PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- The parents charged in the starvation death of their bedridden daughter have sued the city, alleging that the dangerous and reckless actions of several employees and contract workers contributed to her death.
The lawsuit outraged prosecutors, who have charged mother Andrea Kelly, 39, of Philadelphia, with the murder of Danieal Kelly. The 14-year-old with cerebral palsy died two years ago from malnutrition and severe, maggot-infested bedsores.
Danieal's father, Daniel Kelly of Darby, is charged with child endangerment. He did not live with the girl.
"I think it's an obscenity. I cannot imagine that people in that situation who did what they did to their own daughter are attempting to profit from it," Assistant District Attorney Ed McCann, head of the city's homicide unit, said.
Lawyers who filed the wrongful-death lawsuit this month said they did so to protect the interests of the victim's siblings. The suit seeks reimbursement for medical bills, funeral costs and other expenses.
"The parents are not seeking any money from this," attorney Brian Mildenberg said. "The potential beneficiaries are the brothers and sisters and the parents, but the parents may be disqualified by a conviction or a civil finding of abandonment."
The suit was filed in city court but later moved to federal court. Defendants include the city Department of Human Services, the state Department of Public Welfare, a behavioral health contractor and two now-fired city caseworkers who have been criminally charged in the case.
A separate suit filed on behalf of the girl's oldest sibling, 19-year-old Troy Washington, against similar defendants claims that he suffered "substantial mental pain" from his sister's death.