BATON ROUGE – Public outrage is boiling over as people are asking how a mother was able to keep custody of her son after she was reported to state child services at least three times before her 2-year-old son, Mitchell Robinson III, died from an apparent fentanyl overdose.
With the mother being held without bond for negligent homicide, WBRZ is looking into whether anyone at the Department of Children and Family Services will also be charged.
“It depends on what they failed to do and whether they failed to do it intentionally or not,” explained Hillar Moore, the East Baton Rouge District Attorney.
Those details remain under investigation, but it’s unlikely that a state employee would be charged with a crime.
“More than likely, it would result in discipline, termination, or civil liability,” Moore said. “You have to actively desire the end result of what you’re doing as opposed to doing a poor job. So yes, I know that’s what the rules are and what the law is, and I intentionally did not do what I was supposed to do—versus I did my job poorly.”
But if someone with DCFS failed to act or acted improperly, and they didn’t intend on the toddler’s death, they could still be held responsible in civil court.
“If it does not violate a criminal law, you could be civilly liable. You could owe money, be subjected to penalties, but not jail time. It could be your obligation that you owe as a person and you were civilly negligent,” he explained.
Before the mother, Whitney Ard, was charged with her son’s death, she and the family held a birthday party for him at his gravesite.