Court allows extended family to retain temporary custody of abused 3-year-old
(WRCB) - A Juvenile Court judge has reconfirmed that Tennessee's Department of Children's Services (DCS) will have legal custody of Donamiche Brewer -- the 3-year-old whom prosecutors and Chattanooga Police allege suffered critical injuries at the hands of his mother and her live-in boyfriend December 19.
But Donamiche will stay with the same family member, as yet unidentified, who took him home from Children's Hospital-Erlanger Christmas Eve, at least until the next custody hearing in April.
Patricia Brewer, 23, and 21-year-old Kenneth Dewayne Coleman, are charged with the murder of Donamiche's brother 4-year-old Ty'reke Evans, the attempted murder of Donamiche, and the aggravated abuse of both little boys.
Brewer and Coleman face a preliminary hearing January 10. Depending on their criminal cases, April's custody hearing could sever Brewer's parental rights, according to DCS communications director Molly Sudderth.
CPD's initial report, filed December 19, indicates that Ty'reke Evans already had died when an officer arrived at his mother's apartment in the Harriet Tubman project.
The report indicates Donamiche had suffered 'minor bruising' injuries, at that he was dehydrated when he arrived at the hospital.
But CPD information officer, Sgt. Jerri Weary said Donamiche was admitted in critical condition, and remained so for at least four days.
Tennessee law bans cameras in juvenile hearings. The Juvenile Courts Administrator also denied Eyewitness News' request to sit in on Donamiche's custody hearing Thursday.
But Sudderth says DCS caseworkers will be part of the police investigation, and will provide information to Assistant District Attorneys prosecuting Brewer and Coleman. Sudderth confirmed that DCS had opened an investigation, based on confidential complaints, prior to Tyreke's death and Donamiche's injuries.
"Again, the law forbids us from telling you how far that investigation had gotten," Sudderth says. "I can't tell you where the trail has led since, either."