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Pueblo County approves $6 million settlement following foster toddler death

Pueblo County Courthouse

PUEBLO COUNTY, Colo. (KRDO) -- Following the death of a 15-month old foster child, Pueblo County Commissioners have agreed to a settlement agreement with the child's parents worth $6 million.

In July of 2020, the Pueblo County Department of Human Services placed Aiden Seeley, his brother, and a third sibling into foster care. All three were put in the foster home of 31-year old Dacey Spinuzzi on the 400 block of South Coral Drive. Less than two months later, the Pueblo County Sheriff's Office said Aiden was murdered.

15-month old foster child Aiden Seeley

The resolution Pueblo County Commissioners unanimously approved Thursday, however, does not admit to wrongdoing by the county. The settlement agreement would release Pueblo County from all claims put forth by Zalissa Abeyta and Brett Seeley.

According to transcripts from a court hearing obtained by 13 Investigates, prosecutors say the extent of Aiden's injuries included a fracture to his arm, a missing toenail, and a broken toe. Prosecutors went on to tell the judge that Aiden's injuries were "tantamount to torture."

Spinuzzi, the foster mother, and her boyfriend, 36-year old Ramondo Jones, were charged with the 15-month-old's alleged killing and abuse. Spinuzzi officially pled guilty to accessory to first-degree murder -- a class 4 felony. This admission of guilt stems from a plea agreement with the 10th Judicial District Attorney's Office. Prosecutors dismissed Spinuzzi's child abuse charge.

As for Jones, he pled not guilty to a first-degree murder charge connected to Aiden's death. His jury trial is scheduled to begin in April.

13 Investigates previously looked into dysfunction and systemic issues inside Pueblo County DHS and the failure to follow procedures created to keep the most vulnerable community members safe.

13 Investigates had reached out to Pueblo County's DHS Director Tim Hart for comment on our stories on Aiden Seeley's death and oversight concerns within his own department. Hart resigned three days after 13 Investigates asked for a sit-down interview on systemic issues in child death and abuse cases.

At Thursday's Board of County Commissioners Meeting, the County Attorney said the settlement agreement still needs to be signed off by other parties and approved by the court.

In an email to 13 Investigates, a spokesperson for Pueblo County officials said they are unable to comment on the case until the court signs off and approves the settlement agreement.

At this time, it's unclear what portion of the $6 million will be covered by insurance or the taxpayers of Pueblo County.

Abeyta and Seeley, Aiden's parents, are currently facing felony child abuse charges of their own. The charges stem from an incident where Aiden's older brother was severely burned and had to be flown to a Denver hospital for care.

13 Investigates reached out to Richard Orona, the attorney for Seeley and Abeyta, for comment. We have not received a response.

We have learned an official lawsuit was never filed against Pueblo County in this case.

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Dan Beedie

Dan is a reporter with the 13 Investigates team. Learn more about Dan here.

Comments

8 Comments

  1. Good, DSS does this BS all the time they should be held accountable, the family should go after them personally…

  2. Soooooo….the parents deemed unfit to take care of their own children get $6 million? Zoiks…

  3. DHS goal # 1
    .
    As far away from, and having as little to do with; any of the families that DHS is supposed to “Service”.

  4. My heart is breaking for Aiden, and his two siblings that are likely in yet another DHS horror that the people of Puelbo have no control over. I think Hart, cowardly head of DHS that allowed this, along with the so-called social workers paid to watch the foster home (and the woke want more social workers?!?) should be held personally responsible for Aiden’s death. The criminals that are the birth parents of these poor children shouldn’t get a dime; put the money into a trust fund for the surviving children. After what they’ve been through, they’ll probably need it for therapy but at least they’re alive.

  5. Good point Lulu. Bad parents,who had their kids taken away, get tons of money. Does anyone think they will suddenly become responsible? Who will be watching out for the siblings and their future?

  6. The insurance RATES, that are now sky high because of this kind of stuff is paid for b to the tax payers. Not from a magic money tree. Duh.

  7. How disappointing. Not one word about what is being done to clean house at PCDHS and make sure this never happens again.

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