Mother Blames DHS for Putting Her 5-Year-Old in Hands of Alleged Abuser

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FRANKLIN COUNTY, Iowa --  A 5-year-old was severely injured at the hands of her aunt, and the child’s mother says the Iowa Department of Human Services is responsible for putting the child her aunt’s care.

Arianna Jackson is clinging to her life after waking from a coma.

"Nothing could prepare me for what I saw when I entered the room,” said Arianna's mother, Kimberly Miller.

Responding to a medical call on May 14, a Franklin General Hospital unit found Arianna unconscious at her aunt Jessica Torres' home.

“Blunt force trauma to the skull and some other injuries to the body also,” said Chief Deputy Linn Larson, at the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office.

Arianna remained in a coma nearly 48 hours until Monday, May 16.

“Brain damage on her left side," Miller said. "That means the right side of her body isn't working."

The Franklin County Sheriff's Office charged Torres with child endangerment with serious injury and willful injury with serious injury, both Class C felonies.

“This is one of the most severe cases that we've had in Franklin County,” Linn said. “The child did not sustain the injuries from a slip, trip or fall. There was direct harm."

In April, Arianna’s mother lost custody of all three of her children for violating probation after a past drug offense, so the Department of Human Services awarded custody to her aunt in April, and then Torres soon after that.

"For me to find out that she tried to take the light out of my daughter, it's a pain no mother should ever have to see,” said Miller.

Miller wishes custody could have gone to Tabitha Cutler, who desperately tried to get custody but DHS denied her because she isn't a family member. But Miller said Cutler is her best friend and someone she trusts the most.

“I asked the DHS worker to explain her definition of family, because to me, Kim and the girls, we are family,” Cutler said.

As Arianna continues to hold on at Blank Children's Hospital, her mother will too.

“I’m voluntarily putting myself into Heart of Iowa, which I will remain for six months to a year,” Miller said.

Heart of Iowa is a substance abuse center specifically for pregnant women and women with children.

Torres bonded out of jail but is scheduled to appear at a preliminary hearing on June 3 in Franklin County.

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