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In the Interest of C.P.

February 27, 2013

IN THE INTEREST OF C.P., MINOR CHILD, A.P., MOTHER, APPELLANT.


Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Susan Flaherty, Associate Juvenile Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Miller, S.J.

A mother appeals from a juvenile court order terminating her parental rights to a child. AFFIRMED.

Considered by Eisenhauer, C.J., Bower, J., and Miller, S.J.* *Senior judge assigned by order pursuant to Iowa Code section 602.9206 (2013).

Amy is the mother, and Tim the putative father, of C.P., who was born in December 2011 and was ten months of age at the time of an October 2012 termination of parental rights hearing. Amy appeals from a November 2, 2012 juvenile court order terminating her parental rights to C.P. (The order also terminated the parental rights of Tim, and he has not appealed.) We affirm.

I. BACKGROUND FACTS AND PRIOR PROCEEDINGS.

This appeal involves only Amy's parental rights to C.P. However, parts of

the record concerning a child-in-need-of-assistance (CINA) proceeding involving two other children of Amy's were placed in evidence and made a part of the record in this case, and certain facts in that case are highly relevant to the facts and issues in this case. We therefore first summarize those facts.

Amy is the mother, and Michael the father, of a son born in March 2004. Amy is the mother, and Eric the father, of a daughter born in September 2007. Both children tested positive for marijuana at their births leading to founded child abuse reports with Amy as the person responsible. Following the daughter's birth the two children were adjudicated CINA. Amy participated in recommended services and the CINA proceeding was eventually dismissed in 2009.

Zyriah is the father, and Nicole the mother, of K.S., born in September 2008. Zyriah and Nicole separated in November 2009, with K.S. residing primarily with Nicole. Amy soon thereafter began a relationship with Zyriah. By agreement between Zyriah and Nicole, in February 2010 K.S. began residing with Zyriah. By this time Zyriah was spending substantial time, including overnights, at Amy's house. K.S. usually accompanied him when he stayed at Amy's.

K.S., then about seventeen months of age, began attending daycare during the first week of March 2010. She was a happy and playful child. On Sunday evening, March 7, 2010, Zyriah began attending Sunday evening financial education programs at a church, leaving K.S. in Amy's care during those programs. On March 8 K.S. arrived at daycare with an injury to her eye and bruises on her forehead and cheek. It appeared that makeup had been placed over her injuries. Later that day K.S. developed a fever. Zyriah took K.S. to a physician the next day, and she was diagnosed as having conjunctivitis and a viral infection. She did not return to daycare that week. On March 12 Zyriah returned K.S. to the physician. She was diagnosed as having an ear infection, and an antibiotic was prescribed.

On Sunday, March 14, Zyriah again attended the evening program, leaving K.S. in Amy's care. On the next morning daycare staff again noted injuries to K.S.'s eye and face. K.S. was withdrawn, no longer playful, and would cry when anyone attempted to clean her face.

Zyriah and K.S. spent the weekend of Saturday and Sunday, March 20 and 21, at Amy's home. K.S. was sleepy, fussy, would not eat, and was lethargic. Zyriah attended his Sunday evening program. After bathing K.S. and putting her to bed, Amy shortly returned to K.S.'s bedroom and saw her having a seizure. K.S. was taken to the hospital, where she was found to have facial bruising and to be unresponsive, with fixed and dilated pupils and retinal hemorrhaging in both eyes. K.S. was airlifted to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

K.S. was found to have a subdural hematoma, and underwent surgery and follow-up medical treatment. She remained in a coma and died on March 28, 2010.

On March 22, 2010, following a child abuse assessment concerning K.S., the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) reported to the juvenile court that K.S. had suffered a critical head injury while Amy was her caretaker. The DHS sought and secured an order removing Amy's two children from her custody. Her son was placed with his maternal grandfather. Her daughter ...


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