According to Child Protective Services, 11-month-old Orien Hamilton was born addicted to drugs on Oct. 22, 2012, and removed from his mother’s care in San Antonio shortly after.
The mother was incarcerated.
Hamilton was fatally injured on Saturday while in the custody of his paternal aunt. She left the child with her boyfriend, Jacob Salas, when she was called into work unexpectedly.
Cedar Park Police received a call saying the baby was choking.
“He had placed the child's head on the ground and used his knee- put his knee on the child's head,” said Cpt. Darlene Lewis with Cedar Park Police.
Orien Hamilton was transported to Dell Children’s Hospital where she died the next day. The child would have turned 1 on Tuesday.
Salas is in the Williamson County jail being held without bond.
CPS vetted the paternal aunt and placed the child in her custody in December 2012. She became a licensed foster parent on Oct. 7.
Meanwhile, CPS confirmed Tuesday that eight foster children died from abuse or neglect during the 2013 fiscal year that ended in August.
During the 2012 fiscal year, two deaths were reported.
“A couple of these that were determined to be negligence were suicide, a couple were drowning, some sleep related. Only one was physical abuse prosecuted as a crime,” said Patrick Crimmins, a spokesman with the Department of Family & Protective Services.
Crimmins says the state agency is investigating the troubling trend but has yet to find a common thread.
“Zero is the appropriate number, so these numbers are way too high,” he said. “It is a head-scratcher at this point, but it is up to us to try to figure this out and that's what we're in the process of doing.”
Since the end of the 2013 fiscal year, five children have died while in foster care.
Crimmins says only one of those -- the most recent death of Orien Hamilton -- has allegedly been criminal.
Hamilton was placed in foster care through Lutheran Social Services of the South, Inc., which contracts with CPS.
The state says because Salas was never listed as a resident of the home, he never underwent a background check as part of the foster child placement.