Baby dies in foster care, foster dad charged with murder

A baby in foster care has died and one of his foster parents is now charged in the child's murder. Investigators say the one-year-old boy suffered burns from a scalding bath. His foster father, David Marcussen, turned himself in on Friday after being indicted by a grand jury.

Marcussen and his wife began caring for Ka'ron Mason when the infant was placed in their home in July 2014. To neighbors, the family's Fredericksburg house seemed like any other.

"He played with his kids. You know he was a normal parent. You wouldn't think anything like this would happen," said Mary Sobrilsky, who often saw the family outside.

The Stafford County Sheriff's Office received a report in January that the boy, who was 11 months old at the time, had been brought to the hospital with burns to his face, torso and neck. The investigation found that the burns came from a bath Marcussen gave him. Ka'ron died February 1, after his first birthday.

The investigation was turned over to a grand jury. Friday, the 33-year old foster father was indicted on charges of felony murder, involuntary manslaughter, cruelty to children and child neglect.

No one at the family's house answered the door on Wednesday. According to a statement from the Fredericksburg Department of Social Services, Ka'ron had been placed with the family "after the foster parents passed the stringent selection and training criteria required."

"I honestly didn't know they did foster care," said Brandi Barrett, whose daughter used to babysit for the family. "She said they were great. They were very nice. Kids-- she loved the kids. They were friendly. She had no problem babysitting for them at all."

Neighbors say the family had at least two young kids of their own. Ka'ron was placed with the Marcussens after a judge removed him from his parents shortly after birth. The judge determined it was in his best interest to be placed in foster care.

In the wake of his death, the Fredericksburg Department of Social Services said it was "saddened by the tragic death of Ka'ron. Our thoughts and prayers are with Ka'ron's family and loved ones." Once any criminal or administrative hearings are complete, the state's Child Fatality Review Team will conduct its own examination of the case.

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