Dead 10-year-old "hadn't seen doctor in six years"

Curtis Powell
Curtis Powell

UPDATE THURSDAY 10AM: THE ROCKHAMPTON mother of 10-year-old Curtis Powell, whose tragic death yesterday resulted in the arrest of his auntie Jodie Maree Powell and her partner James Colin Burnham, has spoken out about the ordeal. 

Curtis was in the care of his mother, Rockhampton woman Kristie Anne Powell, until he was three.

Jodie Maree Powell was appointed as carer for Curtis in 2008. 

Kristie yesterday told ABC Capricornia Curtis was a lovely boy with big brown eyes, a lovely smile, was cuddly, affectionate and had a caring little soul. 

She said she hoped the truth surrounding his tragic death would be revealed in court. 

"He was a special boy," Ms Powell told the ABC. 

"Let it come out, it will in the end anyway."

INITIAL: SENIOR private hospital nurse is facing a manslaughter charge amid allegations she failed to seek medical help for her 10-year-old nephew before he died from pneumonia.

In the latest case to rock the Child Safety Department, it is alleged 43-year-old Jodie Maree Powell - who was appointed as carer for Curtis Powell, 10, in 2008 - did not take her nephew to a doctor for more than six years before his tragic death in July last year.

Details came to light yesterday when Powell made an unsuccessful bail application on manslaughter and child cruelty charges stretching between January and July last year, and interfering with a corpse.

Powell's partner, James Colin Burnham, 35, is charged with the same offences and will apply for bail next week.

The Brisbane Magistrates Court was told Powell was the head of infection control at the Mater Hospital with a bachelor's degree in ­nursing and postgraduate qualifications.

The hospital last night refused to answer any questions about her role, including whether she had been under any suspension following the boy's death.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Josh Kelly said family members called an ambulance after seeing the boy at his Mackenzie home on July 20 last year.

He had been vomiting and sick in bed that morning, but was not taken to see a doctor, Sgt Kelly said.

"Further to this, the deceased child had not received any medical treatment for any illness or injury since September 2010," he said, pointing to Medicare records.

Sgt Kelly said the child had injuries including to his back, groin and legs, possibly as a result of blunt-force trauma not attributable to an accident or child's play.

He said police located a fork in the house that tested positive for his blood.

Forensic police and detectives were called to the home where the body of a young boy was found.
Magistrate Penelope Hay denied bail and said the case was strong given Powell's nursing qualifications and the cause of death.

Meanwhile, the Department of Child Safety is conducting its own probe into its dealings with the family, in what had been considered a "very low-risk" case.

Child Safety Minister Shannon Fentiman yesterday issued a short statement confirming the child had been living with his aunt and uncle since he was a toddler.

"If the police allegations are true, this is a betrayal of care and responsibility by his aunt and uncle," she said.

It is understood the child had a caseworker tasked with regular visits and would have also been visited by the Office of the Public Guardian. But it Is not known how regularly these visits were taking place.

The pair were arrested yesterday after a coronial investigation recommended charges.

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