Portland foster dad convicted in two-year-old girl's death

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by Associated Press

NWCN.com

Posted on August 15, 2009 at 1:36 PM

Updated Thursday, Sep 24 at 12:36 PM

PORTLAND - A Multnomah County jury found a foster father guilty of first-degree manslaughter for recklessly failing to seek medical care for 2-year-old Keyana Bravo-Hamilton.

Keyana had been living with Armando Moreno-Garcia and his wife for less than three months when her lifeless body was brought to a Gresham hospital in September 2006. The girl was pronounced dead and police were alerted after staff noticed she had bruises, abrasions and burns. The couple's oldest biological daughter, then 6, told authorities that on the day before Keyana died she saw the foster mom stick the toddler's head into a toilet containing feces and urine.

The medical examiner testified during the trial that blows to Keyana's stomach had perforated her bowel, spilling deadly bacteria that eventually killed her.

Moreno, 40, who was convicted Wednesday, will be sentenced next week. His wife, Dunia Soledad Moreno, was sentenced to a dozen years in prison after pleading no contest to manslaughter in February.

State Medical Examiner Karen Gunson testified that Keyana might have lived had she received medical care in time. She said Keyana had been abused over time because some of her injuries were on the mend.

Keyana and her half-sister, Jasmine, 4, had been part of the foster-care system most of Keyana's life.

The girls had lived with a Tigard foster family, but the Morenos were asked whether they would adopt the girls because the state favors foster parents with a familial connection. Moreno was Jasmine's uncle. Keyana and Jasmine both suffered physical abuse in the four months they lived with the Morenos, according to the prosecution.

A review of its handling of the case by the Oregon Department of Human Services found that a caseworker didn't visit Keyana every 30 days, as required. The review also found that the caseworker wasn't trained to spot signs of abuse.

Crystal Hamilton, Keyana's biological mother, was in the courtroom for the verdict.

Also:

"It's just been a long time coming -- having to wait two years for something I knew was the truth," Hamilton told a reporter from The Oregonian newspaper.

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