Ohio social worker less trusting a decade after boy’s death

HAMILTON, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio social worker says he’s less trusting a decade after a 3-year-old special-needs child he was in charge of died when the boy’s foster parents bound him with duct tape and placed him in a tiny, hot closet for several days without food or water.

Liz and David Carroll Jr. left Marcus Fiesel in a closet while they went out of town for three days to attend a family reunion. Investigators say temperatures probably exceeded 100 degrees. The boy died from either dehydration or starvation, officials said. His body was never found.

Live-in girlfriend Amy Baker testified that she helped David Carroll burn the body and throw the rest of boy’s remains into the Ohio River.

Liz Carroll, 40, was sentenced to 54 years in prison. David Carroll, 39, accepted a plea deal and was sentenced to 16 years in prison. Baker’s charges were dismissed.

The boy’s case worker, Joseph Beumer, spoke at an event Friday in Hamilton commemorating his death.

“Marcus’ death has changed my perspective on everyone,” Beumer said.

He said he asks more questions now, particularly of parents, and asks questions multiple times in different ways.

Butler County Children Services Director Bill Morrison said county workers now get a daily report about foster parents and other caregivers with all previous contact and criminal history.

“Knowledge is our most important tool,” he said. “Knowledge comes from information and relationships. We have more knowledge today than we did 10 years ago through the systems that have been developed and the relationships that we maintain with the adults in the child’s life.”

Cindy Carpenter, who was the county’s clerk of courts, helped develop a database that allows child services to be alerted when foster parents get into legal trouble. There are more follow-ups with foster parents, too.

“His memory serves as a constant reminder to remain ever vigilant by the hundreds of us who continue to work to improve Ohio’s child welfare system,” Carpenter said.