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Police: Welfare agency had reports on couple whose son died

WICHITA, Kan. — Child welfare authorities had received abuse reports about a Wichita couple whose 3-year-old son was found dead in a crib at their mobile home and a baby was found in critical condition, according to police.

Capt. Brent Allred provided no details Monday on the Kansas Department for Children and Families’ involvement with the family of Zaiden Javonovich, whom investigators believe had been dead for days before his body was found. The welfare agency, which has been under fire after other child deaths, declined to comment while it’s investigating the case.

Although welfare officials had received reports, police officers hadn’t received such reports before finding the child’s body Thursday while responding to a domestic disturbance at the home. Police encountered Zaiden’s parents — 28-year-old Patrick Javonovich and 22-year-old Brandi Marchant — as they walked back to the home.

Inside, officers found Zaiden’s body wrapped in a blanket in a crib. Allred said Zaiden suffered “obvious injuries,” but he didn’t elaborate.

Officers also found an injured 4-month-old boy, who was taken to a hospital in critical condition. Allred said the baby is improving.

“It’s shocking to see adults treat their kids in the way these two were treated,” Allred said. “It’s, I say, pathetic, because that’s what it is.”

The parents are jailed on $200,000 bonds on suspicion of first-degree murder and two counts of aggravated child endangerment. Police said the criminal case was presented to the district attorney’s office Monday afternoon.

A spokesman for the prosecutor didn’t immediately return a phone message Tuesday about whether Javonovich or Marchant had attorneys who could comment on their behalf.

The home, where the family had lived for a couple months, had food and no signs of drug use, police said. Allred said Marchant has two other children but doesn’t have custody of them. Javonovich has one other child who sometimes visits on weekends.

The Wichita area has seen several child abuse homicides. The victims include 3-year-old Evan Brewer, whose body was found encased in concrete, and 5-year-old Lucas Hernandez, whose body was found under a rural bridge months after he went missing.

The agency had extensive involvement with both children before their deaths. While campaigning last year, Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly repeatedly described problems in the child welfare system as among the most pressing the state faces. Lawmakers now are considering increasing funding to add more child welfare workers.

The Associated Press