Florida Department Of Children & Families Weighs Decision On Boy Injured In Fire

A 13-year-old boy has fully recovered from the house fire that took the lives of four of his siblings and severely injured his mother.

The boy, Robertson Auguste, could have been released from Miami Children's Hospital on Tuesday but will likely remain there until Thursday while the state Department of Children & Families investigates if he can be temporarily placed with a stepfather.

At an afternoon hearing, Miami-Dade Dependency Court Judge Cindy Lederman told DCF officials that she would allow the father of one of his siblings to care for the boy as his mother recovers as long as the man' background check comes back clean and the boy's guardian ad litem agrees with the placement.

Lederman asked that officials make arrangements so that the boy, an eighth-grader at Hialeah Middle School, could continue to attend the school.

"He's had a tremendous trauma," she said. "I'd like to minimize the trauma in his life."

Lederman said the boy could also be allowed to visit his mother at Jackson Memorial Hospital, where she remains in critical but stable condition.

But even if Marie Auguste, 43, recovers it is not certain that she will be able to get her surviving son back.

Child welfare officials will not decide whether Auguste can keep custody of her son until investigators determine the cause of Sunday's fire, according to Chuck Hood, DCF district administrator in Miami.

So far, investigators have been able to determine that the fire, which started in the living room, was not caused by an electrical problem, said Hialeah police spokesman Frank Gonzalez.

But officials won't know the exact cause for a few more days until their lab work comes back.

Four children -- Dwight Auguste, 17, Kayla St. Fort, 12, Rose Jean Joseph, 6, and Joanne Auguste, 6 months -- were killed in the blaze early Sunday morning.

Detectives have not been able to speak with the children's mother because Auguste is unresponsive. Doctors inserted a breathing tube into her throat and she has burns on 20 percent of her body.

Her 19-year-old son, Conrad Auguste, who is stationed with the U.S. Army in Italy, flew home to South Florida to be with his younger brother. Lederman also wants to grant the 19-year-old unsupervised visits with his brother.

Staff Writer Madeline Bar

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