A baby in Florida was found dead after the Florida Department of Children and Families failed to respond to 11 reports of abuse about a mother and father.
Emma Morrison was only 49 days old when she died. Her mother, Lisa Lamoureaux, 33, found the infant in her crib, dead, on the morning of January 17. Details surrounding the death at this point are unclear, but the parents have a long criminal history and the mother had her four previous children taken away from her.
Lamoureaux was a longtime drug user and was arrested nine times before the baby’s death. Her four other children were removed from her care by the state.
Despite knowing Lamoureaux's long history of neglect and drug abuse, the DCF only told her to take parenting classes when tiny Emma was born. She did not take those classes.
They also did not ask her if she was still using drugs.
Emma’s father’s criminal past might be considered even more frightening than her mother’s.
Dwayne Morrison, 48, was arrested 35 times since 1992. His list of criminal charges include: kidnapping, robbery, battery, aggravated battery on a pregnant woman, fraud, contempt of court, escape and drug charges.
Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office was frequently called to their house while Lamoureaux was pregnant, as Morrison beat her.
Though he was charged with two counts of domestic battery, Lamoureaux decided to drop them.
After she gave birth, Morrison continued to beat her. She made a call to the DCF’s abuse and neglect hotline to report he had slapped her in the face while she was holding Emma. Like the other beating incidents, she decided to drop these charges as well.
The DCF reported them to three service providers and stopped monitoring them. The programs included: Family Preservation Services, Boys’ Town and Triple P Parenting. None of them acted in time to save Emma from death.
Joe Follick, DCF spokesman, said it takes a lot for a child to be removed from their mother’s care.
“The threshold is very high for the state to remove a child from his or her mother, especially when there are no clear signs of imminent danger or abuse,” he said. “The reality of making decisions on separating an infant from his or her mother is a much more complex process that every employee at the department takes very seriously.”
He also said that deaths “affect [them] deeply” but did not elaborate on the details surrounding Emma’s death.
“We have reviewed the history of this family and the investigations of this case. It would be entirely premature and reckless to speculate on the cause of death while local authorities investigate,” he said.
Lamoureaux and Morrison have not been charged for Emma’s death and an investigation is underway.