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New court docs allege DCS director was aware of child 9 months prior to 2021 death

Judah Morgan of LaPorte County was tortured, beaten and killed on October 11, 2021 after Judah was placed with his birth parents.
Newly filed court records allege the current DCS director Eric Miller knew about Judah Morgan prior to Judah’s 2021 death.
Posted at 4:04 PM, Sep 28, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-28 18:22:08-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Newly filed court documents raise new questions about the Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS) prior involvement and response to the death of a 4-year old boy.

Judah Morgan of LaPorte County was tortured, beaten and killed on October 11, 2021.

His birth father, Alan Morgan, was convicted of murdering Judah.

Newly filed court records allege the current DCS director Eric Miller knew about Judah Morgan and his foster mom Jenna Hulett prior to Judah’s 2021 death.

At the time, Miller was serving as Chief of Staff for the agency and received “multiple emails” in December 2020, more than 9 months prior to Judah’s torture and murder, read a document filed Wednesday by Hullett’s attorney Charles Rice.

Miller took the stand Monday in a civil case filed by Hullett against Alan Morgan.

DCS is not a party to the lawsuit.

Six months before Judah’s death, DCS removed Judah from foster care and placed him with his biological parents despite concerns about abuse.

When Director Miller testified Monday, he was unclear on when he became aware of Judah’s case.

(The following are excerpts from Miller’s testimony.)

  • HULLETT’S ATTORNEY: When did you first hear the name Judah Morgan?
  • MILLER: I can’t remember the specific date, sir.
  • HULLETT’S ATTORNEY: It’s been since February of 2023 that the subpoena was served on the department, correct?
  • MILLER: Yes sir.
  • HULLETT’S ATTORNEY: And did you become aware of that subpoena after it was served?
  • MILLER: Yes sir.
  • HULLETT’S ATTORNEY: So you knew the name Judah Morgan then? In February of 2023, correct?
  • MILLER: I don’t recall the specific date that I learned the name.
  • HULLETT’S ATTORNEY: Your department has an annual listing of all childhood fatalities that gets submitted on an annual basis. Correct?
  • MILLER: Yes sir.
  • HULLETT’S ATTORNEY: And do you review that before it is released?
  • MILLER: I do review it yes.
  • HULLETT’S ATTORNEY: Because that’s important to know about the children in Indiana who died from abuse and neglect. Correct?
  • MILLER: Yes.
  • HULLETT’S ATTORNEY: In fact that’s the most important part of your job, is to keep children safe, correct?
  • MILLER: There are many important parts of my job.
  • HULLETT’S ATTORNEY: You think there’s anything more important to your job than keeping children safe in the state of Indiana?
  • MILLER: Our number one priority is the safety of children.

DCS attorneys said Monday the agency has now turned over 130,316 total pages of records after reviewing more than a million documents.
Hullett’s attorney filed a document Wednesday that says the newly produced documents reveal Eric Miller received emails about Judah Morgan before and after his death.

“Additional review shows that then-Director of DCS Terry Stigdon was involved in damage control efforts related to Judah Morgan’s death,” read the court filing.

WRTV Investigates can’t view the emails because they’re marked as confidential exhibits in the lawsuit.

In a response to the court filed Thursday, DCS called the attorney’s comments about Stigdon a “gross mischaracterization” that “perpetuates a false narrative in the public square.”

DCS also said Thursday Director Miller’s testimony on Monday was “accurate and consistent with DCS’s production” of records.

(The following are excerpts from Miller’s testimony on Monday)

  • HULLETT’S ATTORNEY: Would it be fair to say you've received emails in your position as director and chief of staff which mention the name Judah Morgan?
  • MILLER: At a minimum, I would have received the child fatality report.
  • HULLETT’S ATTORNEY: At any point did you raise your hand or instruct people who work for you, make sure and include my emails?
  • MILLER: What I said is I wanted to make sure all discovery was provided. That’s what we are required to do and that’s why we have a staff of attorneys and non-attorneys who work on courtroom issues including discovery. I would not be aware of my email being searched, but I would expect my email to be searched if I had documents.
  • HULLETT’S ATTORNEY: Sir are you aware of the basic chronology of Judah Morgan's death?
  • MILLER: Sir, I'm not involved in the day-to-day details of the agency so I wouldn't have the chronology.
  • HULLETT’S ATTORNEY: We know you have documents. Right sir?
  • MILLER: I don't know that I have documents. I know I have heard the name Judah Morgan.
  • HULLETT’S ATTORNEY: You concede that you've received emails regarding Judah Morgan? Correct?
  • MILLER: I have not searched that. We have a team of people who search for discovery who would go and get all of our emails. I would not be involved in that detail of producing discovery.

WRTV Investigates reached out to DCS for a comment, but a spokesperson declined to comment on pending litigation.
WRTV Investigates reached out to Terry Stigdon for comment and we are still waiting to hear back.

She is no longer with DCS.