BROOKLYN PARK, Minn. (WCCO) — The search and safe discovery of a missing girl has revealed a tumultuous home environment, including the unexplained death of one of her siblings.

More than 12 hours after she ran away, police were notified the 11-year-old girl was found safe outside a clinic in Bloomington, 22 miles away from her home. Neighbors Marilyn Harris, along with her husband, coincidentally were the people who found the girl.

They believe the girl recognized them before asking for a ride back to Brooklyn Park.

“And then all of a sudden it started clicking because we’ve been watching this (investigation) all morning, and we said sure but she said nothing to us in the vehicle, nothing. Just said somebody dropped her off, that’s all we know,” said Harris.

When police initially responded to the home Monday morning, they said the conditions inside were unfit for children to be living in and had the remaining children taken by child protective services. Some officers entered the house wearing protective gear.

“The infestation of rodents and bugs inside the house is one the reasons why the officers are using protective gear,” said Deputy Chief Mark Bruley.

Later in the afternoon, a sign was placed on the home’s front door by the Brooklyn Park Code Enforcement and Public Health Division. The sign stated that it was “unfit for human habitation.” Nobody is allowed inside.

The mother of the children was hospitalized, and police said she was uncooperative.

Deputy Chief Mark Bruley said they’ve had several calls to the house regarding the welfare of the children, including a child’s death in February.

Court documents related to that investigation state the child was found unresponsive on the morning of Feb. 1, 2018, and pronounced dead at the scene. The cause of death was undetermined.

Those same documents state the children’s mother, Tasha Tennin, has an extensive child protection history with reports of physical abuse, endangerment, neglect and several reports of sexual abuse dating back to 2006.

The documents, from May of this year, ask a court to order protective services for the children because of the multiple accusations against their mother.

We asked police that if a child died there in February, why children were still living there today. Deputy Chief Bruley said, “The Brooklyn Park Police Department is responsible for the criminal investigation, which is still ongoing. The rest of it, as far as the welfare of the children at the home, would be a child protection-type issue.”

WCCO then contacted Hennepin County’s Child Protective Services regarding the death investigation. We were told the county filed for an order of protection, as stated in the death investigation documents. However, the court denied the request.

Jeff Wagner

  1. James Dunn says:

    Child protection in MN is a joke. People should be in JAIL at the highest levels of DHS and at the county level for doing nothing in a state where doing nothing is preferred. Jennifer Sommerfeld… you’ve sat by in your role as legislative director of DHS and have done NOTHING to fix this. NOTHING. ZERO. A little help for the children? A little policy reform for family law? Nothing.

    MN Child Report Maltreatment Act has what is known as “The Final Blow Provision”. This is the ONLY MN State Statute allowing for the removal of a child by statute. MN 626.556 Reads as follows: Subd 10(5).

    ” In cases of alleged child maltreatment resulting in death, the local agency may rely on the fact-finding efforts of a law enforcement investigation to make a determination of whether or not maltreatment occurred. When necessary the local welfare agency shall seek authority to remove the child from the custody of a parent, guardian, or adult with whom the child is living. In performing any of these duties, the local welfare agency shall maintain appropriate records.”

    I testified to the MN Department of Human Services Reform Committee in 2018, and in 2017. After COUNTLESS complaints, absolutely NOTHING has been done in MN and children continue to die and CPS continues to be leaving children at risk and family law continues to look the other way and social services continue to make money providing services to child abusers using federal funds from social security title IV-D and IV-E under the federal social security act. MN spends $181M/year to shuffle children around through government programs, child support, child protection, foster care, and other programs caring NOTHING about children, yet building a government department at DHS in MN so big that it fails at every single level.

    The Final Blow Provision. That’s were Children Die first, and then they investigate, and then they remove the dead child, and then they write a report. This is the ONLY statute in MN LAW allowing for the removal of a child of a home, but only after the final blow. THAT is fact. And we sit by and act shocked. If you’re shocked, call your representative and let’s get these kids protected. Right now. YOU READING THIS, CALL RIGHT NOW. This is ridiculous. Again, nobody does anything because it’s someone else’s problem.