Questions swirling in Cape Coral toddler’s death; could local agencies have prevented it?

Writer: Derrick Shaw
Published: Updated:

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — An attorney is questioning the judgement of several local agencies after a 4-year-old boy died last Sunday when his mother committed suicide by turning on two cars in the garage.

Cape Coral police said the fumes leaked into the home, accidentally killing the boy, Aidan Florea, and Amanda Florea’s husband, Eric. The couple also had a 16-year-old daughter, who was not home at the time.

Records show Cape Coral police had two encounters with the family in just two days. On June 28th, police arrested Amanda Florea on a domestic battery charge. On June 30th, police again went to the home, arresting Eric Florea on a drug possession charge. According to police reports, Aidan was home for both of those encounters.

Cape Coral police said both times officers contacted the Department of Children and Families, but the call wasn’t made until after officers left the residence. Tom Busatta represented Amanda Florea on the battery charge, and said officers with the Cape Coral police department should have contacted DCF right away, instead of waiting.

“Knowing the background of what I had, knowing that law enforcement should have it, that child should have been removed far before he was found dead in that house,” Busatta said.

Det. Sgt. Dana Coston with Cape Coral said the department did follow the protocol they have in place.

“Unless there is an immediate need for removal, the notification call to DCF would happen after the officer leaves,” Coston said.

Busatta also said the investigators with DCF should have removed Aidan from the home weeks prior to his death on July 24th. Mike Carroll, Department of Children and Families Secretary, said the department is currently investigating how the case was handled.

“A full quality assurance review will be conducted to see if any action could have been taken that would have prevented his death,” Department of Children and Families Secretary Mike Carroll said.

Busatta said there was also miscommunication between the counties. According to a police report, Eric Florea was arrested on June 18th in Naples for a DUI. The attorney said when Florea was arrested just 12 days later, he should have immediately been put in jail. He said that scenario likely would have put Aidan in protective services.

“If you take that one element out of the picture, maybe things change,” Busatta said.

DCF representatives told WINK news they did have one prior involvement with the Florea family, although they would not confirm when the meeting happened or which incident they were responding to.

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