Share “DHS chief cleared”

By Randy Ellis Published: August 8, 2007
The director of Oklahoma's child welfare agency has been cleared of a child neglect complaint made after the director's son was accidentally burned.

"This letter is to inform you that the result of our investigation of a child neglect complaint against you is that the complaint was meritless,” Attorney General Drew Edmondson wrote in a letter Tuesday to Howard Hendrick, director of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services.

"This conclusion was reached after our office conducted a very thorough investigation,” Edmondson wrote.

Hendrick issued a statement Tuesday thanking the attorney general's office for its "professional handling of this situation.”

"I also want to thank the dozens of friends who have supported our family with their thoughts, prayers, calls, cards and e-mails,” Hendrick said. "The most important thing to our family is that our son is healing so well.”

DHS spokesman George Johnson said Hendrick "has no plans to make any further statements on this personal family matter.”

‘Advice was followed'
Hendrick's son, Hudson, 13, suffered injuries while helping burn brush near a house on Fort Cobb Lake while on a family trip during the July Fourth holiday, officials said.

Edmondson said it is his understanding that gasoline was poured on the brush, and flames flashed back on the youth after he lit a match.

A complaint was made that Hendrick failed to promptly seek emergency medical treatment for his son.

In a brief interview two weeks ago, Hendrick told The Oklahoman his family was in a remote area about 45 miles from the nearest hospital when the accident happened. He said he talked to a doctor within an hour of the accident and Hudson was taken to see a doctor the following morning.

Edmondson said the investigation by his office confirmed Hendrick's account.

"The evidence was that the injury was reported immediately to medical personnel and their advice was followed immediately,” Edmondson said. Oklahoma Dept. of Human Services AG letter to DHS director

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DHS Director Howard Hendrick


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