Age: 21 mos.
Born: March 19, 2008
Died: Dec 30, 2009
Suspect in death: Jacob Garcia, mother's boyfriend
After an argument, one of his girlfriends called Jefferson County Human Services to report he was smoking crack cocaine around her children. Caseworkers spoke to the couple by phone four days later, when the two said they were back together. Garcia refused to take a drug test, and the case was left open without a resolution for five months longer than state law allows.
In a separate incident two years later, a young girl in the care of Garcia complained that he had fondled her. Garcia admitted it to authorities, explaining that he was drunk and believed he was dreaming. He refused to take two polygraph tests, and criminal charges were never filed.
The girl was left in the home. Child-protection workers recommended she receive counseling.
Thirteen months later, those decisions allowed Phabin Lucero to be left in Garcia's care while his mother was at the store.
The 21-month-old was unconscious and covered in bruises when he arrived at the hospital emergency room Dec. 29, 2009. He had been alone with Garcia that day and was discovered by his mother, limp and unresponsive. Garcia said the boy had slipped on a hardwood floor. A coroner found bruises and cuts on all of his limbs, as well as his face and neck.
Garcia pleaded guilty to child abuse resulting in death. He is serving 24 years in prison.
Following Phabin's death, a review found three policy violations in the way caseworkers handled the case. Supervisors and caseworkers involved in the case reviewed state laws and procedures, and began performing monthly reviews of open cases, according to the review.
Read the Autopsy
Read the Fatality Review