UPDATE: Family attorney speaks out in Carl DeBrodie wrongful death suit

2 years 2 months 2 days ago Wednesday, January 31 2018 Jan 31, 2018 Wednesday, January 31, 2018 3:54:00 PM CST January 31, 2018 in News
By: Annie Hammock, KOMU 8 Interactive Director, and Tyler Emery and Wesley Weglarek, KOMU 8 Reporters
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CALLAWAY COUNTY  - The mother of Carl Debrodie has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the supported living facility he disappeared from in April 2017.

DeBrodie's biological mother, Carolyn Summers, is suing 22 other defendants, including the Missouri Department of Mental Health and Callaway County Special Services.

Rudolph Veit is one of the attorneys working on the lawsuit, a part of Carson and Coil Law Firm based in Jefferson City.

“We decided to file because we thought it was time that we need to get some depositions and some people under oath so we can find out, under oath, from some of these people what happened.” Veit said. “We know this is a tragic event, we know these types of things do not happen without somebody being very, very careless at the minimum.”

DeBrodie was found encased in concrete in a storage facility in Fulton after a multi-day search. He had been living at Second Chance Homes when he was reported missing on April 17.  

Police believe DeBrodie, who had a mental disability and limited communication skills, was missing some time before it was reported.

The lawsuit claims all of the defendants failed DeBrodie by not providing him proper safety and care, along with trying to cover up the circumstances of his death.

“It’s a combination of the home violating all of their standards of care, and their trust and duties, but also those state and government employees who have a responsibility to him to do those certain acts,” Veit said.

Veit said now that the lawsuit has been filed, the process to get it to trial could take a “substantial time period.”

“This isn’t just a case about Mr. DeBrodie and his death, it’s a case about a system that failed and if nothing else, Mrs. Summers wants something done to find out why it failed, and we need to correct it.” Veit said. “We know what happened was wrong, we know it needs to be fixed, and we want to make sure it’s done right.”

The other defendants in the suit include:

  • Rachel Rowden, Operator of Second Chance Homes

  • Sherry Paulo

  • Callaway County

  • Callaway County Public Administrator’s Office

  • Karen Digh Allen

  • The state of Missouri

  • The Missouri Dept. of Mental Health, Division of Developmental Disabilities

  • Valerie Huhn, Dir. of the Missouri Dept. of Mental Health, Division of Developmental Disabilities

  • The Missouri Dept. of Mental Health, Division of Developmental Disabilities, Community Operations

  • Wendy Witcig, Deputy Dir. of the Missouri Dept. of Mental Health, Division of Developmental Disabilities, Community Operations

  • Marcy Volner, Assistant Dir. of the Missouri Dept. of Mental Health, Division of Developmental Disabilities, Central Region

  • The Missouri Dept. of Mental Health, Division of Developmental Disabilities, Central Missouri Regional Office

  • Wendy Davis, Dir. of the the Missouri Dept. of Mental Health, Division of Developmental Disabilities, Central Missouri Regional Office

  • Julie Kaufmann, Executive Dir. of Callaway County Special Services

  • John Doe 1

  • John Doe 2

  • John Doe 3

  • John Doe 4

KOMU 8 reached out to multiple defendants. Some didn’t reply, while others declined to comment.

[Editor's note: This story has been updated with reaction from the family attorney]

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