AS DANIEAL KELLY slowly starved to death, the girl's DHS social worker sat back at his desk, where he apparently stuffed his face and tossed crumpled food wrappers into a cardboard box that contained Danieal's trash-buried case file, according to a grand-jury report released yesterday.
For two years, complaints about Danieal's well-being landed on Dana Poindexter's desk. At least five times, people called DHS to report that Danieal, a disabled child with cerebral palsy, wasn't being properly cared for and wasn't in school. They said she screamed all day and was essentially imprisoned in a dark room without food or drink.
And for two years, Poindexter, a 16-year DHS employee whose job required him to investigate complaints, allegedly ignored those cries for help. Then, after Danieal died, Poindexter and other social workers tried to cover up their criminal indifference, the report found.
Yesterday, District Attorney Lynne Abraham filed criminal charges against Poindexter, whom she called a "do-nothing social worker." Poindexter's attorney, Gina Smith, did not return a phone call from the Daily News. Poindexter is expected to turn himself into authorities today, according to police.
Abraham also filed charges against Laura Sommerer, the DHS social worker responsible for supervising the work of an outside contractor, MultiEthnic Behavioral Health, an agency hired by DHS to make sure Danieal was enrolled in school and regularly seeing a doctor. Sommerer was supposed to check on Danieal and her siblings every three months.
"After 10 months of Sommerer's 'supervision,' there was still no school, no medical care; and Danieal was dead," the grand-jury report concludes.
Testifying before the grand jury, Sommerer said that she visited Danieal's home about one month before her death but that the girl was asleep. The grand jury concluded that Sommerer either hadn't gone into Danieal's room or had failed to notice her deplorable condition.
Poindexter and Sommerer were charged with endangering the welfare of children and recklessly endangering another person. Two MultiEthnic employees, Julius Murray and Mickal Kamuvaka, also were charged with child endangerment and a slew of other serious charges, including involuntary manslaughter, forgery, conspiracy, tampering with public records, and fabricating physical evidence.
Murray was supposed to check up on Danieal at least twice a week, but Abraham described him as "essentially a ghost employee." Abraham said he met with Danieal's mother one time before the girl starved to death, but only to have the mother sign blank forms with future dates, falsely attesting to visits that he would never make.
On the afternoon of Danieal's death, Kamuvaka, director of MultiEthnic, convened "what was in essence a forgery fest in her office." She called Murray and other MultiEthnic employees into her office and together, they concocted nearly a year's worth of false progress reports, according to the grand jury report.
At the time, Kamuvaka's only worry was whether FBI ink-testing technology might later expose the doctored reports, Abraham said.
Kamuvaka, Murray and Sommerer turned themselves into authorities yesterday. They declined to speak with reporters as they entered Police Headquarters at 8th and Race streets.
Abraham said Danieal's dire condition and the extent of her neglect should have been apparent to anyone. But social workers didn't bother to check, Abraham said.
When paramedics were called to Danieal's house in the city's Parkside section on Aug. 4, 2006, they found her withered body on a filthy, feces-covered mattress.
Danieal's back - from the top of her neck to her buttocks - was covered in bedsores, some so deep you could see bone. Flies buzzed around her. Maggots wiggled in her wounds. She resembled a "concentration camp" victim, weighing only 42 pounds at age 14, according to the report.
"Her horrifying condition had to be obvious to anyone who saw her for a second," Abraham said yesterday at a news conference. "She was dying for weeks."
Danieal wasn't a child who tragically "fell through the cracks," but rather her death "was a failure of institutional inclination, saving Danieal was just too much trouble," Abraham said. *]