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State

$45 million awarded estate of toddler killed in 2011

CHICAGO (AP) – The estate of a 2-year-old suburban Chicago boy who was beaten to death in 2011 was awarded $45 million by a Cook County jury this week.

The estate of Lavandis Hudson sued Lutheran Social Services of Illinois, alleging the nonprofit should not have given Marles Blackman custody of the child. Lavandis was taken into protective custody after his premature birth when cocaine was found in his system.

The boy's mother was charged with first-degree murder after an autopsy uncovered multiple blunt force trauma injuries. Court records show the case against Blackman is pending.

The lawsuit contended that despite Lutheran Social Services' failure to conduct a risk assessment and extensive contact with Blackman and Hudson, they reunited the pair.

In a statement, Lutheran Social Services says it grieves the death of Lavandis Hudson and continues to be vigilant in advocating for and protecting vulnerable children.

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