DCS: Foster family in infant death passed all agency checks

Tuesday, February 2, 2010 at 5:57pm
Staff reports

A 12-week-old infant, who had been in foster care since birth, died Tuesday afternoon at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, and Metro police are investigating the death as a homicide.

Police said Cherokeewolf William Diedrich was born Nov. 9 to Kimberlee Diedrich, 35, who is homeless. The Tennessee Department of Children’s Services assumed custody of the child and placed him in foster care shortly after birth, police said.

He was hospitalized Jan. 9 with a severe head injury after one of the foster parents called 911 to report that the baby was not breathing. He was taken by ambulance from 4637 Cather Court, the home of foster parents Earl and Cheryl Green.

Cherokeewolf was placed on life support soon after his arrival. He was pronounced dead at 1:49 p.m. Tuesday after a court order was issued instructing life support to be removed. 

An autopsy will likely be conducted Wednesday.

Police said no charges have been filed in the case, but the District Attorney’s Office has been briefed on the continuing investigation.

Rob Johnson, a DCS spokesman, said in a statement released Tuesday that the foster parents passed muster at the agency. 

"The child was placed in the home of Nashvillians Cheryl and Earl Green," he said. "They had successfully completed mandated training to become foster parents. They had been interviewed extensively and had opened their house up for a detailed home study, as required by the state. They also passed criminal background checks."

Johnson also said DCS workers continued to check up on Cherokeewolf after he was placed with the Greens, even arranging visits with his birth mother. 

Check back for updates to this story. 


8 Comments on this post:

By: cmarcus45 on 2/2/10 at 5:59

Poor child didn't have a chance from the beginning.

By: bfra on 2/3/10 at 4:00

DCS needs to investigate or be investigated to find where their dept. failed by placing the child in this home. This is an atrocious crime and these people need to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

This child is in heaven now where it can't be abused any more and never had a chance from the day it was born.

By: sickofstupidity on 2/3/10 at 7:30

Comm. Miller gets a standing ovation and accolades from the Governor at the State of The State address for becoming accredited. What a joke. DCS is the worst department in state government and can't even keep track of the kids in their custody! Miller doesn't even know the difference between RTF and hospital care. Top heavy, well paid administrators that know nothing about their responsibilities. Good job Miller!

By: total_kos on 2/3/10 at 10:06

Come on people, you're blaming DCS, but we all know that there are people who can pass every background check or investigation, but are so devious that they can successfully hide their evil ways until the front door closes. It's scary to know what can go on behind closed doors of even the nicest homes. If DCS did the proper background, investigation, and training, how can they be at fault?

By: Sumsrent on 2/3/10 at 10:38

Even though this is sad news...

The Greens appeared to be good candidates with a nice home from what the TV had shown. No one can automatically assume that they both or either one of the two, murdered this child. No one knows the true story as of yet. Even though history as shown otherwise in these types of cases, we should still support the idea that a person is innocent until proven guilty.

With that being said... I have to side with DCS on this one. How are they to know which families or persons that they screen are apt to underperform. Call it whatever you like... an infant is lost... this is sad.

Who has the crystal ball that'll predict which person is going to commit a crime, and then prevent it?

Blaming the department is like blaming the education system for the lack of personal skills training they lacked in getting. Where would the blaming stop or could it stop?

How much longer should a screening process take? When, the system is inundated with children that are being abandoned by their parents everywhere, who steps up? Will you open your home to these needy? Or sticking these kids in housing like they did back in the early days the solution? The movie “Annie” is the sugar coated version of the truth!

Yes I know… it’s easier for y’all to donate your money to programs and keep from getting your fingers dirty! The only proactive position the majority are willing to take… is opening a checkbook in front of a large crowd to gain recognition! Buy a brick with your name on it… that’s how you’ll contribute!

You want to blame DCS… why not the parent for neglecting the child in the first place, leaving DCS with the dilemma? Why not the television for promoting the careless promiscuity? Do I need to spell this out to all of you non thinking hypocrites?

By: mlb124 on 2/3/10 at 1:46

You should always take time to hear the other side of the story. These parents, who opened their home to a homeless boy born on the streets to a woman who had no prenatal care and who did not want him, are being convicted before anything has even been proven. I, and several others, happen to know these people personally. They have always wanted a family and thought of this baby as an answer to their prayers. They loved him, cared for him, took him to the pediatrician for regular check-ups and when he was sick. They wanted nothing more than for him to have a happy, healthy, long life.

They are good, honest, caring people who sacrificed their time and energy in preparing to foster children in need. They loved this little boy, and I witnessed personally that love, care, and adoration. They are grieving the loss of this little guy, and ignorant comments like those above do nothing to improve this situation.

Truly there are abusive people who do horendous things to children, but these two people are not like that. Not for a minute. They wanted nothing more than to shower their love on this sweet little boy.

Point is, think before you write accusations. There must be some medical reason that this little guy died at such a young age. I assure any reader of this post, these foster parents are not guilty of anything but love and self-sacrifice.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 2/3/10 at 4:07

mlb, i agree that one is innocent until proven guilty. however, the head injury is the question. a head injury is not an illness a child is born with and if he had the head injury for a while the pediatrician should have noticed. so i can see why people would be suspicious.

By: mlb124 on 2/5/10 at 6:00

Actually a head injury, or in this case in particular, subdural bleeding, a slow bleed in the covering of the brain, can be caused by several other medical conditions. It can be related to a blood disorder, STD exposure in the birth canal that can lead to pneumonia, chronic infection, and low-oxygen events that can lead to brain damage. It can be low vitamin levels, or toxic levels of other substances. You would think the pediatrician would notice that the child was not on target with normal development but obviously it was missed or so subtle it was not noticeable at such a young age. The foster parents always believed he was a "good" baby and did not realize that perhaps he was not developing properly .It's hard to tell if an 8-week old is sleeping too much since they normally do tend to sleep a lot. He had a very traumatic birth on the streets of Nashville and there is no telling what complications arose from having a mom with no prenatal care and who birthed him on the street.

These foster parents were monitored regularly and were thought to be some of the most responsible and caring foster parents DCS had ever approved. And they were right. They are awesome. I and hundreds of other people know them, and we know they are not capable of harming a human being unless it was to protect their children, including this child. We can only hope that the truth will prevail.