Family seeking answers on Autistic son's head injury

Family seeking answers on Autistic son's head injury

TUSCUMBIA, AL (WAFF) - A Tuscumbia family gets a frantic call that their autistic son, they entrusted in the care of others is in the hospital with a severe head injury.

No one can or will tell them how it happened, except that it happened at a Decatur facility for the disabled and now they're asking WAFF 48 and Decatur Police to investigate.

Pictures show the head wound on 22-year-old Stephen Garner that needed multiple stitches. His family gets a call from the emergency room stating,: "There had been an incident at the daycare program that he attends," said Diane Garner, Mother.

And for days now, that's pretty much all they've been told. The thing is, Stephen Garner maybe the only person who really knows what happened, but Stephen can't talk, his severe autism prevents him for speaking.

The Garner family only knows that this so-called incident involving their son happened here, at the Decatur Day Program run by the Centers for the Developmentally Disabled of North Central Alabama or CDD, a non-profit that provides services for individuals who are developmentally challenged.

"What's most frustrating is because there are no answers coming. I mean none."  "I think he was assaulted," said Diane Garner.

The family believes they've been down this road before where in 2013, Stephen was beaten by a staff member at his former group home.

The family pressed charges and that person was eventually convicted of assault and sentenced to probation.

This time, his primary care providers only had this to say when asked.

"Why does my brother look like this? Well we don't know what happened. How can you not know what has happened, isn't he supposed to be in someone's care 24/7," said Amelia Garner, Sister.

The family says they didn't hear from CDD administration until days after the incident.

We contacted CDD and the Director did confirm they are currently conducting their own internal investigation at the Day Program.

And that a staff member has been placed on administrative leave while they get to the bottom of what happened because they take pride in serving their clients.

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