Reseda Shooting Another Example of How CPS Negligence Can Turn Tragic

On April 10, 2021, a mother of three in Reseda, California apparently murdered her three young children.  As the L.A. Times has reported, this tragedy was foreseeable and preventable, had L.A. child protective services (“CPS”) workers heeded the warnings of the children’s father and others and took decisive action to carry out their mission of protecting children.

In March, the children’s father, Erik Denton, told a judge up in Tulare County, where he lives, that the children’s mother, Liliana Carrillo, was extremely paranoid and erratic and had lost touch with reality.  He feared for the safety of his children (ages 3, 2 and 6 months).  The judge issued an emergency court order granting him custody and ordered that any visits by the children with Ms. Carrillo be supervised at a special facility in Tulare County. 

By then, however, Ms. Carrillo had taken the children to L.A. and was in hiding.  Mr. Denton reached out to the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services (“DCFS”) for their help in protecting his children.  He and his cousin, an ER doctor in L.A., had lengthy conversations with social workers in which they informed them that Ms. Carrillo was suffering a “psychiatric emergency” and was violating the Tulare County order, and pleaded for the social workers’ help.  Yet, despite the fact that the social workers located Ms. Carrillo, they insisted that she was not a threat and refused to take action to protect the children.

In early April, Ms. Carrillo herself contacted DCSF and asserted that Mr. Denton had sexually abused one of the children.  Yet DCSF performed no formal investigation, which may have provided them with additional information about Ms. Carrillo’s mental state and the threat to the children.

Tragically, on April 10, Ms. Carrillo’s mother found the children dead in a Reseda apartment. They had apparently been drowned and bludgeoned. Police located and arrested Ms. Carrillo later that day.

Our law firm specializes in cases against CPS agencies whose negligence has caused the abuse, neglect, or death of children.  We understand that CPS social workers have difficult jobs and oftentimes need to carefully balance the competing interests of protecting children while also trying to keep families together. However, there are cases where the threat to children is obvious and immediate, and there is an urgent need for swift, decisive action to avoid irreparable harm to the children.  We have handled a number of such cases.

Sexual and Physical Abuse Cases handled by the team at Booth Law.

Street Fighter of the Year Video where Booth Law was recognized for their settlement believed to be the highest ever for a single victim of sexual abuse in California.

The general public has become well aware of the horrible death of Gabriel Fernandez, which was the subject of a great deal of reporting by the L.A. Times and a Netflix documentary and clearly illustrates the tragic consequences of CPS negligence. 

Lawsuits against CPS agencies help protect children by forcing agencies to be accountable when they fail to do their jobs.  Taxpayer dollars go to these agencies so that they can step in and protect the most vulnerable children when the children’s parents cannot or will not protect them.  They must be held to that duty.

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LA Times posted a second article “Mother unraveled in depression, QAnon-style conspiracies in months before she killed 3 kids”