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Hawai?i Lawsuit Over Child's Death Names Caregivers, Agencies

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KAILUA-KONA — The parents of a child who died in foster care have filed a lawsuit accusing the caregivers and associated agencies of negligence, according to court records.

Sherri-Ann Garett and Juben Garcia filed a wrongful death lawsuit Thursday over the July 2017 death of 3-year-old Fabian Garett-Garcia, West Hawaii Today reported Saturday.

The lawsuit filed in Hawaii's Third Circuit Court names the state Department of Human Services, the Catholic Charities organization, and licensed caregivers Chasity Alcosiba-McKenzie and Clifton McKenzie. The civil lawsuit seeks a jury trial and unspecified monetary damages, documents said.

Prosecutors have not filed criminal charges despite the arrest of Alcosiba-McKenzie on a charge of suspicion of attempted second-degree murder after a medical examiner determined the boy died from non-accidental blunt force trauma to the head, records said.

The case remains under investigation, according to a county prosecutor.

Emergency responders found "Fabian lifeless and lying face down beside a pool of his own vomit on a bed" in the McKenzie residence and observed, "various stages of bruising" throughout his head, neck and body, the lawsuit said.

Alcosiba-McKenzie, McKenzie or both told responders the bruising was caused by a fall from a 3-foot (0.9 meters) bench two weeks earlier. Emergency room personnel "immediately suspected Fabian was a victim of child abuse," the lawsuit said.

West Hawaii Today was unable to reach Alcosiba-McKenzie or McKenzie. Court records did not list an attorney for either of them.

Both Catholic Charities and the state human services department said Friday they had not yet received the complaint.

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