TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - The family of 19-month-old Davena Hinton has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Alabama Department of Human Resources and others. The family’s attorney says if DHR stepped in then the little girl may still be alive.
The wrongful death lawsuit filed in Tuscaloosa County Circuit Court this week claims just 11 days before 19-month-old Davena Hinton was allegedly brutally assaulted in July, she was taken to DCH then Children’s Hospital for unexplained burns to her right arm. The lawsuit says DHR was made aware of the serious burns and still allowed the little girl to live with her mother.
The lawsuit also says numerous family members expressed their concern to DHR and said that the 19-month-old should not remain in her mother’s care. Later that month, little Davena died after investigators say her mother’s boyfriend, Felix Tabb, violently assaulted her causing significant head trauma and a lacerated liver. Tabb is facing a capital murder charge.
The investigation found that the mother left her child alone with Tabb for several hours.
Birmingham attorney Tommy James is one of the attorneys representing the girl’s grandmother.
“It’s incomprehensible that DHR left this child with her mother after receiving these injuries which were severe and unexplained. She didn’t have a good explain with it,” James said.
James says DHR investigations of abuse and neglect are often flawed. He says these cases are happening too often in Alabama.
“The state should accept responsibility. Let’s come up with a solution. Let’s get to the truth of how these things keep happening in our state so they don’t happen again,” James said.
Davena’s mother hasn’t been charged in the case.
Named in the lawsuit are: Alabama DHR, the director of Tuscaloosa County’s DHR, a caseworker, the child’s mother and her boyfriend.
Alabama DHR tells us it does not comment on pending litigation.