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Attorneys: Chippewa Co. DHS not to blame for infant’s death

Jaxon Hunter
Jaxon Hunter(weau)
Published: Apr. 11, 2021 at 7:58 PM CDT
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CHIPPEWA COUNTY, Wis. (WEAU) - Attorneys for the Chippewa County Department of Human Services say the agency and three employees singled out for the 2018 death of a six-month-old boy are not responsible for what happened.

The boy, Jaxon Hunter, died after he was assaulted by a 10-year-old girl while at daycare.

In a brief filed Friday in federal court attorneys wrote that cases of this nature “are often the most sad and tragic. This case is no exception.” Listing the reasons why the case should be dismissed, the defendants note employees of the agency acted appropriately in placing the 10-year-old in the foster home, which also served as a daycare. Instead, attorneys write that what happened on October 30, 2018 was a result of the daycare owner’s actions, “Had Amber Sweeney had sight or sound on [the girl] or Jaxon Hunter—two children entrusted into her care—it is unlikely this incident would have ever happened.” Sweeney was outside doing yard work with other children at the time the girl is accused of dropping Jaxon then stomping on the infant’s head.

Amber Sweeney told investigators [the girl] was “a sweet young lady” and there hadn’t been any signs of aggression toward other children. In the filing, attorneys also make note that Jaxon’s mother, Stefanie Hunter, “had no concerns with [the girl] playing with or holding Jaxon,” and the 10-year-old was friends with her daughter. The 10-year-old had been in the Sweeney home for 41 days before Jaxon was hurt.

Also in the filing attorneys note that, “in 2018 Chippewa County served 217 children in out-of-home care, including foster care, kinship, and residential placement. Approximately 84% of those placements were related to caregiver methamphetamine abuse, similar to [the girl]. However, in the previous ten years, and apart from [this incident], no child in placed by Chippewa County in out-of-home care has caused the death of another child.”

Attorneys for Hunter, Nathan Liedl, Jaxon’s father, and the estate of Jaxon Hunter have not filed a response to Friday’s filing. The defense is asking for the case to be dismissed and for their costs and fees to be paid by the plaintiffs.

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