Iowa to pay $175K in foster child death lawsuit

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa has settled a lawsuit filed by the mother of a 5-year-old boy killed by a teenager living in the same foster care home.

The Iowa Appeal Board agreed Monday to pay Barbara Christo $175,000, The Des Moines Register ( ) reported.

Authorities say Cody Metzker-Madsen attacked Christo’s son, Dominic Elkins, in August 2013 while the two boys played alone on their foster parents’ rural property in western Iowa. Dominic’s body was found at the bottom of a ravine.

Metzker-Madsen, who was 17 at the time of the death, was found not guilty by reason of insanity in 2014. He is required to remain in state custody until a judge rules he’s no longer a danger to himself or others.

Christo sued the state in 2015, saying it shouldn’t have placed the boys in the same foster home because both had behavioral, developmental and psychiatric issues.

“I feel from the standpoint of my client that, yeah, justice was done,” said Robert Stahle, her attorney.

In October, the state agreed to pay an additional $300,000 from the state’s foster home insurance fund. The fund is a separate state account that handles foster care claims.

“Our foster families open their homes to children who are neglected, abused or can’t get the support they need at home, and this was a heart-wrenching and unique circumstance where tragedy struck two vulnerable children and the family that was trying to support them,” said Iowa Department of Human Services spokeswoman Amy McCoy in a statement.

The department has faced additional scrutiny following the separate deaths of Sabrina Ray and Natalie Finn, who were adopted out of foster care. They died last year following allegations of starvation and abuse.

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