1. Archive

Child's death to be investigated again

Published Oct. 16, 2005

Eight months ago officials said 2-month-old Dennis Daniel Flournoy died from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Now, they aren't so sure. Officials with the state Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services (HRS) said Thursday that they have reopened the investigation into Flournoy's death.

"We had some concerns from the very start in this case," HRS spokesman Tom Jones said Thursday.

The infant's body may be exhumed from a Tampa cemetery. Assistant State Attorney Hank Lavandera said HRS' request that the infant's body be exhumed comes under a Florida statute that allows exhumation if officials suspect the cause of death might be a criminal act.

Tampa police spokesman Steve Cole said a Tampa homicide detective was contacted Thursday and told that a Tallahassee medical examiner had taken a second look at records and photographs involving Flournoy's death. That second look led to HRS' request that the boy's body be exhumed.

Dennis Flournoy was found dead in his crib about noon June 12. His mother, Geri Lou Bowers, told detectives that she put the baby to bed the night before about 3 a.m. Before going to bed, the child was not ill and appeared "awake and playful," according to police records. Two witnesses who were with the mother that night also said the infant was in good health.

Bowers said she woke up about 10 a.m., but did not check on her son until noon, because it was not unusual for him to sleep a long time. When she checked, the infant was not moving or breathing.

When police officers arrived, the infant was lying on a urine-soaked crib mattress that had mildew and mold on it, the report said.

The infant had no visible injuries, and after an autopsy, Associate Medical Examiner Charles A. Diggs ruled that the baby died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.