BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) -A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against the Alabama Department of Human Resources after a two-year-old died in Jefferson County in 2020.
The lawsuit was filed Thursday by Birmingham attorney Tommy James who represents the victim’s estate. It says two-year-old Demetric Hampton, Jr. was returned by DHR to his father and stepmom shortly after they had been arrested in April 2020 for child endangerment and other charges after a domestic incident where children were present.
About a month after that, deputies were called out to home in Center Point for a two-year-old who wasn’t breathing. Investigators say his dad and stepmom claimed the toddler choked while eating, but deputies later found the child had multiple injuries. Demetric, Jr. later died at UAB. A grand jury indicted his father Demetric Sr., on capital murder and aggravated child abuse charges, according to new court documents.
James tells us DHR should have never put the little boy back with his dad and stepmom. “Instead of protecting Demetric they were on notice that his parents had been charged with endangering a life of a child, they violated their own policy by giving these children back to them. It was inevitable that something like this was going to happen,” James said.
DHR says it does not comment on pending litigation. Named in the lawsuit are DHR, the director of Jefferson County’s DHR, the child’s father and an unnamed case worker.
James says in previous cases, the state wastes taxpayer dollars to hire private attorneys to help fight DHR cases. He feels the governor and attorney general should instead get to the bottom of these cases to prevent deaths in the future.