Grandparents Accuse The Children’s Home Of Northern Kentucky For The Death Of Grandson

In a federal complaint, the family of a 9-year-old boy who ran away from Children’s Home of Northern Kentucky in June and was later discovered drowned in the Ohio River claims that the organization’s negligence was to blame for his demise.

On November 23, the Highland, Kentucky, couple James and Rhonda O’Brien filed a complaint in federal court in Lexington. The complaint also includes the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the Cabinet for Health and Family Services in addition to the children’s home and a few of its staff.

On June 4, at about nine in the morning, Ian Sousis left the Covington children’s home. At 9:32 a.m., Kenton County dispatchers received a call from a missing 4-foot-2, 65-pound young kid questioning his whereabouts.

He was going down what is known as the AWOL steps, Christina, a woman who went by the name Christina, said the 911 operator. (AWOL, short for absent without leave, is a military word.)

Near where Ian used to live are the stairs with that nickname. They dash into the city while traversing a forest. 13 seconds after leaving, an employee chased after Ian, but the youngster escaped, according to authorities afterward.

Because of his autism, Ian needed to be constantly watched. He had a history of elopement, which is typical of autistic kids. Nevertheless, Ian managed to escape the children’s home’s grounds that morning, go through Covington neighborhoods, and eventually enter the Ohio River, where sailors discovered his body a few hours later.

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When their grandson ran away, The Children’s Home of Northern Kentucky didn’t contact the O’Briens. Although Ian was under the care of the state, his grandparents were involved in his life and requested that he be moved to a different facility because they were concerned for his security.

According to the lawsuit, it was “outrageous and intolerable in that it offends against a generally accepted standard of decency and morality” to fail to inform Ian’s grandparents that the kid had left the house.

The Children’s Home of Northern Kentucky is accused of failing to properly hire, educate, and manage its staff, according to the lawsuit.

In an inquiry, the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services confirmed that a worker at the facility left Ian unattended the morning he ran away. The employee is named Kristina Johnson in the finding, which is independent of the litigation; Christina Johnson is named in the lawsuit.

In a notification letter to Rhonda O’Brien, it is stated, “The Cabinet finds that Ms. Johnson failed to provide adequate or suitable supervision of the… child.” “Ms. Johnson agrees that she was aware that owing to the child’s conduct and history, she was obligated to keep a watch on him at all times.”

According to spokeswoman Susan Dunlap, the cabinet is unable to comment on such conclusions due to legal restrictions.

The agency “continues to mourn the death of Ian Sousis,” according to a statement from Children’s Home of Northern Kentucky CEO Rick Wurth, and “is collaborating with all proper agencies and groups as it pertains to this case.”

Specific inquiries about Johnson’s employment, any reprimands or modifications to her training, or any additional training for other employees, were not addressed by Wurth or the organization’s counsel.

Dunlap added that the state’s investigation into the boy’s death and abduction is still ongoing. The police inquiry, according to a Covington Police records custodian, is still ongoing.

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