BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — A 6-month-old baby who the Department of Children and Families placed in temporary foster care is now dead.
Channel 9 investigative reporter Daralene Jones has been trying for weeks to find out why the child was placed in a questionable environment after his mother was arrested for child neglect. The newborn is still at the morgue, more than four months after he was found in a plastic container in a closet, according to the arrest reports.
Family photos shared with 9 Investigates depict a newborn. From what we can see in photos, 6-month-old Scorpio Sharp was a happy, healthy baby boy.
His short life came to an end at a Cape Canaveral apartment complex in March.
“I’m in a place of unknown because I don’t know anything, so I’m just in the dark right now,” the child’s biological mother, Roxanne Raphael, told Jones.
Raphael lost custody earlier this year when she was arrested for child neglect.
A Brevard County deputy found the newborn dead after two other young children living in the apartment, where DCF placed him, were found wandering around the neighborhood.
“This kid was placed in foster care temporarily for the child’s safety, so, ultimately, someone should’ve made sure the child was in a safe environment,” said Attorney Orlando Sheppard, who represents the child’s family.
9 Investigates pushed DCF for answers and reviewed court records to get a look at this case and previous law enforcement encounters for those involved. Ricky Tubbs, 25, signed a safety plan, according to DCF. And her arrest affidavit states that she received explicit instructions she was to be the sole primary caregiver.
In an email, a spokesperson for DCF told us that in the case of Sharp, “a non-relative placement was the only available option outside of a licensed foster placement. Ms. Tubbs and the other disclosed household member both passed thorough background checks, as outlined in state administrative code. It was not disclosed to the Department of Children and Families that Tanya Galvin was a household member, and therefore, she was not subject to a background screening. Additionally, locks and alarms were installed throughout the home, intended to help keep the children safe.”
The day the child was found dead, he was left with Tanya Galvin, who investigators say had a documented history of violence, which Sheppard has questions about.
“Who knew she was living there and what was done to make sure that she was not watching the children?” Sheppard said during an interview with Jones.
DCF and its sub-contractor, Brevard Family Partnership, took Tubbs at her word that no one else lived in the apartment when a safety check was developed on Feb. 15, and the children were temporary placed with Tubbs as a non-relative. The following day, a home study was completed, and a formal placement was established.
Court records we found within minutes show a warrant was issued for Galvin for violation of probation on grand theft charges. Her address listed was the apartment where the newborn died. The probation officer noted in an arrest warrant for Galvin that on or around March 7, Galvin moved from that apartment where she had been living, which was a violation of her probation because she didn’t have permission.
Scorpio Sharp was found dead on March 1. DCF told us four welfare visits were done between Feb. 15, the date of placement, and March 1, and Galvin was not present during those visits.
Galvin is charged with aggravated manslaughter. Tubbs is charged with child neglect with great bodily harm. And DCF told us there are no children currently in Tubbs’ care, and no other children will be placed in her home in the future.
There was a dispute over whether DCF would pay for the child’s burial, but since we started asking questions, we’re now told that in this case DCF has been actively working with the baby’s parent and coordinating with the local community-based care lead agency to ensure he receives a proper burial.
A spokesperson for DCF called the child’s death heartbreaking and said the department offers sympathy and condolences to all who knew and loved him.
Cox Media Group