(KPTV) – The Oregon Department of Human Services will pay $1.1 million in a settlement involving the 2017 murder of a 12-year-old Keizer boy.
Caden Berry was found dead in his home in January 2017. Investigators arrested his mother, saying Amy Robertson strangled her son to death.
A tort claim filed on behalf of Caden’s estate alleges that DHS failed to protect Caden from his mother.
Court documents say employees were aware Robertson was abusive to Caden’s half-brother – physically hurting him in 2015 and 2016 – and also knew she had a history of mental illness.
Lawyers representing Caden’s estate also cited a critical incident report about the boy’s death that was released by DHS six months after he died.
Although much of the report remains sealed, portions of it reveal that DHS found “potential systemic issues were identified, and recommendations were made to address these concerns.”
Those issues include whether DHS rules were followed regarding reporting child abuse and neglect and whether a comprehensive child protective services assessment was completed.
Caden’s lawyer, David Kramer, told FOX 12 on Thursday that DHS made more than a dozen contacts with Caden’s family over several years, and even visited Caden’s home just days before his death, reporting that Robertson was acting erratically and had obvious signs of mental illness.
“Throughout Caden’s life and especially in a year prior to his death, DHS had multiple opportunities to intervene and just didn’t,” Kramer said. “The investigation on the most recent reports were not even completed at the time of Caden’s death and for all those reasons, had the (DHS) work been done correctly, Caden would be alive today.”
A third of the settlement will go toward legal fees. The rest will be split between a trust for Caden’s half-brothers.
FOX 12 reached out to DHS for comment but did not hear back.
Caden’s father declined to comment for the story.
Meanwhile, Robertson has been staying in the state mental hospital, waiting on whether she’ll be found mentally fit to stand trial in the murder charge.
She’s back in court at the end of the month.
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