Native American family seeking answers in death of child in foster care

Anthony Cline died on November 13, 2022, while in foster care.
Anthony Cline died on November 13, 2022, while in foster care.(KTIV)
Published: May. 10, 2023 at 5:25 PM CDT
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MACY, Neb. (KTIV) - A family from the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska is searching for answers. Last year, a baby was removed from its family in Macy, Nebraska and was later placed in foster care in Council Bluffs, Iowa, where he died.

Whatever the cause of death, the family says it’s having a hard time getting answers.

Anthony Cline died on November 13, 2022, just after his first birthday. His great-grandmother says he’d been placed in foster care for about 10 months at the time of his death. The Council Bluffs Police Department says both the cause and manner of Cline’s death are “undetermined”.

“So like I said, we’ve got nothing in front of us to show what happened to Anthony,” said Jeanene Griffin, Cline’s great-grandmother.

The family believes bureaucracy has played a role as the investigation enters its sixth month.

Cline was first placed with a family member in Dakota Dunes, South Dakota, but ended up at a foster home in Council Bluffs Iowa, across state lines from his home in Nebraska.

Police say the death certificate was just signed on May 5, after an autopsy from the Iowa State Medical Examiner.

“And they’re taking forever to let us know what’s going on. We’ve got every right to know what’s going on with that little guy,” said Griffin.

Cline is now buried at a cemetery near Macy. The family says they are worried about the circumstances surrounding his death. But mostly, they just want an answer. A Council Bluffs police spokesperson says there’s no timeline for wrapping up the “death investigation.”

But the death was suspicious enough for police to take note.

Griffin says Children and Family Services told her they were placing the baby in Council Bluffs because the foster parent is half Native American. According to, child protective services must place a Native American foster child inside a Native American foster home, if possible.

For now, Cline’s family just has to wait.