Father files $15 million claim in 2-year-old daughter’s death

By Ann Weaver Published: December 5, 2005
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The father of the 2-year-old Meeker girl whose care was being overseen by child welfare workers when she died has filed a $15 million claim against the state about his daughter's death.

In his tort claim notice, Lance Briggs, 24, of Meeker, is demanding $15 million and a systemwide overhaul of the state Department of Human Services after the death of Kelsey Shelton Smith-Briggs.

Briggs' attorney, Derek Burch, said if his claim is refused, Briggs is prepared to file a lawsuit against the state, the state Department of Human Services, Court Appointed Special Advocates, Eastern Oklahoma Youth Services Inc. and several individuals involved in his daughter's welfare case from January until her Oct. 11 death.

Bunch declined to say which individuals would would be named in the lawsuit.

Custody of Kelsey was taken away from her mother, Raye Dawn Porter, in January after officials suspected the girl may have been abused. She was given back to her mother in June, but child welfare workers continued to monitor her care.

Authorities allege Kelsey died from blunt force trauma to her stomach.

Her stepfather, Mike Porter, is accused of first-degree murder in her death.

Burch said Briggs was on active duty with the U.S. Army Reserve when the Department of Human Services had oversight of Kelsey's care.

In the tort claim notice, Briggs alleges those involved in her case were negligent and failed to properly implement the care, treatment, evaluation, assessments, investigation, reporting and protection needed for his daughter.

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