Hennepin County child protection officials said little Tuesday about the death of a 6-year-old girl found unresponsive with a jump rope around her neck in a foster-care home.
As recently as September, however, an advocate said the county should consider alternative housing for the girl, according to court documents.
Brooklyn Park police were called Saturday night to Kendrea Johnson's foster home in the 9200 block of Queens Garden Avenue N., where they found her not breathing. She later died at a hospital.
She and her 1-year-old brother, Charles, were at the house of Tannise Nawaqavou, who has had a foster parent's license since 2011. Kendrea had been in foster care for about a year, but it's unclear when she went to live with Nawaqavou. She and her brother were placed in foster care after child protection said their parents repeatedly failed to comply with efforts to keep the children safe, according to documents.
Brooklyn Park police continue to say the case is not being treated as a homicide, and that they continue to investigate it.
Janine Moore, area director for the county's Children and Family Services, declined to comment when asked if Charles or other children who may be in the foster home will be removed, or whether the county will review Kendrea's death.
She also wouldn't discuss if Nawaqavou's license, which expires in 2016, could be revoked or if she will be allowed to take in other children. The Data Practices Act prevents her from talking about specific foster care cases.
Kendrea had an outgoing personality, but the foster care provider had been having a difficult time trying to keep her safe, and the girl was acting out at school, according to a social worker's report.
Relatives, including Kendrea's aunt and uncle, said she never should have been taken from her grandmother's house last December.
The county sought to place Kendrea and Charles with relatives, but none were available or appropriate for placement at the time, court documents said.
In August, a guardian ad litem said Kendrea wanted to live with her grandmother.
A month later, the guardian requested a mental-health evaluation for her and urged the county to consider an alternate housing option. She said the girl and her brother should remain together.
Search warrant offers details
Meanwhile, more details about Kendrea's death were detailed in a search warrant made public this week. Her foster parents told police she went to bed about 8 p.m. Saturday, which was her usual bedtime. A 30-year-old man who lives at the home checked on her 10 minutes later and said she had been coloring and that there appeared to be no problems, the search warrant said.
When the man checked on Kendrea at 8:30 p.m., she was hanging from a jump rope that was tied to the top support post of the bunk bed in her bedroom, the warrant said. He took Kendrea down and started to try to resuscitate her.
The crime lab deputy found the knot securing the jump rope to be very sophisticated, and a deputy at the scene said he didn't believe a 6-year-old girl could tie that kind of knot, the warrant said. Possible blood from Kendrea was found on one of the bunk bed's blankets. A white bucket that her foster parents said wasn't usually in the bedroom was found near the bed, the warrant said.
Handwritten notes on torn book pages that appeared to be from a child were found on the floor. Kendrea's foster parents told investigators she didn't have a history of mental illness or of trying to hurt herself, the warrant said.
A call to Brooklyn Park police Wednesday morning wasn't immediately returned.