Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Case Prompts DCF Review | Agency Is Looking into Whether It Could Have Prevented Death

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Case Prompts DCF Review | Agency Is Looking into Whether It Could Have Prevented Death

Article excerpt

BABY CHANCE WALSH

Chance Walsh, an infant boy, died gasping for breath hours after his father beat him and he choked on a diaper wipe in his throat until he turned blue, alleges an unredacted arrest report obtained Wednesday by the Herald-Tribune.

Neither Joseph Walsh, 36, nor Chance's mother, Kristen Bury, 32, sought any medical treatment for hours as the baby died, the report said.

The graphic details emerged as Chance's parents, Walsh and Bury, of Warm Mineral Springs, face charges of first-degree murder and child neglect. Both are being held in the Sarasota County Jail.

Chance's death has led to an internal review by the state's Department of Children and Families to determine what could have been done to prevent the 2-month-old's death.

Documents show that the DCF previously

removed seven children from Walsh's custody. The agency did not respond to a request to release details of those investigations.

In addition, the DCF received a tip July 28, the day after Chance was born in a Charlotte County hospital, that Bury was misusing opiate prescription drugs. But it took no action.

Walsh and Bury had another infant child, Duane Walsh, who died in the spring of 2014. Neighbors questioned the circumstances, but the area's medical examiner found that to be a natural death. That child's autopsy may be reviewed, Dr. Russell Vega said.

In the case of Chance Walsh, Bury told investigators that she and Walsh got into an argument the morning of Sept. 16. Walsh began hitting the infant, who weighed just seven pounds.

Bury said Walsh then pressed a pacifier into his then 7-week-old son's mouth until the infant began bleeding, according to the unredacted arrest report.

Walsh then took Chance into a bathroom, the arrest report states. He came out a short time later and told Bury that there was a diaper wipe in Chance's throat.

"Kristen Bury noted that Chance was turning blue when he was brought out of the bathroom," the arrest report states. "Attempts to remove the diaper wipe were done, and after extreme measures, the wipe was removed by Kristen. …

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