Child deaths under review

Panel will examine circumstances in 4 fatalities

By Lori Glenn

MOULTRIE -- The June 12 death of a baby delivered at home will be among four recent child deaths under examination Thursday by the Colquitt County Child Death Review Team.

First responders and emergency personnel answered a call to a trailer park at 125 Edmondson Road, where the infant Karissa Kaye McPherson, the daughter of Kristin and Christopher McPherson, died during birth. Investigators said this was the mother's first baby and that she received no formal prenatal care. The baby was full term, authorities said.

Two other deaths under review are those of Fred Parrish, 5 and Freddie Parrish, 4, the youngest victims of a northwest house fire earlier this month that took the lives of six people, team representatives said.

No details about the fourth case were immediately available.

The death of a child under the age of 18 must be reviewed when the death is suspicious, unusual or unexpected, according to information from Georgia's Office of Child Fatality Review. The team is charged with determining whether deaths were preventable, and if so, what actions should be taken to prevent similar deaths in the future. Laws could be changed as a result of teams' findings, officials said.

"If there is negligence or if an accidental death could have been prevented then the appropriate agency will take appropriate steps," said review team Chairman Julia McLaughlin.

McLaughlin, appointed by a Superior Court judge, represents the community on the team. The team also consists of representatives from the district attorney's office, the Department of Family and Children Services, the sheriff's department, the police department, the coroner's office, public health, court services and the school board, she said.

Funded by the Department of Family and Children Services, the Office of Child Fatality Review strives, officials said, to serve Georgia's children by promoting more accurate identification and reporting of child fatalities, evaluating the prevalence and circumstances of both child abuse cases and child fatalities, establishing and ensuring proper procedures for the handling of child abuse cases and child fatality investigations, and monitoring the implementation and impact of the statewide child abuse prevention plan in order to prevent and reduce incidents of child abuse and fatalities in the state.

To talk to reporter Lori Glenn, call 985-4545, ext. 224.

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