Grandma of 5-year-old killed in 2015 sues DSHS, Riverside SD

CHATTAROY, Wash. – The grandmother of a 5-year-old boy killed in Chattaroy, Washington in April 2015 has filed a wrongful death suit against the Department of Social and Health Services and Riverside School District.

Cynthia Khaleel has been charged with second degree murder in connection to the death of Gary Blanton, 5. Khaleel had temporary custody of Gary Blanton along with his two siblings because both of their parents died.

The suit, filed by Blanton’s grandmother Barbara Davis, alleges that DSHS negligently placed Blanton with Khaleel and ignored signs that he was not safe in the home. The suit also alleges that Riverside employees ignored signs that Blanton was being abused and did not report signs of abuse and neglect, as required by law. 

In April, medics were called to a home in Chattaroy after Khaleel called 911 saying Blanton had fallen out of bed and wouldn't wake up. Blanton was airlifted to Sacred Heart where staff told police they believed his injuries might not have been accidental.  That is when they alerted the Spokane County Sheriff's Office who began investigating the death. 

An emergency room physician told police that the little boy had a skull fracture, a brain injury and bruises all over his body. This was not the first time Khaleel had been questioned over injuries other people had noticed on Blanton. According to court documents, one of Blanton's teachers told police Blanton showed up to school in October with a bruise above his eyebrow, then about a week later he had a burn on his forehead. Then in November, she said Blanton's ears were "black and blue." In December, documents said Khaleel was investigated by CPS after several people noticed multiple bruises and injuries on Blanton during the school Christmas program. In that case, Khaleel told CPS the injuries were from two separate incidents where the child fell off of a step stool and another when he fell while playing.

Although Khaleel has no criminal history, she was also investigated by CPS in November of 2013 after a 2-year-old girl fell out of a third story window while in her care. In that case she told police the girl had been accidentally knocked out of the window while jumping on the bed with another kid.

(© 2016 KREM)


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