North Country News
11:45 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

VT Governor Orders Probe Of State Role In Child Death

Credit TraumaAndDisassociation/Flickr

Vermont Secretary of the Agency of Human Services Doug Racine says Governor Peter Shumlin has asked him to get an outside evaluation of the Department of Children and Families' role following a 2-year-old girl’s death from a fractured skull.

Dezirae Sheldon died Friday. Her 31-year-old stepfather, Dennis Duby of Poultney, pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder on Monday in Rutland.

Secretary Racine said Tuesday that no timeline nor details regarding the external investigation have been set. Racine says the seriousness of the case requires an independent review and the state owes the child and her family an investigation.

Department of Children and Families' Commissioner David Yacavone says the agency will conduct an internal review into its involvement.

Court records show the child’s mother Sandra Eastman of Poultney was sentenced in July to probation after admitting she abused Dezirae Sheldon in February 2013, when the girl was 11 months old.

Records also show a recommendation was then made to place Dezirae in state custody but it's unclear if the state took the girl.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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