Child Welfare Didn't Act Before Girl Died

Days before a 4-year-old girl died from a blow to the head in a filthy motel room shared with five siblings and her parents, the state child welfare agency was told about her living conditions but declined to investigate, according to documents released Wednesday.

Kai Gadison was found dead Monday after her mother called 911 to report the child wasn't breathing. She died of blunt force trauma to the head, an autopsy report said. The mother, 27-year-old Kenya Hill (search), is being held on six counts of child abuse and violation of probation.

Sheriff's deputies found dirty diapers and spoiled food littering the motel room, urine-soaked mattresses and baby bottles containing moldy milk and what may have been maggots.

Hill's probation officer from a 2002 case of alleged child abuse had visited the motel on Dec. 2, noted the "suspect" conditions and later called a state Department of Children & Families abuse hot line.

The agency replied that no law "prohibited a person from living in a one-room motel with their six children" and no further investigation was required, according to a Department of Corrections probation violation report.

Hill and her husband, Nathan Gadison, pleaded no contest in 2002 to charges stemming from his use of a belt to beat at least two children, including the girl who died this week, officials said Tuesday.

The child welfare agency briefly removed the two from the parents' custody but ended its supervision more than a year ago.

A sheriff's spokeswoman has said the husband is not considered a suspect in the child's death and may have been away from the motel at the time.

Gadison served nearly six months in jail in the 2002 case. Hill was sentenced to four months probation and for a time lost custody of Kai and a second child. It was unclear when Hill regained custody.

The Florida Department of Children & Families (search) has been under fire for a series of cases in which it lost track of children. In September, officials acknowledged that confidential records for nearly 4,000 abused and neglected children had been available for months on the Internet.