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Local News

Mom, stepdad of 6-year-old found dead in Boulder Hill home investigated by DCFS 8 times

Courtny A. Davidson (left) and James A. Davidson (right)
Courtny A. Davidson (left) and James A. Davidson (right)

BOULDER HILL – There have been multiple Illinois Department of Children and Family Services investigations related to the mother and stepfather of a 6-year-old girl found dead in her home in July, including some that have since been determined to be unfounded, according to DCFS officials.

DCFS spokesman Bill McCaffrey said during a Sept. 24 phone call there have been eight total investigations through the agency involving the family of Kerrigan Rutherford, the child who was found dead in her home July 2 afternoon in the 100 block of Boulder Hill Pass – including Kerrigan's mother Courtny A. Davidson, 32, and stepfather James Davidson, 29, both of the 800 block of Washington Street in Mendota.

“And that’s including the current investigation that was opened after she [Kerrigan] passed away,” McCaffrey said.

McCaffrey confirmed the family was receiving services as a result of one or more investigations. He declined comment on what those specific services were, citing privacy concerns.

According to the agency's website, some services meant to keep at-risk families intact include counseling, domestic violence prevention, substance abuse treatment, mental health treatment, housing or parenting coaching and classes.

During a separate phone call on Monday, Oct. 5, McCaffrey said the first investigation involving the family was Dec. 7, 2015, which had been classified as indicated, meaning an investigator determined there was credible evidence that a child was abused or neglected. He said there also were two investigations on April 12 and 28, 2017, in which those records have been expunged.

McCaffrey said there also were investigations on Dec. 24, 2018; Nov. 8, 2019; Jan. 15, 2020; and Feb. 3, 2020 – all of which have been classified by the agency as unfounded. That means the agency didn't find anything that would require further action. He said the July 2, 2020 investigation is pending and that is a continuing investigation.

McCaffrey declined additional comment on Monday beyond the total number of investigations involving the family, the dates of those investigations and whether the cases were unfounded.

"The Department of Children and Family Services is not providing any additional information on these investigations, as case reports and investigation information is prohibited for release by law," McCaffrey said on Monday. "In the event of a death, DCFS can provide general information to the public. In addition, this case is currently part of criminal proceedings and the DCFS inspector general is also conducting an investigation, which always happens after a death."

The update comes after both adults were arrested and each charged with one count of involuntary manslaughter, which is a Class 2 felony, and two counts of endangering the life or health of a child, also Class 3 felonies, related to the child's death, which was ruled to be caused by olanzapine toxicity, or overdose. Both Davidsons pleaded not guilty to the charges earlier last month.

The two adults are still in the Kendall County Jail as of 11 p.m. Monday, according to jail records.

Kendall County Judge Jody Gleason previously set bond at $250,000 with 10% to apply on Aug. 7 for both Davidsons. Kendall County Chief Judge Robert Pilmer also denied motions to reduce the bonds for the two adults on Aug. 12.

Kendall County Sheriff's officials wrote in police report documents that Oswego Fire Protection District and sheriff's officials filed reports to DCFS related to the July 2 incident. Sheriff's officials had said in the police report the living conditions for the Boulder Hill house were described as uninhabitable around the time Kerrigan was found dead in the house.

According to the police report, sheriff's officials saw multiple piles of garbage inside the house, along with dirty diapers and feces on the floors, carpets and stairs throughout the house. Broken eggs, spilled soda and rotting food also were on the floor of a dining area along with clean and dirty diapers, sheriff's officials wrote in the report.

"Roaches could be seen on the shelving unit and countertops" of the kitchen, one sheriff's detective wrote in the report.

The landlord for the house, which the Davidsons rented, told sheriff's officials on July 9 the house had new carpet and paint and one of the bathrooms had been remodeled before the Davidsons moved into the house about a year ago, according to the police report. The landlord also said he was not aware of any police or DCFS investigations at the house, per the report.

Following Kerrigan's death, the 3-year-old biological child of both Davidsons was removed from the Boulder Hill house in July by DCFS officials and placed in the care of a relative in Chicago, according to Kendall County court records.

Sheriff's officials also found multiple prescription bottles for about ten different medications within the bedrooms of the Boulder Hill house, according to the police report.

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