Foster mother gets almost 5 years in prison for aggravated abuse deceased toddler Delias

DR, the foster mother of the deceased toddler Delias from Hoorn, is sentenced to 4 years and 7 months in prison for seriously abusing her foster child. According to the court in Alkmaar, it has been proven that the fatal head and eye injury was deliberately inflicted. “She should have provided her foster child with a safe and protected home, but failed in an unimaginable way.”

Delias, 2 years and 8 months old at the time, is taken to the hospital on April 6, 2021 with sirens screaming. His pupils are dilated and his heart rate is so low that he is put on a ventilator in the ambulance.

Moments before, his foster mother calls 911 in a panic. She states that she found Delias in her backyard in Koedijk. Hanging with his head in the dog’s water bowl. When he lifted it, he would have made an unexpected movement, as a result of which he hit his head hard against the stone floor threshold. Since he is not responding to anything, she thinks he has ingested a lot of water.

Massive cerebral hemorrhage

The CT scan shows he has a subdural hematoma, a massive hemorrhage in his brain. After emergency surgery, he was transferred to the LUMC in Leiden. The doctors can’t do anything for him there. Treatment is stopped after two days. Delias dies on April 8, shortly after being taken off the ventilator. “I was allowed to change his diaper for the last time. His hands didn’t get warm anymore, no matter how hard I rubbed. Then I had to leave him there alone,” said his mother in tears during the hearing.

Not by accident

The pathological examination shows that Delias has traumatic abnormalities due to serious injury, with bruises in his head, eye sockets and haemorrhages in his retina.

According to the judge, it has been proven that the fatal injury was not accidental. “No medical cause has been found, there must have been considerable force exertion. You insist that you found him in a water bowl and dropped him, but a fall on a doorstep or in a drinking trough is too minor.”

The statement of the foster mother is therefore not considered credible. “Various explanations have been given about the hardness of the fall. The fact that he could not get out of the drinking trough independently is remarkable given his age. No fluid was found in his lungs, so a near-drowning cannot be explained.”

“Force may have been used with a blunt object or it may have been shaken violently”

Court of North Holland

It remains unclear what really happened that day. “It may have been forcefully used with a blunt object or it may have been shaken violently.” Another scenario is that he has been thrown down from a great height. “It can also be a combination,” says the judge.

No manslaughter

The court is not convinced that his foster mother deliberately wanted to take his life. Nor can it be established that she deliberately caused him serious injury.

According to the judge, it is certain that DR knew that her behavior could cause serious injury to Delias. She is accused of not taking responsibility for the violent violence. “The suspect was the only adult in the vicinity of Delias. The fatal injury could not have been inflicted by anyone other than the suspect. The care was entrusted to you, you leave his parents and loved ones with an intense sadness.”


Delias’ biological mother will receive compensation of 20,000 euros. His biological father asked for the same amount for so-called affection damage compensation, but he gets nothing. “You did not recognize Delias as your child and you had no authority over him. Nor did he grow up with you.” The court therefore finds this claim insufficiently substantiated.

While the verdict is being read, Delias’s foster mother constantly looks down with folded hands. Tears stream down her cheeks. Delias’ mother sits up and looks expectantly at the judge.


According to the court, only a long prison sentence is appropriate for the nature and seriousness of the offence. Because DR has been acquitted of manslaughter, it is lower than the OM originally demanded. Instead of eight years, she has to spend 60 months behind bars. “With deduction of the pre-trial detention, it amounts to an unconditional prison sentence of 4 years and 7 months.”

Delias’s relatives are the first to be asked to leave the room. His mother disagrees with the lower sentence. Neither does his grandmother. “My grandchild will never come back. You have it on your conscience, murderer!” She shouts to the foster mother as she walks away emotionally. She collapses crying, while her family and friends comfort her.

Because the judge considers the chance of recurrence to be very small, DR is allowed to await the appeal in freedom. A bitter pill for the relatives, responds lawyer Priya Soekhai. “His mother thinks it’s a measly punishment and disproportionate to what happened to Delias. Also because of the degrading aspects. Like that he was lying with his head in a dog bowl and because of the neglect and emaciation. All those bruises on his body screaming for an explanation.”

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