Angel Lane Place died on September 17 in Colorado after her foster mother admitted accidentally dropping the 11-month old girl and shaking the child violently while holding her by the neck. Why did the infant girl end up in foster care? She had been taken from her biological parents by Mesa County Human Services because the girl’s mother said the couple fought — and Angel’s father smoked marijuana.
Sydney Danielle White, at age 20, is too young under Colorado state law to qualify as a foster parent. The minimum age is 21. But the state sometimes makes exceptions when a foster parent is a family member of the natural parents.
In this case, White is married to the 21-year-old brother of Tierra Place, Angel’s natural mom, who said that she and Angel’s dad, Ted Place, initially were okay with the placement of their child in the new home. White and her husband have two kids of their own. They took custody of Angel in July.
Two months later, without warning, it all went wrong.
“You know I was seeing pictures of her, seeing videos, you know she was doing good, she was making good progress, and I was ok with the situation she was in,” said Ted Place. “And then, all of a sudden, I had just found out that your daughter is in urgent care in Denver, Colorado, and you need to come there. I just want Mesa County to pay for what they’ve done.”
The father says he is now considering a lawsuit against the county.
“This is like losing her twice,” said Tierra Place, who said that her brother checked with her every day let her know how Angel was doing. “I don’t know how someone could possibly do that to a baby.”
White told police that on September 15, Angel went on a crying fit and would not stop. White then “held Angel by the neck with both hands and shook her multiple times,” according to a police affidavit.
The 20-year-old, who described herself to police as “out of control,” shook the baby by the neck and wouldn’t stop until one of her own children saw what she was doing and pleaded with her, “Mommy, stop it!”
Three days earlier, White said that she accidentally dropped the baby on the bathroom floor. Angel landed on her head, but according to White, showed no ill effects.
After the shaking incident, Angel Lane Place went to sleep and would not wake up from her nap. She was rushed to a hospital, but was unresponsive. The baby was removed from life support on September 17.
White was charged with child abuse resulting in the death of Angel Lane Place and held on $100,000 bond.