DAYTON — The I-Team has uncovered new information in Takoda Collins’ wrongful death lawsuit filed against Montgomery County.
County leaders still have to formally approve a financial settlement with the little boy’s estate.
Monday night, WHIO was the first to report a $3.25 million settlement.
Takoda Collins was just 10-years-old when prosecutors say his dad murdered him after years of daily abuse in his own home.
McLean’s girlfriend, Amanda Hinze, and her sister, Jennifer Ebert are accused of knowing about the abuse but doing nothing to stop it.
The I-Team has been following the case surrounding Takoda Collins’ death for nearly 18 months now.
Public officials, like Montgomery County Prosecutor Mat Heck and Ohio State Rep. Phil Plummer have confirmed what the News Center 7 I-Team first uncovered and reported in February 2020: that a lack of communication between multiple public agencies involved in Takoda Collins’ welfare case led to a systemic failure that played a role in his death.
Collins’ estate is made up of his surviving family members. There is also an administrator of his estate. That’s a person who has stepped in and taken Collins’ place since he died. The administrator of the estate is now a legal representation of Collins and filed lawsuits on his behalf since he can no longer do that himself since his death.
Monday, the I-Team dug into who now decides who in the family gets the money involved in the settlement, especially since prosecutors say his own dad murdered him.
In the wrongful death lawsuit Takoda Collins’ estate filed against Montgomery County, the county, its commissioners and administrator, the county’s Children Services agency, that agency’s top two officials and seven other Montgomery County Children Services employees were all named as defendants.
After a seven-month legal battle, the lawyer representing the administrator of the estate says the two sides have reached a settlement.
“At this point, we’ve come to a financial resolution of $3,250,000,” said attorney Michael Wright.
But this is not a done deal yet. Montgomery County commissioners still have to formally approve the resolution. The I-Team reached out to the county for comment and a spokesman WHIO a statement from Montgomery County Administrator, Michael Colbert that said, “I have not yet presented anything to our commissioners in terms of an agreement, and until we have board of county commissioners approval, this is an ongoing legal matter.”
But Wright says the two sides have negotiated this financial resolution, and adds now, the final step will be for a Montgomery County probate judge to decide who from Collins’ estate gets how much of that more than three million dollars. “So mother, grandmother, you know siblings,” Wright said.
Here’s how Wright said that process will work: the administrator for the estate will fill out an application that recommends to the probate judge who they think should get the money. Then, that judge has the final say on approving the application and allocation of the money.
“There probably will be trusts that will be set up for the minors,” Wright said. “There may be trusts set up for the other next of kin, but ultimately that will be up to the probate court to approve the distribution.”
Many Channel 7 viewers have asked: will Takoda Collins’ dad, Al McLean, get any money?
Yes, McLean is family, but Montgomery County prosecutors also say he murdered his son.
Wright told the I-Team Tuesday McLean will not get anything from this settlement – saying McLean won’t be able to benefit from a death prosecutor’s say he caused.
McLean and Hinze have their trials in the fall in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court.
Ebert took a plea deal for her role in Collins’ death last year.
Meantime, Wright says he expects that probate hearing to happen in the next two months.
The I-Team will track that hearing and let you know what happens.
The Collins estate also has a second wrongful death lawsuit against Dayton Children’s Hospital. The estate filed that lawsuit in December.
That civil lawsuit is currently still pending.
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