PHOENIX (November 9, 2015) – On November 7, 2015, the Department of Child Safety (DCS) and the Mesa Police Department conducted a joint investigation into the child abuse related death of five year old, Helious Griffith. Helious was admitted as a patient at Cardon Children's Medical Center when he was killed by his mother, Lola Griffith (27). His mother then committed suicide at the scene. Helious suffered from cerebral palsy and developmental disabilities. He was receiving services from multiple providers and agencies.
DCS has prior history with the involved parties. Summaries of those involvements are as follows:
On August 24th, 2011, DCS received a report of child neglect involving Helious. Helious reportedly had an infection, couldn't produce urine, had a high fever, was emaciated, and had a seizure. He was hospitalized. DCS worked with the family and the neglect report was unsubstantiated.
On November 28th, 2011, DCS received another report of child neglect involving Helious. Helious was alleged to be severely malnourished and not gaining weight. Medical professionals said his condition could become life threatening if untreated. Helious and the family received services and the report was unsubstantiated.
On April 22nd, 2012, DCS received a report alleging possible abuse of Helious. Helious was brought into a CVS clinic by his mother, Lola. Lola said Helious had a dislocated shoulder and wanted it, "popped back in." Lola said his shoulder dislocated while he was napping in his crib. Lola was told to take Helious to a hospital but was reluctant. Helious' appearance was described as dirty and small for his age. The report was investigated and unsubstantiated.
On September 28th, 2015, DCS received a neglect report alleging Helious was living in a dirty, bug infested home. There were concerns regarding Helious being fragile and breathing heavily. DCS responded and found the home cluttered but not unsafe. There were roaches seen but Lola said the home was being sprayed to alleviate the problem. DCS did note concerns that Helious was thin and underweight. DCS requested Helious be seen by a pediatrician. Lola took Helious to his scheduled well child visit on October 30th, 2015. The pediatrician had concerns and Helious was taken to Cardon Children's Medical Center where he was admitted.
Upon continuing investigation, DCS found the condition of Helious was attributed to both his medical condition and child neglect. On November 5th, 2015, a team decision making meeting was held. It included DCS staff, service providers, and the family of Helious (including Lola). Upon conclusion, DCS communicated its intent to file a petition with the court requesting an "In-Home Dependency." This would allow Helious to remain with his mother and family, in his home, while the court monitored services and progress. This was to ensure the safety of Helious while affording his mother physical custody and necessary service provision. This was to begin upon Helious' discharge from the hospital. Helious was murdered before that occurred.
"The death of this little boy is sad beyond words and our collective hearts go out to the family grieving these tragic losses," said DCS Director Greg McKay. "No one could have foreseen this horrific event and I thank those DCS caseworkers attempting to protect and provide for this child."
The Mesa Police Department's investigation is ongoing.