Neighbors of a young Illinois girl say her death could have been prevented if authorities had heeded their warnings about alleged abuse and neglect, WBBM-TV reports.
On July 2, police in Montgomery, Illinois, a Chicago suburb, were called to the home of 6-year-old Kerri Rutherford.
It was a dire situation.
Officers found the girl “possibly not breathing, bleeding from the nose, turning different colors,” according to police records obtained by the television station.
It appeared that the kindergartener had been dead for some time.
Her cause of death was initially listed as unknown, but toxicology tests later found a lethal amount of olanzapine in her system; the drug is often used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder in adults.
Prosecutors earlier this month issued involuntary manslaughter charges against Rutherford’s stepfather, 29-year-old James Davidson, and her mother, 32-year-old Courtny Davidson.
Authorities allege that the couple’s home was unfit for human habitation.
“The living conditions were horrible, with a very foul stench in the house, as well as what appeared to be feces on the floor,” one police officer wrote in a report obtained by WBBM-TV.
The documents also show the home had been the subject of more than a dozen calls to authorities since the family moved there.
“When I saw them at the house my first response was, ‘It’s Kerri,’” neighbor Monica Alexander told the television station. “I just assumed that she was hurt or she was gone. And then when they didn’t take her away, I knew.”
Alexander, who told WBBM-TV that she had called police multiple times in the past about her concerns, says authorities “absolutely” failed Kerri. “They never went inside the house,” she told the television station.
Debbie, another neighbor, told WBBM-TV that she also had asked police to check on the family’s children.
“I was scared for those kids,” Debbie told the television station.
The children were often left unsupervised at the home, and the neighbors sometimes witnessed screaming and physical abuse. One of Rutherford’s teachers also alerted the Department of Children and Family Services, according to records the television station obtained.
A spokesperson for the Department of Children and Family Services told WBBM-TV that the agency had been in contact with the family before Rutherford died.
The stepfather and mother have also been charged with endangering the health or life of a child, WSPY News reports.
As of earlier this month, both adults had been jailed on $250,000 bonds each.
For the latest true crime and justice news, subscribe to the ‘Crime Stories with Nancy Grace’ podcast. Listen to the latest episode: