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State agency made multiple home visits before child’s death

June 27, 2021 GMT

OREGON, Ill. (AP) — Child welfare investigators made nearly a dozen visits over two years to the northern Illinois home of a mother who’s been charged in the death of her 7-year-old son, according to a newspaper report.

Nathaniel Burton of Oregon was suffocated in February. An autopsy showed the child also suffered a ruptured liver.

His mother Sarah Safranek was charged with five counts of first-degree murder and one count of aggravated battery to a child. She pleaded not guilty last month. The 34-year-old woman was on $2 million bond at Ogle County Jail.

Sauk Valley Media, citing records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, reported that Burton was 4 when the first suspicions of abuse were reported in 2018.


Investigators with the Department of Children and Family Services made nearly 12 visits and followed up on five separate reports of suspected neglect and abuse to both Burton and his two older half-sisters. They agency did not find indications of parental wrongdoing and closed the cases.

Investigators made the final home visit at the time of the child’s death in February.