BROOKLYN PARK, Minn. (AP) — Police in Minnesota have closed their investigation of a 6-year-old girl’s hanging death by ruling out foul play, and said the evidence points to an accident or suicide.
Kendrea Johnson was found unconscious in a bedroom of her foster home in Brooklyn Park with a jump rope around her neck Dec. 27. There were no witnesses in the room.
“All of the evidence leads back to either suicide or accidental,” Deputy Chief Mark Bruley said. “The reality is she was in the room by herself and we’ll probably never know the answer to that.”
Bruley said Kendrea had been getting treatment for emotional problems including suicidal thoughts. Child protection workers put the girl in foster care in December 2013 after her mother allegedly abused drugs. She had been at that particular home since March.
Citing police investigative records, the Star Tribune reported Thursday that investigators found a note written in purple marker in a child’s handwriting reading: “I’m sorry.” A second note said: “I’m sad for what I do.” […]
Suicides among young children are rare. There were 33 suicides among children ages 5-9 in the U.S. between 1999 and 2006, according to statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Even if that six year old child somehow had the cognitive skills to figure out how to commit suicide, who in the world leaves a suicidal child alone? How is it possible that the state entrusted the care of that child to a foster parent who didn’t know better than to leave such a child alone? What kind of care was this child receiving? Was it adequate? Was it provided through state healthcare, school, privately? Her suicide note included an apology for being a burden. Why? Was she being mistreated inside the foster home?
Ultimately, someone is responsible for the failure to ensure that child lived. Whose is it? Is it Family Services for placing the child inappropriately? Is it the foster parents’ for not following common sense procedures with a very troubled child?
In my opinion, this case should have been kept open. At a minimum, there is a case for negligence to be investigated. The child was removed from the care of blood relatives because the state felt the mother put her child in danger. I hope the Johnson family is provided with better answers than they’ve received, so far. They deserve at least that.