The last time anyone from the state saw Tamiyah Audain alive, she was covered head-to-toe in clothing, “moaning” as she sat on the lap of her caregiver. The attire concealed a terrible secret: the severely disabled and sickly 12-year-old had lost more than half her weight, and her lower body was pocked with bed sores and wounds — one so deep her bone was exposed.
The apparent cause of her death in a Lauderhill apartment last month: suspected starvation. All right under the nose of ChildNet, the privately run Broward foster care agency paid by the state to protect her.
“It’s an awful way to die,” said Gwen Wurm, a University of Miami pediatrician who heads the medical foster care program for Jackson Health Systems. “People in that condition are usually groaning and writhing, unless they are so drugged that they don’t feel anything.”
An internal report released this week by the Florida Department of Children and Families shows that Tamiyah, who suffered from autism, mental retardation and seizures, apparently had lived a horrific last few months.
Her caregivers admitted locking her in a bedroom for hours — allowing her to emerge for meals. Still, the once chubby child who loved to eat had been reduced to about 50 pounds when she died. Three separate tranquilizers used to subdue Tamiyah’s difficult behavior left her so sedate that her foster care caseworker wrote the child was in a slumber during many monthly visits. More here.
-- Carol Marbin Miller and Audra Burch