Five children removed from home where toddler was shot; all staying in same foster home

Experts say keeping them together adds stability
Posted at 5:33 PM, Mar 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-07 17:46:19-05

CINCINNATI -- Five children may have been taken from a West Price Hill home, but they're all together.

All were removed Monday after their sibling, a 17-month-old girl, suffered a gunshot wound in their home on Fehr Road.

The child is in stable condition, on a ventilator at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. A sibling found a gun in a shoebox that Cortez Reed, the victim's father, had left on the floor, Hamilton County prosecutors said in court Tuesday.

"(Their mother) stated that the 3-year-old must gave found the gun and shot the 1-year-old in the stomach," Assistant Prosecutor David Wood said.

Reed was in the process of moving back in after the children's mother, Katherine Miller, kicked him out a day earlier, prosecutors said.

Reed told police he was in the bathroom when his daughter was shot. Miller also said she didn't witness the shooting, and she said nothing in Hamilton County Juvenile Court during a custody hearing for her five children.

Magistrate Paul DeMott ordered those children -- four with Reed and one with a different father -- to be placed temporarily in the same foster home. The next hearing on their custody is March 23.

Tom Mellott, a court-appointed guardian assigned to look out for the children's best interest, said keeping them together adds some stability to their lives.

"The difficulty in any of these cases is that the children are taken care of, the children's needs are met," Mellott said. "Obviously, the factual circumstances behind the cases are always traumatic and always difficult."

Lighthouse Youth Services oversees 185 foster families for Hamilton County, and licensing supervisor Robyn Bastin applauded the court for keeping the children with one another.

"Not only does it help them feel safe and secure in their foster home, but it helps them mentally to feel safe that they have their sibling with them," Bastin said. "They're able to cope with a new school. It helps with their eating habits."

With crimes affecting children, Bastin said Lighthouse has had to change its approach.

"It's very difficult. We have families coming in out of the goodness of their heart to be foster families, so we are putting in place now more trauma-based, trauma-focused training for families to be able to help these children cope," Bastin said.

Reed was charged with endangering children, tampering with evidence, receiving stolen property and obstructing official business. He works as a tattoo artist and has no prior felony convictions, his attorney said in court Tuesday. His criminal record does show multiple domestic violence charges. He was ordered to stay away from all six of the children.