Fundraiser begins for Omarion Humphrey memorial - WNEM TV 5

Fundraiser begins for Omarion Humphrey memorial

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A fundraiser begins Monday in honor of 9-year-old Omarion Humphrey. Humphrey, who was autistic, was found dead in a Davison Township Lake after wandering away while in foster care. The event is to raise money for a memorial for the boy who went missing on July 4. It's happening at Lake Callis starting at 5 p.m. People are invited to eat, bid on silent auction items and more.

Custody of Omarion's siblings: 

A judge on July 24 chose to keep Omarion Humphrey's siblings in foster care. The 9-year-old boy with autism who died at Lake Callis Park has been the center of an investigation into the foster family and his parents attempts to get their nearly dozens children back from the foster system.

"They want to make sure everything is alright before they give the kids back," Jamell Humphrey, Omarion's biological father, said. "I understand that, that's their job."

Jamell Humphrey said he and his wife just want to find a safe place for the kids to live. 

In the same court hearing, it was disclosed that the foster parent caring for Omarion was not trained to handle an autistic child.

"If she wasn't qualified to take my son, he shouldn't have been there," Jamell Humphrey said. "That's the whole point. If it was just an accident where she just lost sight of him for 30 seconds and something happened, that's one thing. When he's been missing 30, 40 minutes, hour and a half, two hours -- that's way too long for any child."

This hearing followed a previous emergency court hearing was held on July 7 at the concern of Khisha Humphrey, Omarion's birth mother, to investigate the foster family who were Omarion's guardians at the time of his disappearance.

The investigation continues

Davison Township police have met with the Genesee County Prosecutor's office following the death of the 9-year-old. Prosecutors met in a closed door investigative meeting with police, but are not releasing any details on what was said.

Meantime, the Lake Callis Recreation Complex re-opened after being closed during the search.

About a week after Omarion disappeared on the Fourth of July, the search came to an end after his body was discovered at Lake Callis in Davison Township on Friday.

Jamell Humphrey told TV5 police notified him of the discovery of Omarion's body in the lake in the afternoon of Friday July 10.

Davison Township Police Chief Rick Freeman said a 911 call came in at 12:33 p.m. for a body in Lake Callis. First responders confirmed the body was of a small boy.

In a July 11 press conference Freeman said while autopsy results are still preliminary, there was no sign of trauma on the boy's body, and Omarion may have been in the water from the very first day.

No charges have been announced against the boy's foster parents who were with Omarion when he went missing.

Controversy regarding Omarion's family

Court officials in Oakland County said the hearing was requested Monday and is in connection with a request for a caseworker to visit the foster home and check on the children living there. 

As a result of the hearing, Alternatives for Children foster agency was ordered to investigate and produce a report to train the foster family regarding concerns about Omarion's disappearance.

Also, the Department of Human Services needs to remain in constant contact with the guardian ad litem and attorneys regarding the case. The judge also recommended counseling for Omarion's siblings.

During the hearing attorneys for the Humphreys questioned the Alternatives for Children foster care agency, who placed Omarion in the home of his foster parents in Flint. 

"Omarion is autistic, he doesn't speak, and obviously he should have been watched like you would watch a 2-year-old every minute of the day," said Elliot Parnes, attorney.

Khisha Humphrey, mother to 15 children, had nearly a dozen of the children placed into foster care. She's now fighting to get them back.

Supervision of foster children

"It was a total shock to me that he was at the lake with 500 people on a holiday weekend," Jamell Humphrey said.

The Michigan Department of Human Services is supposed to make sure foster children are on track.

"The safety and well-being of children in foster care is always our top priority," said Bob Wheaton, communications manager for the department.

He said Michigan is a private-public partnership state, which means some cases are managed by DHS and others are handled by the private agency.

In Omarion's case, he was under the supervision of Burton-based Alternatives for Children and Families, but that doesn't chance the expectations for supervision.

"The caseworkers need to meet monthly with the caregiver, be in the caregiver's home, observe the caregiver, also the caseworkers need to make contact with the children to make sure they're doing well in the home," Wheaton said.

At the court hearing on July 7, a caseworker for Alternatives for Children and Families testified Omarion's foster family had a previous complaint of improper supervision.

Omarion "Mars" Humphrey's disappearance

Genesee County officials said Omarion Humphrey disappeared from the Callis Lake Recreational Facility in Genesee County's Davison Township. He was last seen wearing black swim trunks with a red stripe and no shirt or shoes.

He was celebrating the Fourth of July with his family when Omarion disappeared, police said, adding there were 20 to 30 family members present at the time of his disappearance.

"The fact that Omarion [went] missing means there were some holes in supervision," Freeman said. "The best parents in the world can lose sight of their children at any time, so we're not making any judgments."

Omarion is about 4 feet tall, and weights about 70 pounds. Officials said the child is severely autistic and is unable to speak.

Searchers, both professional and volunteer, have spent most of the time looking for the little boy since his disappearance. On Monday the Lapeer County Sheriff Mounted Division arrived to help in the search.

Police efforts to find Omarion

On July 8 police called off a large-scale search for Omarion in the park.

The announcement came on the heels of a large-scale investigation that included more than 800 uniformed officers searching a 5-mile radius that was extended in parts around Lake Callis Recreation Complex, where Omarion went missing.

Police also brought out 70 to 80 bloodhounds on Wednesday to aid in the search for Omarion.

On July 6, crews even blasted rapper Eminem, the young boy's favorite band, to try to draw him in.

"We’re going to find him, it’s just a matter of time," Freeman said at a press conference on July 6.

Police also used drones with infrared capabilities to search the area, Freeman said.

After the foot search police checked and cleared the homes of more than 100 known sex offenders.

Police considered a possible kidnapping because of the number of sex offenders who live near the park.

"It's just one more check we're doing to make sure we're covering all the bases," said Rick Jones, trooper for the Michigan State Police.

Police checked 70 to 75 homes in Genesee County and 40 to 50 homes in Lapeer County.

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