Ninth Child in Two Years Dies in Hillsborough Kids Custody

TAMPA (2012-2-3) -

When he was born, Gabrielle Crawford had the deck stacked against him. He fought multiple birth defects. His mother, Rosalee Crawford, struggled with substance abuse and mental illness.

That's why he was taken into state custody and given over to Hillsborough Kids, Inc.. he was supposed to be safe -- but he wasn't.

Reporter John Barry of the Tampa Bay Times has discovered that the baby died in December, bruised and with broken bones.

As Barry tells WUSF's Scott Finn, this is the ninth child to die in the custody of Hillsborough Kids in two years.

Police are calling Gabrielle's death a homicide but no one has been charged.

The state Department of Children and Families has decided not to renew its contract with Hillsborough Kids. Eckerd Youth Alternatives will take over in July.

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