Murdered Oklahoma girl's mother files $3 million claim against state

Serenity Deal's mother is seeking $3 million from the state for herself and her children. She blames negligent acts by the Oklahoma Department of Human Services for Serenity's “untimely passing.”
by Nolan Clay Modified: July 8, 2012 at 8:26 pm •  Published: July 9, 2012
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State officials could elect to settle the claim before the deadline, but that is unlikely.

“The negligent acts of OKDHS were the proximate cause of Serenity Deal's untimely passing and the claimant ... has suffered damages as a result thereof,” the mother's claim states.

Separate claim

Serenity's grandparents, Chuck and Annette Deal, of Chandler, have made a separate claim against the state over the girl's death, their attorney, Joe Vorndran, said. Serenity stayed with them for a while before being put into foster homes.

The grandparents' claim may have been misplaced. The grandparents' attorney said he has proof the state accepted it. State officials said Thursday they have not received it yet.

The girl was placed with her father, Sean Devon Brooks, in May 2011 even though she was injured twice in January 2011 during overnight visits with him.

The second time, she came back to a foster home with black eyes and a swollen and bruised face, records show. Both she and her father said he dropped her accidentally. DHS workers accepted that explanation.

Brooks, 32, is serving a life term in prison for first-degree murder. He admitted in his guilty plea last December that he beat Serenity in the head.

DHS commissioners last September formed a special committee to review her death and other child deaths.

They acted after Gov. Mary Fallin complained of “the appearance of lax oversight on the part of DHS commissioners.”


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by Nolan Clay
Sr. Reporter
Nolan Clay was born in Oklahoma and has worked as a reporter for The Oklahoman since 1985. He covered the Oklahoma City bombing trials and witnessed bomber Tim McVeigh's execution. His investigative reports have brought down public officials,...
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