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Investigation underway after 10-year-old Indiana boy dies in foster care – NBC Chicago

Authorities are investigating after a 10-year-old boy living in foster care in northwest Indiana died last week, officials said.

According to police, officers and paramedics from the Porter County Sheriff's Office were dispatched to a residence in the 200 block of Falcon Way just after 2:35 p.m. on April 25 for a reported medical emergency.

According to officials, upon arrival, the boy was taken by emergency medical services to a local hospital for treatment, where he was later pronounced dead. The boy was identified as Dakota Stevens.

A statement from the Indiana Department of Child Services confirmed that the agency was investigating.

“This news breaks the hearts of our entire staff. DCS works with stakeholders and partners across the state to investigate the death of a child when abuse or neglect is suspected and will take appropriate action. DCS foster parents must complete intensive training and education.” To maintain the license, a review is conducted each year to ensure the foster family continues to meet DCS requirements. This also includes additional training each year to maintain this license. This also applies to license termination, including cases where there is evidence of abuse or neglect by a foster parent or member of the household,” the statement reads in part.

Hayden Hetzel, the boy's former foster father, remembered Dakota's legacy in an emotional Facebook post.

“Thank you for the laughter, the tears, the sleepless nights, the endless memories. Your excitement and passion for everything you have done and put your mind to has amazed me,” Hetzel’s Facebook post read in part.

Hetzel said that Dakota dreamed of becoming a firefighter or police officer, that she loved listening to Katy Perry and that she had a fondness for chicken nuggets and pizza.

It is currently unknown whether the boy suffered from any health problems or whether foul play was suspected. No further information is currently available.

Anna Harden

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