The jury in the wrongful death lawsuit involving an 11-year-old foster girl determined the Huron County Department of Job & Family Services and Huron County Commissioners should pay $600,000 to her estate.
Connre Dixon died after being stabbed to death during an Oct. 18, 2004 altercation with her foster father, Paul Efaw, in the shed of his Monroeville property. Efaw is serving three years in prison for voluntary manslaughter, a first-degree felony.
Willard attorney Jim Martin, who represented Dixon’s estate, said the eight-member jury’s decision sends a message to HCDJFS and the commissioners that children are the county’s “natural resources.”
“It shows the people of Huron County care more for the children of Huron County than the department of job and family services does,” he added.
Martin contended that HCDJFS ignored policies and procedures by improperly placing Dixon, who had been sexually abused by a cousin, at the Efaw home.
Evidence in the civil case, originally a part of a 1988 custody battle with Efaw’s first wife, showed Efaw reportedly defecated in a girl’s face as punishment. The Monroeville man also was accused of telling another child, after he put his finger through his zipper, to “play with his thing.”
HCDJFS Director Erich Dumbeck declined to comment.
One of the agency’s attorneys, Jim Jeffery, called the decision disappointing. He said a possible appeal to the 6th District Court of Appeals would be up to HCDJFS and the commissioners.