Investigation After Foster Baby Dies: Adoption Was In Motion

Police are investigating after a foster baby dies, just weeks before his adoption, the Tampa Bay Times reports. The 17-month-old boy’s adoption was in motion before his life was suddenly lost.

The boy, Aedyn Agminalis, was in foster care for five months, until a loving North Carolina family decided that they were going to adopt him. But just a couple of weeks before the adoption was going to be finalized, little Aedyn was taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital for Children.

Aedyn was completely unresponsive when he arrived at the hospital. A social worker revealed that the boy suffered head trauma, cardiac arrest, as well as bleeding on the brain. Further, Aedyn was suffering from respiratory failure.

The little boy was hooked up to life support, but the doctors did not see any brain activity, therefore life support was pulled and Aedyn passed away, Aedyn’s biological mother Artha Healton said.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office is now conducting a criminal investigation following Aedyn’s death. Since the boy died under the watch of the state, a critical incident team was assigned by the Florida Department of Children and Families.

Until the investigation is complete, officials are not saying much. Currently, all that we know is that Aedyn was living in a foster home that was licensed by A Door of Hope. Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community Services was handling his case. It was also revealed that both of the organizations are subcontractors for a non-profit contracted to run the county’s child welfare system, Eckerd Kids.

Adrienne Drew, a spokeswoman for Eckerd, spoke briefly about this case.

“We will be doing everything we can to support the Hillsborough Sheriff’s Office investigation.”

Sadly, the adoption process was on target for little Aedyn to spend Christmas with his new adoptive parents, Colleen Kochanek and her wife, Stephanie Norris. Aedyn’s biological mother signed the papers on November 18, giving him up for adoption.

An investigation is opened after a foster baby dies right before adoption goes through.
[Image by Shutterstock]

It is now being questioned that perhaps Aedyn should have been removed from his foster home sooner. Aedyn’s adoptive parents could have been wonderful parents for him, as both have very successful careers. Norris is a civil engineer, while Kochanek is an attorney. They have been married for 17 years and have a 4-year-old daughter, who was also adopted as an infant.

The adoptive parents did everything they could to expedite the adoption process. They even paid extra to have the FBI background check expedited. Unfortunately, the hearing that would allow them to take Aedyn home could not be scheduled as quick as they wanted, due to the report not yet being available to prove that they are not listed on a state child abuse registry.

The couple had already passed the registry check two times prior, once when they adopted Riley, and a second time in 2015 when they first started thinking about adopting for a second time.

Kochanek told the Washington Times how upset they were to find out what had happened to their soon-to-be son.

“This is so soul-crushing to us. He could have been in our care.”

Aedyn’s birth mother opened up to reporters as to why they put their son up for adoption in the first place. According to Artha Healton, she and her husband, Brynn Agminalis, were under an investigation after a tip went into a child abuse hotline, claiming that they were concerned with Aedyn’s nutrition, and also mentioned that feces was found on the floor.

Artha told investigators that Aedyn didn’t like to keep his diapers on, and she had planned to steam clean the carpet that evening. The couple then mutually agreed that they were not ready to be parents and thought it was best for Aedyn to be put up for adoption.

This is devastating news right before Christmas. Our thoughts and condolences go out to everyone involved.

[Featured Image by Thinkstock]