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DCF investigated abuse reports

The state agency says there were previous reports of a 3-year-old being abused before he was killed last weekend.

©Associated Press

January 25, 2003

MERRITT ISLAND -- The Department of Children and Families had investigated past accusations of child abuse involving a 3-year-old boy who allegedly was punched to death by his mother's boyfriend last weekend.

Kevin "KJ" Fulmore Jr. died of internal injuries in a hospital Sunday morning. Investigators said he was struck repeatedly in the abdomen by James Robinson, 24, Saturday afternoon. Robinson, arrested in Maryland on Wednesday, is charged with first-degree murder and aggravated child abuse.

Two children of Robinson and Myriam Joseph, 21, ages 3 months and 19 months, were taken from the home and placed in DCF custody, Brevard County Sheriff's Lt. Mike Qualter said.

There were three previous reports of Kevin's being abused, according to the DCF, and he was taken away from his parents for a year and a half after his mother, Joseph, and father, Kevin Fulmore Sr., were accused of breaking several of his ribs.

Both parents were charged with aggravated child abuse. Joseph was put in a pretrial intervention program that offered her probation. Fulmore is awaiting trial.

DCF spokeswoman Yvonne Vassel said Kevin was placed in the custody of an aunt in April 2000. In October 2001, his mother had completed her case plan and a court returned the boy to her care.

Two weeks later, Vassel said, another report said Kevin was being abused and had a bump on the head. Investigators ruled that allegation unfounded, Vassel said.

In October 2002, a report was filed that said Kevin had lost an extreme amount of weight and had another bump on the head and a burn on his hand. Investigators reported that Kevin had not been burned in his home and had not lost too much weight. The case was still open Sunday.

The agency has been criticized for its mishandling of several cases, including losing track of a Miami girl in its care and the failure of a DCF worker to check on a 2-year-old Lakeland boy who was later slain.

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