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In Loving Memory of Daisai Derzon Who Died in Foster Care Aged 3

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Lukes Dad's picture
on Fri, 05/02/2014 - 17:14
Fight Child Protection Department Corruption: 
In Loving Memory of Daisai Derzon Who Died in Foster Care Aged 3

Daisai Derzon

  • Age: 3 yrs.
  • Born: Aug 11, 2004
  • Died: Jan 12, 2008
  • Location: Grand Lake
  • Suspect in death: Michelle Baber, foster parent

Daisai Derzon was a 2-year-old in Cortez when her biological parents went to prison, their parental rights terminated, and Daisai and her two siblings were placed in a foster home. Within two months, the children were moved to another foster home across the state in Grand County where Daisai would die of a severe blow to the head within a year.

As new foster parents, Michelle and Robert Baber had received glowing reports from a court guardian and social services workers. About a half year after they took in Daisai and her brothers, the Babers were approved to adopt the children.

Before that adoption could be finalized, Michelle Baber called 911 in January, 2008, to report she found her then-3½-year-old foster daughter, who“does weird stuff in her sleep,” pounding her head against a wall. Three days later, Daisai was dead of a closed-head injury after being removed from life support.

For weeks, Michelle Baber stuck to the“sleepwalking” story before adding theories that Daisai might have hurt herself when she slipped in a bathtub or that Baber might have dropped Daisai while carrying her. Fifteen days after Daisai died, Michelle Baber finally admitted that she had struck Daisai in the head.

At her sentencing — 16 years in prison for child abuse resulting in death — Michelle Baber‘s attorney said her client suffered from a major depressive disorder.

After Daisai‘s death, questions were raised by the state Child Fatality Review Team about the appropriateness of Daisai‘s placement and the supervision of the foster parents by a contracting agency working with the Montezuma County Department of Social Services. That agency shut down two weeks after Daisai‘s death before the state could complete an investigation of the agency. Another contract agency took over the child placements in that part of the state.

The review team found no violations on the part of the county child protection workers.


debharrelson's picture

There is a great deal of the story about Daisai that is posted on this page that is true, but a large part of it that is untrue. I was a foster parent in Montezuma county when I received a call in July 2005 that two very young children were abandoned in a local motel. I met the caseworker at our local hospital, and Daisai and her older brother Addy were placed in my care. The next day I received a call from the same caseworker saying that the kid's had another brother, abandoned a town over. Cassisus was 3, Addy 2, and Daisai was not even 1 yet. These kids were in my home until they were placed with the Baber's in late 2007.

I loved these kids with all my heart. I did not want them placed with the Baber's. I remember the day that Michelle and Robert came to my home to pick them up. The kids had never met them and I was to send them to live with them the same day that they met. I can remember calling th caseworker while the Baber's were at my house and I told them that I had a horrible feeling about these people. I was shrugged off as "no one will ever be good enough in your eyes". A few months later my spunky little Daisai was dead. The day my whole world turned upside down.

Daisia was so full of life. She loved dressing up and had a laugh that filled the room. She was such a loving littl girl. She liked to give what we called Eskimo kisses. She loved all of her siblings but was especially close to Addy. She was so smart. She could be quite bossy. She was the youngest of six, all six and younger that was in my home. She was the only girl in that bunch. She kept those boys on their toes. She loved the color pink and was all about Dora. Her favorite book was Go Away Green Monster. She was my little princess and I still grieve her every day.

As for her bio-mother, Shannon Derzon I believe loved her kids. She was a mess. In and out of the system. Some things I want to correct is that the system failed her children. That is the case that the county failed her children, but Shannon failed her children too. I would take the kids to visitation and she would not show, or would show high. Honestly, Daisai did not even know her. Her children were in the foster care system due to her actions! Period! The kids had a very young caseworker that I know cared for them. Had she known that there were any warning signs about the Baber's, she would have yanked the kids out of their home. That young casewoker life changed that day too. Another fact I want to corresct is that Shannon says she could not raise the funds to go to Daisai's funeral in Grandby. Her funeral was in Cortez and that is where she is buried. We were there at the funeral and I can assure you that she was so loved. I will never stop grieving the loss of Daisai and I take comfort that we will be together again. Until that day, she is my angel.