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Washing machine death in Bartlesville preceded by warnings

The Nov. 4 washing machine death of a Bartlesville infant was preceded by repeated complaints to Oklahoma Department of Human Services that rampant drug abuse by adults in the home was endangering children there, a new report reveals.
BY RANDY ELLIS Modified: December 1, 2010 at 7:50 am •  Published: December 1, 2010

“It was further reported that the adults passed out from drug use” and that Fiddler's 5-year-old child had walked down to the end of the road without the adults knowing the child was gone, the report said.

DHS was told Fiddler earlier had slapped the 8-year-old, leaving a bruise on the child's face.

The DHS employee who investigated the complaint reported “high red flags” regarding drug use by Fiddler and other adults in the home “due to their behavior and Ms. Fiddler's positive drug screening.”

“However, the children did not report any knowledge of drugs,” the report states.

“The children appeared clean, appropriately dressed and developmentally on target.”

DHS received another complaint in April after Fiddler was arrested on drug possession, the report shows.

“Allegedly, Lyndsey Fiddler tried to smuggle drugs into the jail” and had “outstanding warrants when arrested,” the report states.

DHS “screened out” the report as not being child abuse or neglect.

The month before Maggie was born, DHS received a complaint that Fiddler was “taking prescription drugs to the point of not being able to walk down stairs.”

That complaint also was screened out as not being child abuse or neglect.

DHS received another complaint on Oct. 25 — the day Maggie was born. The complaint alleged that Lyndsey Fiddler had given birth and had used drugs throughout her pregnancy.

DHS investigated and reported “all children were safe and that Lyndsey Fiddler was willing to work on parenting services.”

DHS reported interviewing nine witnesses and said its assessment still was open at the time of Maggie's death.

“We are deeply saddened by the tragic death of this child,” DHS spokeswoman Sheree Powell wrote in a statement released Tuesday.

“OKDHS will be providing a summary of our involvement regarding the child's death. We will also conduct a thorough review of OKDHS involvement using the critical incident review process.”

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