HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The military could soon face a $50 million lawsuit over the death of one child and the injuries caused to another allegedly by their parents, both sergeants in the Air Force.
Sgt. Caleb Humphrey and Sgt. Natasha Beyer face court martial in January on involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment charges linked to the treatment of their two children.
Their 5-month-old son, Grayson Beyer, died in May 2016. Their 9-day-old daughter, Aveline Beyer, was seriously injured in July 2017.
According to the claim, military doctors at Tripler Army Medical Center missed the signs of abuse during the autopsy of the boy: Multiple rib fractures and brain injuries. The court documents say military authorities concluded the boy died of an infection, related to herpes, despite “blunt force injuries of the head."
One year later, sister Aveline Beyer was also taken to the military medical center. She, too, had broken bones and brain damage.
“Tripler simply blew it, got it completely wrong,” said court-appointed special master Steve Lane.
Lane filed the claim because the statute of limitations for civil suits was approaching.
The claim allows six more months for a lawsuit to be filed and gives Lane access to records that will help in the investigation.
Lane says if doctors had done a better job before the boy’s death and then during the autopsy, the parents likely would have been arrested and the girl would have been taken into protective custody as soon as she was born.
“Missed the multiple broken bones and other signs of physical trauma. I’ve never seen a more egregious case of misdiagnoses," Lane said, "The great tragedy, of course, having done that nearly cost this little girl her life.”
Lane says the girl is in foster care and will likely need special attention for the rest of her life.