South Carolina Baby with Metabolic Bone Disorder Medically Kidnapped and Harmed in State Care

Walls family

Source: Walls family.

by Health Impact News/MedicalKidnap.com Staff

Jason and Mattie Walls both began life as foster care children, so they always dreamed of having a family of their own. The South Carolina couple desperately tried to have children for years, but Mattie had one miscarriage after another. Finally, on October 1, 2014 their dream came true and little Makenzie Nicole Walls was born, against all odds.

Mattie’s pregnancy was considered high risk and she was closely monitored by a team of specialists at Upstate Fetal Medicine in Greenville. Mattie claims that:

If it weren’t for Dr. Gregg and Dr. Dickert, Makenzie would not be alive.

On October 24, 2014, the family’s worst nightmare began and Makenzie was medically kidnapped by Laurens County Department of Social Services (DSS) with the assistance of Greenville Memorial Hospital (GMH) Child Abuse Specialist, Dr. Nancy Henderson. Like most parents of medically kidnapped children, the Walls firmly believed in the United States Justice System. They also believed that South Carolina family courts would realize that Laurens County DSS and Greenville E.R. personnel made a huge mistake and their beautiful daughter would be returned within a matter of days.

It has been 19 long months since the kidnapping of Makenzie and the Walls realize that the South Carolina family courts and DSS never intended on reunifying their family. Jason and Mattie report that Laurens County DSS and Greenville Memorial Hospital staff involved with their case have lied, admitted to incomplete investigations and have not followed DSS policies and procedures established to protect children.

Medical Kidnap brought you the original story about Jason and Mattie Walls in August 2015. See:

Another Baby Medically Kidnapped in South Carolina over Broken Bones – Parents Thrown in Jail

EMS Report States no Abnormalities to Baby’s Legs, Arms or Body

Jason and Mattie’s family court lawyers introduced the October 24, 2014 EMS transport report into court evidence in June 2015. The EMS report states:

911 for choking and possible cardiac arrest. Found patient in arms of father. Breathing normal asleep. Parents stated that after feeding she was not breathing normal. Skin pale. Transported to GMH peds for eval. Monitored airway during transport. Report given to ED staff on arrival.

In addition, emergency technician inspected Makenzie’s body during transport and reported “No Abnormalities.”

Walls dad and baby

Jason Walls with Makenzie at a visit. Source: Walls family.

Because of Mattie’s history with miscarriages and high risk pregnancy, Jason and Mattie were extremely vigilant and careful with their beautiful infant daughter. The Walls reported leaving Makenzie’s side for five minutes while the physicians were tending to her.

It is upon their return that Mattie immediately felt the E.R. staff glaring accusingly at them. It was at that exact moment in time, both Jason and Mattie noticed one of Makenzie’s legs beginning to swell. Makenzie had no signs of an injury prior to treatment in the emergency room.

The emergency technician confirms the parent’s version of events, disclosing that Makenzie was “breathing normal asleep” during transport to GMH and not in any pain or distress. Based on this important information, the family expected the Laurens County Sheriff’s Department Investigator, Chris Martin, as well as Laurens County DSS Investigator, Marquitta Chisolm, to broaden their investigation and include questioning all hospital staff involved with Makenzie Walls treatment on October 24, 2014.

They also feel that experts, hospital staff at GMH, were responsible for recognizing a potential medical problem with regards to fragile bones. Parents place their trust in the hospital medical experts for the diagnosis and treatment of their children.

Judge Denies Motion for New Trial Based on Medical Expert Testimony

Jason and Mattie’s family court attorneys filed a motion for a new trial under South Carolina Rule 59 New Trials/Amendment of Judgments, which states that “additional testimony,” “amend[ed] findings of fact and conclusions of law,” or “new findings and conclusions” are grounds for requesting a new trial.

This particular motion was based on new findings from the expert medical report and testimony of Dr. Marvin E. Miller from The Children’s Medical Center of Dayton Department of Pediatrics. Dr. Miller reviewed Makenzie Walls’ medical records and x-rays provided by the family.

Dr. Miller states in his report dated October 16, 2015, that Makenzie presented at 23 days old with unexplained fractures. Dr. Miller states that there is compelling evidence that this is not child abuse, and that the femur fracture and other bone findings are most likely MBD (Metabolic Bone Disease).

Dr. Miller continues:

The skeletal survey showed a classical metaphyseal lesion (CML) of the right distal tibia. There were no rib fractures and the cranial sutures were wide. A CT scan of the head showed bilateral simple parietal skull fractures that could not be appreciated on the skull x-ray.

He also notes that Makenzie was evaluated by the pediatrician five times in her first month, including the day just prior to the E.R. visit. In each of these visits, the medical records indicate well child visits with no bruising or skin abnormalities, and absolutely no concern by the medical professionals about intentional harm to the child.

Expert – Follow up X-rays Show Makenzie Sustained Rib Fractures in the State’s Care

Dr. Miller states that during hospitalization the records and x-rays show that there was no bruising and Makenzie had a low vitamin D level 18.4 ng/ml (normal 30 – 100). The CT scan of the pelvis showed what was originally called an L2 fracture, the follow-up films showed no change in this abnormality. These facts in addition to the EMS report, medical expert evaluations and Makenzie’s medical records from her pediatrician clearly indicate that there are no signs of injuries or bruising on Makenzie.

The most stunning finding included in Dr. Miller’s report is this:

A follow-up skeletal survey 13 days later on November 6, 2014, showed a new healing rib fracture of the lateral left 6th rib and possible 7th lateral rib fracture. The CML was completely healed.

These rib fractures occurred while Makenzie was in South Carolina foster care.

Chest x-ray from 10/24/2015                                              Chest x-ray from 11/6/2015

 

Walls xrays

Makenzie Walls’ x-rays from Greenville Memorial Hospital (GMH).

Dr. Miller –  Fractures from Normal Handling

Medical expert Dr. Miller notes that Makenzie has “multiple radiographic findings of Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD).” He notes that there are multiple contributing factors, and that the fractures are fragility bone fractures, which are fractures in bones of low bone strength. He continues:

Fragility fractures can occur during the birth process and with normal handling of the infant, including changing diapers and holding for medical procedures.

Dr. Miller explains the process of bone development:

Bone is made of both mineral (Calcium = Ca, Phosphate = PO4) and protein (type 1 collagen). In order for normal bone formation to occur in the fetus and infant, there must be sufficient mineral and protein. Vitamin D is essential for normal calcium absorption from the intestine and for normal bone formation. During pregnancy it is critical that sufficient calcium be absorbed by the mother to provide sufficient calcium to her growing fetus. The catalyst for forming normal bone formation is bone loading. Decreased bone loading causes decreased bone strength. Fetal bone loading is caused by fetal movement.

Dr. Miller cites four factors contributing to Makenzie’s bone strength that could cause transient fragile bone state:

  1. Mother notes decreased fetal movement during pregnancy and her umbilical cord was short, adding to decreased fetal movement.
  2. Makenzie had evidence of vitamin D deficiency.
  3. Mother took Prilosec during pregnancy which is an acid reducer. According to Dr. Miller, drugs that lower the acid in the stomach can lead to decreased calcium absorption. Mother also took Tums which is a phosphate binder, which can lead to decreased phosphate absorption.
  4. Intrauterine Growth Retardation (IUGR) infants who show poor fetal growth like Makenzie have lower total bone mineral content, which leads to a greater risk of MBD.

In conclusion, Dr. Miller states:

Physical forces associated with normal handling of an infant that might not otherwise cause a fracture can cause a fragility fracture in an infant such as Makenzie who has MBD.

According to the Walls family, Jason’s mother, Carol Young, was diagnosed with Osteoarthritis in 2014. In addition, Jason Walls was evaluated by Greenville Memorial Hospital E.R. (the same hospital involved with Makenzie’s removal) on January 20, 2016, and diagnosed with Osteoporosis. These facts support the expert evaluations regarding family genetics and bone fragility.

Medical experts in this case provided medical evidence that Makenzie has fragile bones due to genetics, factors involved with the pregnancy, and vitamin deficiencies. These expert evaluations, in addition to lack of any evidence to the contrary, dispute Laurens County DSS and Sheriff’s Department allegations of child abuse and neglect.

DSS Investigator Admits Inexperience and Inadequate Investigation

According to court transcripts, the investigator for Laurens County DSS, Marquitta Chisolm, admits that adequate investigation into the medical history of the family was not completed. When the Walls were interrogated by Ms. Chisolm, they reported being very skeptical about her abilities after being told that this was her first big case and that she did not have any experience as an investigator. The transcript clarifies these facts regarding Ms. Chisolm’s lack of experience.

In June 2015, Ms. Chisolm testified that Jason Walls and the Greenville Hospital personnel (Dr. Henderson) requested genetic testing for Makenzie because a genetic disorder in the family history would explain Makenzie’s injuries. Ms. Chisolm admits that the requested genetic testing was not completed at this time. In Ms. Chisolm’s words:

. . . there was so much going on in this case. . . At that time, there was the whole thing of if Medicaid was going to cover it and, from what I’ve been made aware of, they denied that.

This was allegedly her rationale for her improper investigation. When asked by Mattie Walls’ attorney, Mr. Edward McCallum, if she took this information to her bosses at DSS in order to rectify the problem, she states that she did not.

The court transcript shows that Mr. McCallum questioned the investigator about a letter from a second doctor hired by Laurens County DSS, Dr. Stolerman, requesting that DSS order genetic testing on Makenzie. Mr. McCallum questioned:

Were you ever shown the letter from Dr. Stolerman indicating that a test (genetic) was appropriate?

Ms. Chisolm responded:

I’ve seen a lot of letters.  If you show me, I could probably tell you if I’ve seen it.

Mr. McCallum continued:

The letter dated 12-1-14 (WHEREUPON, a document is presented to the witness).

Ms. Chisolm:

It looks familiar.

Mr. McCallum inquired:

Did you ever show that to your bosses?

Ms. Chisolm responded:

Particularly this documentation? No, I do not recall that.

Mr. McCallum proceeded:

So then when he wrote the letter on December 15th in which he indicates that he recommended sequencing of COL 1A1 and COL 1A2 genes to be performed for Makenzie in order to further investigate . . . he (Dr. Stolerman) states, ‘We feel this testing is important for Makenzie as the results may allow us to better counsel her care providers about long-term management and any potential treatment that may exist for her clinical findings — which are the multiple fractures.’

According to Laurens County DSS investigator’s own testimony, the case investigation was incomplete and DSS did not comply with medical experts request for genetic testing early on in the investigation. If the DSS investigation was thorough and the genetic disorders found by the current medical experts had been identified by DSS investigation, the outcome of the case may have been very different according to the Walls.

An OI genetic test was eventually performed by the state with legal pressure from the Walls’ attorneys. According to the August 18, 2014 court transcript, Dr. Stolerman, medical expert for DSS, admitted that he did not read Makenzie’s x-rays himself and the genetic testing performed only included one out of many that rule out fragile bones in infants. Dr. Stolerman also admitted that he doesn’t know anything about non-genetic disorders that cause fragile bone, like vitamin D deficiency.

Laurens County DSS Already Determined Jason and Mattie Are Guilty Prior to any Investigation

The transcript from family court in June 2015 provides statements that the DSS investigator, Marquitta Chisolm, decided the Walls were guilty with regards to the alleged crime prior to the investigation. In fact, it was on the first day. Ms. Chisolm responded to attorney McCallum’s question about when she first suspected Jason and Mattie:

Once I got to the hospital and I saw that that child was in some type of harness to kind of keep her stabilized, I feel that someone did something to her.

This was on the first day that Makenzie was in the hospital. According to Laurens County DSS testimony, the Walls never had a chance to prove their innocence; their guilt was predetermined.

Ms. Chisolm also admitted in court that she failed to do her job with regards to following up with the agency tasked to determine if Makenzie could be placed with her grandparents, Barbara and Duane Anderson. Attorney McCallum began:

My question is, is it your job to follow up and make sure it [contact with grandparents] happens?

Ms. Chisolm responded:

Yes.

Mr. McCallum continued:

And did you do that?

Ms. Chisolm attempted to evade answering:

If they attempted contact with the family and the family –.

Mr. McCallum again tried to get an answer:

Ma’am, we’re clear that they attempted contact. After they told you that they had attempted contact, did you follow up?

Ms. Chisolm responded:

Follow up with who? The family or Carolina Family Services?

Mr. McCallum answered:

Either one of them.

Finally, Ms. Chisolm answered the question:

Well, the family, no . . .

It becomes clear from the court transcript, in her own words, the Laurens County DSS investigator did not perform her job properly. Mr. McCallum finally asked:

And that is a breach of your duty under the statute, isn’t it?

Ms. Chisolm responded:

Yes.

Makenzie’s Grandmother Falsely Accused of Being on Central Child Abuse Registry

Jason’s mother, Carol Young, attempted to get temporary custody of Makenzie during the investigation process. According to the court transcript, Laurens County DSS lawyer, Ms. Laura Houck, questioned the DSS case worker, Jessica Suber, about Makenzie’s grandmother Carol Young and whether or not she was considered “an appropriate alternate placement for this child?” Suber replied that she was not, because:

She is on the Central Registry. . . That’s for abuse and neglect she caused on a child or an adult or a vulnerable person who cannot protect themselves.

Walls baby with grandma

Carol Young with her granddaughter at a visit. Source: Walls family.

The Walls family and Carol Young were stunned. According to Mattie, Ms. Young contacted the Central Registry to clear up this false report by DSS. Ms. Young received a letter from Central Registry, Grace E. Riley, dated October 29, 2015, that states:

This office received a release to conduct a search of the Department’s Child Abuse and Neglect Central Registry on the above referenced individual [Carol Young is listed above]. I have completed a search of the automated database and the name does not appear.

Unfortunately, the family was not able to have this information in time for the placement of Makenzie with family.

Mattie Speaks Out for all Parents of Medically Kidnapped Children

Mattie Walls’ voice broke with emotion when she talked about the court terminating parental rights (TPR):

It was like we were given the death penalty and made me feel like a surrogate mother.

When asked how she is coping with everything her family has endured, Mattie claims:

I put my faith in God. I had a long talk with our preacher, Eddie Howard, and he prayed with us and said you’ll get through this by the grace of God, even though I know this is hard.

Walls mom and baby

Mother and baby – holding onto each other. Source: Walls family.

You know I do hurt, a lot, beyond words. A pain that nobody can ever imagine, it feels like my soul was ripped out of me. I’m empty and a part of me is gone.

Mattie recalls the last time she was able to hold Makenzie, August 12, 2015. Jason, Mattie, and Mattie’s parents, Dwayne and Barbara Anderson, were in a visit supervised by DSS. Mattie said:

When Makenzie’s grandfather, Dwayne Anderson, was leaving, Makenzie cried out her very first word, “Papa!”

She also recalls vividly when social worker, Jessica Suber, attempted to take Makenzie out of Mattie’s arms:

She balled up her little fists intending to strike out and would not calm down.

The last thing Mattie wanted was for this stranger to carry her baby away, but she told Makenzie that it was not right to hit and calmed her as good as possible. Throughout this horrendous situation, Mattie wanted to teach her daughter right from wrong.

Walls baby with grandpa

Dwayne Anderson “Papa” and Makenzie. Source: Walls family.

DSS Investigator and Director Admit Terminating Parental Rights Before Completion of the  Investigation

In June 2015 family court, Mattie Walls attorney questioned Laurens County DSS investigator, Ms. Marquitta Chisolm, about terminating the parent’s rights prior to the investigation findings:

Were you aware that the Department of Social Services had requested permission from the court to amend a complaint to seek a termination of parental rights back in November?

Ms. Chisolm responded:

I do recall some talks of termination of parental rights, yes.

Mr. McCallum continued:

Were you present at the hearing on November 20th when this court granted the department permission to amend its complaint and add causes of action for termination of parental rights?

Ms. Chisolm responded:

I don’t recall that.

Mr. McCallum asked:

Do you know who within the Department of Social Services made the decision to seek a termination of parental rights before your investigation and your report had been completed?

Again, Ms. Chisolm evaded:

I don’t know that either.

Mr. McCallum continued:

Was it discussed with you?

Ms. Chisolm responded:

It was talks of it.

Mr. McCallum:

Talks of it by whom?

Ms. Chisolm responded:

It was just hallway talk. It was just something that I — that I had overheard.  It wasn’t anything that was staffed.

Walls Chisolm

DSS Investigator Marquitta Chisolm. Source.

This line of questioning and the answers make it clear that Ms. Chisolm does not know who requested Termination of Parental Rights and that it occurred before her investigation was complete. In fact, the next questions and answers in the transcript show the termination of Jason and Mattie’s parental rights occurred within a week of the EPC (Emergency Protective Custody).

Mr. McCallum asked Ms. Chisolm:

So are you telling me that at the 7-day staffing, within a week of the EPC, that the decision to TPR this child was made?

Ms. Chisolm tried to evade:

Ask your question one more time. I’m sorry.

Mr. McCallum repeated:

You testified just a moment ago that your input on this issue was given at a staffing. Did I understand that correctly?

Ms. Chisolm responded:

Correct.

Mr. McCallum continued:

So the only staffing that had been done up until 11-20 was the staffing on — I believe you said it was about the 7th or the 8th — No, it was 10-30. My apologies.

Ms. Chisolm answered:

Correct.

Mr. McCallum asked:

Five days after the child was EPC’d?

Ms. Chisolm answered:

Correct.

Mr. McCallum continued:

Had you completed your investigation in that five days?

Ms. Chisolm answered:

No.

Mr. McCallum’s next line of questioning indicates that reports were available to DSS of Makenzie’s birth injuries explaining the healing fractures found by Greenville Hospital E.R. on October 24, 2014. According to the transcript, Ms. Chisolm admits that these reports might have changed the course of events for the Walls family.

Attorney Mr. McCallum also questioned the Director of Laurens County DSS, Mr. Byron Dendy, in June 2015.

Walls Dendy_Byron

Director Byron Dendy. Source.

Mr. McCallum asked:

Mr. Dendy, because I understood the investigator to say a little while ago that she had made up her mind and I believe it was on the 14th of November or maybe even a little earlier than that as to what her findings and recommendations were going to be.

Mr. Dendy replied:

I don’t — I don’t — I wasn’t in the courtroom when whatever she testified to, but I wouldn’t advise anybody to make up their mind on anything until all the reports were back.

Mr. McCallum continued:

Can you explain to me why the finding in the case was made three weeks after the TPR was filed?

Mr. Dendy states:

No, sir.  I can’t.

Mr. McCallum asked:

Is that appropriate?

Mr. Dendy answered:

I can’t speak to whether or not it’s appropriate or not.

Mr. McCallum continued:

Well, wouldn’t you have to have a finding before you make a decision? Well, you as the director, would you like to see your staff’s finding after their investigation before you make a decision as to whether or not to seek TPR?

Mr. Dendy replied:

Well, let me answer this as clear as I can. They may have had the information that they needed to be able to file a TPR before their finding was entered into record. I was not part of that conversation.

According to the Director of Laurens County DSS, Mr. Dendy, he was not a part of the decision to take away Jason and Mattie’s parental rights prior to the final investigation findings, and he admits this is not the appropriate procedure, but denies any responsibility.

The worst thing DSS could have done to these parents, aside from medically kidnapping their child and falsely accusing them of child abuse, was to terminate their parental rights (TPR). In this case the TPR was executed prior to the investigation findings, and no one at Laurens County DSS was responsible for this decision.

The director and investigator for Laurens County DSS testify in court to improper and inadequate investigation, lack of supervision, and a determination of guilt prior to any investigation. How could Jason and Mattie fight these insurmountable odds? Who can be held responsible for what was done to this family?

Judge Terminated Parental Rights Without Evidence

Jason reports that Judge Joseph C. Smithdeal had no intentions of working with the family and made rulings against them with no evidence. The family court transcript provides evidence for this statement and shows that the judge was partial towards Laurens County DSS. According to the transcript dated August 18, 2014, Judge Smithdeal admitted in court that there was not enough evidence that Jason and Mattie hurt their child or to TPR (Terminate Parental Rights) the parents.

Judge Joseph C. Smithdeal. Source.

Judge Smithdeal asked Laurens County DSS attorney, Ms. Laura Houck:

The Parent. [sic] Where is the evidence of the parent actually doing this . . . My concern is that, my concern is the evidence which points clearly and convincingly to the parents.

In fact, Judge Smithdeal stated that:

My heart believes that someone did something.

Ms. Houck conveyed similar sentiment. Rather than DSS providing evidence that the parents did something to their child, Houck said that someone in the room knows what happened to Makenzie.

According to information in the court transcripts, there is apparently no proof necessary in the state of South Carolina to take a child from their biological parents, tear a family apart, and charge parents with a horrendous crime. The only requirement must be a judge who feels that something happened “in his/her heart.”

Judge Smithdeal terminated Jason and Mattie’s parental rights, admittedly, without any evidence of wrongdoing. Attorney for Jason, Mr. Allen, stated:

To terminate rights to the child, under the statute, clear and convincing evidence, there needs to have been at least a scintilla of evidence . . . and there has been nothing.

The judge responded:

If I’m going to take this matter up . . . I have to weigh things in their favor (the parents), do I not?

But the judge did the exact opposite and ruled in favor of Laurens County DSS, terminating the Walls’ parental rights on August 18, 2015.

Parents Will Never Give Up

Jason and Mattie will never give up their fight for Makenzie. Medical Kidnap has written stories voicing the children’s perspective of being taken by the state. Time and time again these children claim that DSS and foster care personnel try to convince them that their parents don’t love or want them. Mattie’s voice was barely a whisper when she discussed her legitimate fear that DSS and foster parents may tell Makenzie that her mom and dad never wanted her. Nothing could be further from the truth in this case and other medical kidnapping cases.

Jason and Mattie desperately want their daughter to know how much they love her and that they will never give up on their family reunification. According to court paperwork, Makenzie is currently in a pre-adoptive home and this case is under appeal by the Walls.

The most recent court date of April 28, 2016, for a Permanency Planning Hearing was continued due to the appeals process. It has become apparent through the court transcripts and medical expert evaluations that Makenzie was taken from her parents erroneously.

How You Can Help

Supporters are asking for readers to write letters and make phone calls to South Carolina legislators to help Jason and Mattie bring Makenzie home.

Jason and Mattie have a Facebook page, Bring Makenzie Home.

Walls FB page

The Governor of South Carolina is Nikki R. Haley, who may be reached at 803-734-2100. She may be contacted here.

Their State Representative is Daniel B. (Danny) Verdin, III -District 9 – Greenville & Laurens Counties – He may be reached at 803-212-6230, or contacted here.

Laurens County South Carolina Department of Social Services, Director Byron Dendy may be reached at 864-833-0100, or contacted here.

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