BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – The family of a 13-year-old boy who was found dead at a pediatric care center in Brevard County is now suing Angels on Earth, the corporation behind that center, according to released court documents.
A complaint filed earlier this month shows that on Nov. 30, 13-year-old Tarionn Hanner-Jackson choked to death on a latex glove that was left near him while he was in the care of Angels On Earth.
Hanner-Jackson, who has special needs, had a history of placing foreign objects in his mouth — a fact that employees at the center knew about, the complaint shows.
According to attorneys, the employees were aware that Hanner-Jackson required continuous and uninterrupted supervision but, despite that knowledge, he was left alone.
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As such, the family is accusing Angels on Earth of negligence in Hanner-Jackson’s death, the complaint reads. According to the complaint, the family is seeking more than $50,000 in damages.
“It’s an absolute gross negligence. It’s the horrific thing that this family is dedicated family is going to have to deal with for the rest of their lives,” attorney Douglas McCarron said. “We’re here to talk about the fact that while we understand that the police, the authorities have to do their job, with respect, that we have as patiently as possible, but we — this case is about getting justice. This case is about getting, more importantly probably, answers for this family. They want to know what happened and why it happened. And they want to make sure that this never happens to another child.”
Angels On Earth administrator Carlos Cabrera was arrested last week as part of a fraud investigation in which state officials accused him of stealing more than $400,000 while running the company by submitting false claims and overbilling families.
Before Cabrera’s arrest, Angels On Earth had announced that it was closing locations in Central Florida because two of its family members were hospitalized.
“I’ve been depressed,” said Tarence Jackson Hanner Sr., the child’s father. “I didn’t even know what depression was until this happened. And it’s always something that I’m gonna have to live with for the rest of my life.”
Kiyana Durham, Hanner-Jackson’s mother, said Tarionn loved nature and water parks and theme parks and although he was nonverbal, he spoke through his actions, gestures and love.
Durham said she and her son did everything they could to take care of Tarionn his whole life, and they only sent him to Angels on Earth during the day because they needed a break.
“The healing hasn’t even begun,” she said. “It’s been a horror story. As Dad said, I never knew what depression was like either And it’s like I’m fighting my hardest just to stay sane.”
McCarron said he hopes that people who worked at the facility will now come forward and talk about problems at Angels on Earth and help them find out exactly what happened. They are also hoping to get surveillance video from the facility to see what happened in the room where he was left alone.
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