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Death of Foster Child May Lead to Reform

The Cincinnati area foster parents of a three-year-old who died in their care were arraigned in court Wednesday afternoon. A Hamilton County prosecutor says Liz and David Carroll wrapped Marcus Fiesel in a blanket with his hands behind him and left him in a closet while they attended a family reunion in Kentucky. The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services says it has launched an intensive investigation.

On August 15th, Marcus Fiesel's foster mother reported to authorities that he had wandered away at an Anderson Township park. In reality the developmentally disabled todler had been dead for almost two weeks. According to Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph Deters, the couple found the boy's body where they'd left him before their trip -- in a closet at their Clermont County home.

"David Carroll then took the body to Brown County and incinerated it there," Deters says,"more than one time. He took the remains and dumped them in the Ohio River."

At least one state legislator is demanding a thorough investigation. According to a deputy director at the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services which oversees foster care that investigation is already underway. Rick Smith says two county child services agencies will be reviewed as well as a private company called Lifeway for Youth.

We are going to be investigating both Butler and Clermont Counties and Lifeway," Smith says, "as well as our own agency to determine what types of oversight did or did not take place in this case."

There are 88 county child service agencies in Ohio that recruit and license foster parents. They do so under regulation and statute set forth by the state. But there are more than 350 private companies or organizations that provide similar placements. One is Lifeways for Youth which was handling Marcus Fiesel's foster care. An administrator at Lifeways told a Cincinnati newspaper that the Carrolls were living a "duplicitous" life.

The state's Rick Smith would not say that county agencies are overwhelmed by the task of monitoring the more than 10,000 foster children in Ohio. But he did say there's a shortage of families to provide that care. Marcus Fiesel's death likely will cause changes in state rules and regulations. But Hamilton County prosecutor Joseph Deters lays responsibility for the boy's death on the Carrolls.

"Look, the bad guys are these parent. Now should better care be exercised? Yes. But there will be a hard look to see if changes need to be made."

On Wednesday a judge set bond at $10.1 million each. Prosecutor Deters expects the charge of involuntary homicide to be changed to murder.