INDIANAPOLIS -- A 2-month-old was under her parents' care when she died last August and a woman who knows the family says she believes the child might still be alive if the Department of Child Services had taken her complaints seriously.
After months of analysis, the Marion County Coroner Coroner determined that Ruth Ringer died from malnutrition and dehydration.
“From the minute she was born she suffered and died," said Carrie Upchurch.
Upchurch, whose adoptive daughter is believed to be Ruth Ringer’s older sister, said she called DCS on three separate occasions to report concerns about the infant’s safety starting when she was first born.
“Not only did they fail to protect this child from abuse or neglect but they did it so far that this child died,” said Carrie Upchurch.
After the infant's death, Upchurch said she filed a complaint with the DCS Ombudsman Bureau - the bureau that oversees DCS.
“I was ignored repeatedly,” said Upchurch. “They never completed an investigation – kept saying there was no danger to this child. By the time they found her dead it was too late.”
The Ombudsman Bureau completed their investigation and are now monitoring the department after their findings showed that staffers did not properly complete assessments involving baby Ruth's welfare. A state investigator also found staffers failed to report or follow up on concerns about the infant or address "mitigating factors" surrounding the child's welfare during their assessment phase.
“DCS is supposed to be there to stop those things and protect them from happening and they completely failed,” said Upchurch.
No arrests have been made in connection with Ruth's death.