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Trigger Warning: This article discusses removal of a child from biological parents and extreme child abuse resulting in death.
A foster mom taking care of an infant who was less than a year old has admitted to accidentally dropping her on September 12th and shaking her while holding her by the throat on September 15th. She is married to the brother of the infant’s biological mother and was in the process of adopting her when the infant was killed.
According to reports of the statements made by Sydney Danielle White to police, she does not know how long she shook the infant, who would not stop crying. White only stopped the assault when her own 2-year-old son entered the room and told her to stop. She then allegedly put Angel down to sleep. Angel, however, wouldn’t wake up and then became still on the right side of her body. She was taken to St. Mary’s hospital on September 16th and then taken by air to Denver Children’s Hospital, where she died after being taken off of life support on September 17th, 2014.
Angel Lane Place had been removed from her parents’ home because they were fighting and her father, Theodore Place, admitted to smoking marijuana to human services.
Both the biological mother, Tierra Place, and the biological father were under the impression that Angel was safe, that the home had been adequately screened, and that Angel was developing in a healthy manner. Tierra says her brother checked in with her every day, and she thought her daughter was safe. In speaking with the local ABC outlet CALL7, she expressed her pain at having her daughter die while not in her custody. “This is like losing her twice. I don’t know how someone could possibly do that to a baby…Inside I know she is walking with God.”
Not only should those wanting to foster and adopt be carefully screened, removing children from their parents should be a last step only used in cases of actual danger to the child. Angel Lane Place had parents who fought and a father who uses marijuana. Statistically, that meant he was less likely to be physically abusive, despite the adults’ fighting.
Especially considering that Colorado has legalized cannabis for all adult recreational use, the fact that the father’s marijuana use was even part of the decision to remove Angel Lane Place from her biological parents is disturbing. Given how the case developed, it is very questionable that this infant was removed from home and then placed with a young woman not old enough to legally be a Colorado foster mother (White is 20 and the law says foster parents must be 21 or older with a secure income).
May the family members who loved Angel Lane Place find peace after lying her to rest yesterday. No more children should be placed in a position where their life is in danger just because of their parent’s recreational or medical decisions.
For previous Ladybud articles about Child Protective Services, click here.
Photo Credit: Tierra Place