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Wrongful Death Suit Filed Against Hennepin County Human Services

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- A federal civil rights/wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against Hennepin County Human Services and the agency's personnel following the 2014 death of a 6-year-old girl.

SiebenCarey and NewmarkStorms filed the suit, which also names two Minnesota-based private agencies.

The filing comes as a result of the December 2014 death of a 6-year-old girl identified only as "KZJ." She was removed from her mother's care involuntarily and placed into Hennepin County's foster system in March 2014.

While in the care of foster care provider Tannise Nawaqavou, KZJ began displaying negative attention-seeking behaviors and homicidal and suicidal ideations. Psychological assessments confirmed the child experienced these behaviors nearly every in the months leading up to her death, according to the firms that filed the suit.

On Dec. 27, 2015, Adrea Nawaqavou found KZJ hanging from a jump rope tied to the girl's bunk bed. The Hennepin County Medical Examiner determined the cause of death was "ligature hanging." Nawaqavou's foster care license was temporarily suspended and later permanently revoked.

"This is a tragic case of multiple individuals at state and private agencies ignoring the safety and mental health condition of child who desperately needed care," said Jeffrey Montpetit, attorney at SiebenCarey.

The two private agencies named in the lawsuit are Family Alternatives, Inc., and LifeSpan of Minnesota.

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