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Failed To Death: Tavyus Workman

2:43 PM, Nov 19, 2012   |    comments
Tavyus Workman
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Age: 1 mo.
Born: Sept 3, 2009
Died: Nov 1, 2009
Location: Westminster
Suspect in death: Michael Workman, father

In her 22 years, Tavyus' mother, Brandi Hernandez, had filed or been the subject of five restraining orders. She'd been charged with a half dozen minor crimes. And before Tavyus was born, Hernandez's mother had gone to court to get custody of one of Brandi's older children.

Tavyus' father, Michael Workman, also had minor brushes with the law and had twice been investigated for child abuse.

By the time Tavyus came along in September 2009, at least three human-services agencies in three counties had been alerted at least 10 times to the possible abuse or neglect of Tavyus' older half brothers and his mother.

Yet there is no record that social workers ever worked with Hernandez or ever provided parenting classes, therapy or services of any kind to Hernandez or her children.

Four months before Tavyus was born, Denver Human Services got a call alleging that Michael Workman had punched and grabbed Hernandez's 4-year-old son in his "private area." The boy told a caseworker that Workman was "mean," and his grandmother said she had seen Workman trip him. But after six attempts, caseworkers couldn't contact Workman, and, so decided the evidence of abuse was "inconclusive."

Two weeks later, someone reported that Workman had hit Hernandez's 1-year-old son. At the time, Hernandez said she'd never seen Workman being mean to her son but added that she was no longer allowing her children to be around Workman.

When Tavyus was born two months later, Hernandez was living with her mother sometimes and sometimes with Workman in the home of his mom and stepfather. On Oct. 26, 2009, Hernandez and Workman got into a fight. She took her two older boys and left, leaving 7-week-old Tavyus with his father.

Two days later, Workman said, he fed Tavyus, held him on his knee to burp him, and minutes later, Tavyus stopped breathing.

Workman's step-grandfather called 911. Four days later, Tavyus was dead from what the coroner ruled blunt force trauma to the head.

Workman's first trial in May on charges that he killed Tavyus ended in a hung jury. In July, he plead guilty to child abuse resulting in death, and was sentenced to 12 years in prison.


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