Family of Toddler Who Died of Fentanyl Overdose Sues La County Dcfs for $65 Million

Family of Toddler Who Died of Fentanyl Overdose Sues La County Dcfs for $65 Million

The family of a baby who died of a fentanyl overdose is suing the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).

Justin Bulley, 17 months old, died on February 18 at a Lancaster house after ingesting fentanyl found there while in the custody of his mother and grandfather.

Montise Bulley, the boy’s father, was attempting to win custody of Justin at the time of his death. Montise has sued the DCFS for $65 million, claiming that Justin became unconscious and died while his mother, grandfather, and a DCFS social worker were present at the home.

The lawsuit alleges that social workers were aware of previous drug and DUI offenses involving the boy’s mother, Jessica Darthard, and grandfather, Jessie Darthard.

Regardless of their heritage, Montise stated that Justin and his three younger brothers were cared for by their mother and grandfather.

“How in the world could this happen?” asked Brian Claypool, the boy’s father’s attorney.”There’s only one answer. Lancaster has a pathetic Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services. What goes on at that agency in Lancaster is horrible.”

Claypool and Justin’s family attended a press conference Wednesday to announce the lawsuit and provide further information about the toddler’s death.

“Dating back to 2006, the mother had a first strike in California for shooting a gun into an occupied dwelling,” according to Claypool. “That crime, in and of itself, should have deprived this woman from caring for children.”

According to Claypool, Jessica should not have had access to her children for a variety of reasons.

Jessica’s lover died of an overdose on April 10, 2023, and all four of her children watched it, according to the lawsuit.

She had previously been detained for driving under the influence and colliding with a large truck while her children were purportedly inside, and baby Justin was not using a car seat.

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“The search of Jessica Darthard showed multiple alcohol-related arrests and cruelty to a child in 2023,” according to court filings. “[Jessica] was a known substance abuser. Each of her four children was born with illegal narcotics in their bodies. DCFS was also aware that Jessica’s father was a well-known drug dealer in Antelope Valley.

The suit says that on the night of Justin’s death, the DCFS social worker assigned to oversee the family paid a visit to the boy’s house and brought her own three children. Claypool claimed that Justin’s mother and grandfather were drinking and taking fentanyl in the presence of the children.

“It was only a matter of time before at least one child died at the hands of this mother,” Mr. Claypool stated. “There were six other children in the house when Justin died. There could have been another six children dead in this house.”

Claypool added to the charges by saying the social worker was a personal friend of Jessica’s.

When the social worker realized Justin had ingested the pills and was in distress, instead of saving the youngster, she departed the house with her children, according to the lawsuit.

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“The woman appointed by the county is at the scene of the death!” Claypool stated. “So what does she do? She does not intervene and try to save these children. She does not take these kids out of that house. What does she do? She’s a coward, and she runs. When the paramedics arrive at the house, she performs a 360. Runs out of the house with her children.

The social worker was later seized by law police, and after testing her three children, all were discovered to have fentanyl in their systems, according to the lawsuit.

“The level of fentanyl that was in Justin’s body was staggering,” Claypool said of the autopsy results. “He had 25 nanograms of fentanyl in the blood around his heart. It only takes one to kill a child. He had twenty-five in his blood.

The $65 million wrongful death case was filed on behalf of Justin, his father, and his younger siblings, who allegedly experienced years of abuse and neglect.

“I was devastated,” the boy’s father, Montise, admitted. “I did not comprehend. I received that phone call. Who receives a call like that? I wasn’t sure what to do. I was shocked. Hopefully, they can alter the system. I don’t have all the proper answers, but I’d appreciate a thorough investigation.”

“The mom and her father are doing drugs and alcohol, and a DCFS visitation supervisor is there,” Claypool informed me. “This individual is supposed to protect children, but she is at home while the mother of these young children and her father are involved in drug activities.

There were red flags in this case that led to the evacuation of Justin and his three siblings. They should have all moved out of mom’s house years ago. DCFS employees ignored complaints that [Justin] and his siblings were routinely exposed to alcohol and narcotics, and they were put with a substance-abusing mother and grandfather.

KTLA contacted the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services for comment, but a representative said they do not comment on pending lawsuits.

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