D.C. Superior Court Judge Evelyn E.C. Queen yesterday held a closed-door emergency hearing in the case of Brianna Blackmond, the 23-month-old District toddler who was taken out of foster care last month by Queen and returned to her mother's home, where she suffered fatal injuries last week.
Queen ordered that all parties not discuss any aspect of the case with the news media, according to several sources who were at the hearing. An official at PSI Family Services, which placed Brianna and an older sister with a foster family in June 1998, also said the agency had been ordered by the judge not to discuss the case.
Another hearing was set by the judge for later this month. Queen, through a staff member, declined to comment.
D.C. Executive Assistant Police Chief Terrance W. Gainer said yesterday that police are continuing to investigate the girl's death, which was ruled a homicide Saturday. Detectives from the 3rd Police District executed a search warrant at the the home of the child's mother in the unit block of Bates Street NW the same day.
"When you have this kind of child death, you naturally look at family members," Gainer said. "If you don't have someone cooperating or if the family members are exercising their constitutional rights to retain attorneys, that makes it more difficult."
On Dec. 23, Queen ordered Brianna and her sister returned to their mother, Charrisise Blackmond, who had failed in at least four earlier attempts to have her children returned to her. Queen's order came about a year after Blackmond was tried and found to have neglected her children, according to sources.
Authorities relented after Blackmond moved into the Bates Street home with another woman and her children and a city social worker approved the home. Two weeks later, Brianna was dead from a blow to the head, according to the autopsy.