You may remember reading about the De Jesus family early last year. In February, William de Jesus took his wife and two sons on a drive to a recreational vehicle (RV) park. He then shot an RV owner to death, took the man’s wife captive and began a six-hour standoff with a SWAT team. By the time SWAT was able to break into the RV, De Jesus had stabbed his wife and two young sons before killing himself. Although his youngest son and wife survived, his eldest son died shortly after. Last November, his wife was sentenced to 10 years in prison for child neglect.
Recently, NBC News reported that another chapter of the story has unfolded. On behalf of the De Jesus’ youngest son, who nearly died from the stabbing, lawyers have brought suit against Florida’s Department of Children and Families (DCF) and their contractors. The boy’s lawyers say that the De Jesus story started back in 2007 when the DCF first learned that the family was domestically unstable.
The first incident, according to DCF records, involved a domestic disagreement between William de Jesus and his wife. Next, in 2008, the DCF was notified that De Jesus was molesting his sons. Then, in 2009, the two boys were in foster care, and their foster mother reported that the younger son was continually making dark and cryptic remarks.
Despite the family’s history, the boys were returned to De Jesus and his wife in 2010. One can only guess what terrible things were happening to the boys for the two years before the stabbing. After the tragedy, officials learned that De Jesus and his wife were both drug addicts, which may have contributed to their erratic behavior that night.
After the stabbing, the DCF insisted that it had not been negligent, saying that it didn’t have evidence to meet the high burden of proof required to remove the children from their parents permanently. The surviving son’s lawyers disagree and claim that the DCF has a long history of not recognizing red flags and not adequately investigating incidents.
In other words, the boy’s injuries could have been averted if the DCF had acted more responsibly. The lawyers will attempt to prove that the DCF acted negligently and did not fulfill its responsibility to the boy.
Although the DCF case is an extreme example, people are injured due to the negligence of other people, government departments and large companies all the time. If you have been injured because of the negligence of someone else, we encourage you to call our offices. At Gerson & Schwartz, we are here to help you get the compensation that you deserve. Contact us at (877) 475-2905 today to schedule a consultation!