UPDATE: Parents Cleared In Toddler's Death

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Blake Tierney and Jen Hatfield found their toddler, Gabe, dead back in May. Right after Gabe's death, the state kept their baby girl from them.

"I'm sure that doesn't make the Tierneys happy, but it satisfies me that the system works," said Sarpy County Attorney Lee Polikov.

The toxicology results are in on 22-month-old Gabe Tierney.

"Are you going to file any criminal charges?" asked Malorie Maddox.

"No." said Polikov. "The bottom line is the cause of death was undetermined."

Gabe never got to see his second birthday. His parents, Blake Tierney and Jen Hatfield, have always maintained they had nothing to do with his death.

WOWT asked, "You have nothing to hide?"

"No. Nothing at all," said Gabe's parents.

After Gabe's death, the State removed their baby girl, Kaylee.

Jen said, "That five weeks was hell. I couldn't do anything with her without having someone else here."

In court documents, the state said Kaylee had a urinary tract infection and a broken wrist.

Polikov says it turns out Kaylee's wrist was never broken.

"How or why it was misdiagnosed at the hospital, I don't know. The medical people told me the wrist was broken but through further examination and follow, our doctor says it doesn't show evidence of a break," said Polikov.

We reached out to Children's and they released this statement:

"Children’s Hospital & Medical Center respects the privacy of all patients and cannot share specific details related to diagnosis and treatment. However, Children’s is confident that high quality, accurate care was provided.”

The Tierneys have been frustrated through this entire process.

"They say they want what's best for the kids, well, so do we," said Jen.

But Polikov stands by his decision to remove Kaylee from their care.

"This is a good example of how the early indication was there might have been a crime. Follow-through and further investigation and development of the case says it's not there. We also had a family who was on the news every night. I wasn't on the news every night. I responded to your calls," said Polikov.

The Tierneys still have a caseworker monitoring Kaylee.

They have always maintained their innocence in Gabe's death and say they just want to mourn their son.



June 30, 2014
Blake Tierney and Jen Hatfield found their toddler, Gabe, dead back in May. Right after Gabe's death, the state kept their baby girl from them. The parents never gave up fighting to get their baby girl back.

"That five weeks was hell," Jen Hatfield said.

Jen and Blake Tierney have been through more than most parents could even imagine. It all began back on Sunday, May 25th in Springfield, Nebraska. They found Gabe dead in his bedroom.

We sat down with them then.

"My little boy is gone. He's not going to be back."

The couple says they have no idea how Gabe died. But, their pain was just beginning.

Days after Gabe's death, Sarpy County filed papers in juvenile court to keep their daughter away from them.

We sat down with them again.

Malorie Maddox asks, "Did you hurt your daughter?" They said, "No."

"Did you hurt your son?" They said, "No. We didn't even like putting him in time out."

According to court documents, Kaylee was underweight and had a broken wrist. But since those documents were filed, the couple says there is a new development.

"Her wrist was never broken," said Jen.

Jen says it came out in court Kaylee has a calcium deficiency - something she was born with that will go away over time.

"I was furious with them, because I knew from the beginning it wasn't broken," said Jen.

For five weeks, Blake and Jen have been fighting to get their baby girl back. They won. Kaylee got to come home this weekend.

"I couldn't do anything with her without having somebody else there. I couldn't even change her own diaper," said Jen.

And although they are glad to have Kaylee home, they are furious they had to fight for her while mourning their son.

"We are mad at the state mostly because like I said they make us feel criminal. I don't think her and I either have started the mourning process on Gabe because we are dealing with all this other stuff from the state," said Blake.

Sarpy County Attorney Lee Polikov tells WOWT the toxicology reports are in on Gabe's death. They are reviewing them right now.



June 30, 2014Thursday, May 29
On the eve of burying their son Gabriel, Blake Tierney and Jen Hatfield found themselves being kept away from their daughter, Kaylee. We spoke with the parents on Thursday night about the shocking allegations against them.

Jen said, “I've never heard of anyone losing a kid and then having to go through this."

Blake and Jen will bury their 22-month-old son on Friday. Gabe was a healthy, bright eyed boy. They found him dead in his bedroom in Springfield on Sunday.

Blake told us, “We've definitely taken good care of our kids."

Blake and Jen are being investigated for their son's death and now court documents have been filed to keep them away from their nine-week-old daughter.

They said they have nothing to hide. Jen said, “Nothing at all."

After Gabe's death, Kaylee was taken to Project Harmony. Her parents say she checked-out as healthy and she was released to a family member. A day later, they say that family member checked Kaylee into Children's Hospital.

The court documents claim Kaylee had a urinary tract infection, was underweight, and had a broken wrist.

When asked if they had hurt their daughter, both Blake and Jen said, “No.” When asked if they had ever hurt their son, both again told us, “No.” Blake added, “We didn't even like putting him in time out."

Kaylee's parents and Sarpy County investigators were told Wednesday - three days after Gabe's death - that Kaylee's wrist was broken. Blake has his own theory on how that happened and the parents say there were no signs of this at all.

“She was moving her arms, moving her wrists, grabbing onto fingers," Jen said.

The court documents also claim that Kaylee is underweight and cite the fact that the night Gabe died, Jen hadn’t fed her for 10 hours.

Jen said, “That night, she just slept through the whole night. She did not wake up at all for a bottle."

When asked if their pediatrician had told them to wake up Kaylee and feed her or said the child was underweight, Jen said, “No, never.”

Blake and Jen say they are frustrated that prosecutors didn't come to them with their concerns instead of filing public documents against them.

Blake said, “It makes it very hard to grieve and do things you're supposed to do when you have to be so concerned with whether people who have no idea who we even are, are judging us."

And after they bury their son, they will begin their fight for their daughter.

“We are going to fight them to the bone. I'm not backing down," Jen said.

Blake contacted us Thursday night saying Kaylee had been released from the hospital to the care of a family member.

Sarpy County Attorney Lee Polikov said they are still investigating the parents and will decide if criminal charges will be filed.



Wednesday, May 28
There is a new twist in the story of a Springfield, Nebraska couple preparing for the funeral of their young son. Court documents allege their infant daughter lacks proper parental care. It will all be sorted out in juvenile court.

At the age of 22 months, Gabriel Tierney was found dead in his bedroom on Sunday. His parents, Blake, 23, and Jennifer, 21, are preparing to bury him Friday.

“Our investigator told us there was just nothing that we could have done even if we were there when it actually happened,” Jennifer said.

Gabe's parents sat down with us Tuesday night to talk about Gabe’s death while their daughter Kaylee was in the hospital.

Jennifer told us, "There are points where I break down and I just cry."

But for Jen and Blake it is just the beginning. On Wednesday, paperwork was filed in juvenile court against them on behalf of their baby girl.

Kaylee is nine-weeks-old. Her parents told us that shortly after Gabe died she spiked a high fever. They took her to the hospital with what they say turned out to be a urinary tract infection.

According to court documents filed Wednesday, Kaylee also has a broken right wrist and is underweight.

Kaylee's parents sent us photos of her Wednesday night saying she is healthy. Blake and Jen say they are furious this happening while they are preparing to bury their son.

Sarpy County Attorney Lee Polikov said it's important to remember that juvenile court is civil. They aren't being charged with anything criminal at this point.



Tuesday, May 27
Gabe Tierney went to bed and never woke up. The youngster’s parents open up about losing the little boy they loved so much.

Gabe Tierney

The video of the youngster is precious: baby Gabe, learning to crawl and taking his first steps. Now that precious boy is gone.

“It all just feels like a bad dream."

Blake and Jennifer's entire world was turned upside down this past weekend after a wonderful day with their family.

Gabe’s mom, Jennifer Hatfield, said, “I got him dressed and ready for bed. He took one sip of his milk and after that he just rolled over and went to sleep."

Gabe never got up the next morning.

Blake said when he went in to check on him, “I thought he was sleeping. Then I noticed how blue he was around the side of his ribcage and the back of his neck. When I found him, his nose was bloody and he was in the same position as when Jen laid him down. I got down on my knees and grabbed him and asked him to wake up."

Gabe never opened his eyes.

Blake yelled for Jen to call 911 and paramedics rushed to the scene.

“Carried him out into the living room and held him until EMTs got there."

Two months shy of his second birthday, Gabe Tierney left this world.

“My little boy is gone. He's not going to be back."

Gabe's parents were cleared by police. The autopsy showed Gabe died of a seizure, erasing any of their fears that they could have done anything to save him.

“To hear them say you didn't, it definitely helped a lot."

And now, with their family by their side, they are planning his funeral - a final goodbye to the bright blue-eyed boy they adored.

“His name was Gabriel and that means guardian angel. And I believe that is what he is now."

Gabriel’s baby sister was admitted to Children’s Hospital Monday with an unrelated medical condition. Jennifer and Blake have been planning a funeral and spending their free time at Children’s.

Gabe’s family has a Web page where you can leave them a comment or make a donation. Click here to visit.


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