center. I was a Board Member who received a deranged business card from the killer who stalked Stacey Sutera. Please make no mistake about it: Stacey Sutera was a beautiful daughter, mother, granddaughter, teacher, friend and colleague. This was not some boyfriend-girlfriend relationship gone bad. This was a freak ego-maniac; obsessed old man who was bent on revenge once he learned the object of his obsession had rejected him. There was no relationship. It existed in his twisted mind. And then this criminal monster stole this tremendous young successful life from her family, friends and students.

I cannot remember being so sad and angry at the same time over something that has unfolded in the public. It did not have to happen. It could have been stopped. The government paid to protect us should have insisted that if the killer was not going to be in jail for 5 years, he should have worn a GPS tracking device that kept him out of Mahoning County. If he took the bracelet off or came within the County limits the victim and police would be immediately notified. She lived a nightmare of wondering where he was. And I do not know if she approved the plea agreement that got him no monitoring or jail or if that was recommended to her. Often a battered or stalked woman will not want to push too far. They fear retaliation. Stacey did everything right.

She called the police and Canfield PD responded to protect her. She received a restraining order. She filed a civil suit. She installed cameras. She asked for help. So why wasn’t he made to pay for a GPS tracking device? It was available.

The federal government, state government and every person that is elected to represent people should recognize that the answer to this tragedy is to hold those that should have protected Stacey accountable and to make sure it never happens again. Never again should a madman stalk an innocent young woman, put her life in tatters and not be required to wear a bracelet that would protect his victim. Anywhere. Anytime.

Some will argue where to draw the line. I trust the Judges will know that line if they are presented with the facts and threat. But please be sure that the devil that took Stacey was an obvious threat. She knew that and it meant that others knew the danger as well. May her memory be a call to action.

Attorney David Engler
Phone: 330-729-9777 Attorney Engler’s website
Areas of Practice: Family Law, Elder Law, Domestic Relations, Bankruptcy, Criminal

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Rest In Peace Mom

Austintown, Ohio and Orono, Maine- Wanda Jane Engler, 84, died February 2nd, 2012, at the Maine Veterans’ Home after battling Parkinson Disease. She was born February 27th, 1927 in Bellwood, PA, daughter of Samuel and Emma (Hostler) Hildebrand. She graduated in 1948 from the Clearfield School of Nursing at Indiana State College with a degree in Nursing. Wanda was proud of her service as Nurse Cadet during WWII and working with veterans at the Cleveland VA Hospital, where she participated in some of the very first open heart surgery as Operating Room Nurse. On January 20th,1951,she married William L. Engler, the father of her four children. She worked as a homemaker and nurse throughout Ohio, finally settling in Youngstown, OH, where she worked as an office nurse for Dr. Tochtenhagen in Girard and as a nanny for her grandchildren until her retirement. She loved working around her home and reading. She loved her grandchildren immensely and was known to everyone as “Nana”. She enjoyed her neighbors and lived next door to the best neighbors ever, Carl and Mary Gump. She moved to Maine in August 2009, to be closer to her youngest daughter and granddaughter who cared for her during her hardest months.

Wanda was predeceased by her loving husband of 39 years, Bill; sisters, Lorraine Fair and Grace Large and brother Eugene “Red” Hildebrand. She is survived by her four children: Patricia Engler of Conifer, CO; William Engler (Wendy)of Minneapolis, MN; David Engler of Canfield, OH; and Amy Engler Booth,(John) of Orono; grandchildren: Mallory Engler of Houston, TX; Elizabeth Engler, of Chicago, IL; Taylor Engler, of San Diego, CA; Emma Engler, of Canton, OH; William Engler, of Pittsburgh, PA; and Molly Booth, of Orono. She is also survived by: sister Thelma McWilliams of Bluffton SC; and brother Ralph Hildebrand of Altoona, PA; and nieces and nephews.

The family would like to express sincere thanks to the staff at Maine Veterans’ Home. Interment and a memorial service will be held in Austintown, OH in the late spring. In lieu of flowers, those who wish to remember Wanda in a special way may make gifts in her memory to the Clearfield Hospital Nursing Alumni Association’s Nursing Scholarship, c/o Rita Thomson, 612 Arnold Ave., Clearfield, PA 16830.

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