N.J. settles child welfare suit involving boy whose decomposed remains were found in basement

Saturday, November 11th 2006, 5:48 pm
By: News On 6

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) The state has paid $7.5 million to settle a lawsuit over a botched child welfare case in which a 7-year-old boy's decomposed remains were found in a basement storage bin, a newspaper reported Saturday.

The Division of Youth and Family Services payout is second only to a $12.5 million settlement last year with four brothers who were deprived of food and medical care by their adoptive parents, The Star-Ledger of Newark reported.

The discovery in January 2003 of Faheem Williams' body prompted a public outcry and overhaul of the child welfare agency.

The lawsuit was quietly settled last year, with the state paying the money after the turn of the fiscal year in July. The settlement gives $1 million to the boy's estate. His twin, Raheem Williams, 11, gets $2.75 million, and half brother Tyrone Hill Jr., 8, gets $3.75 million. The two boys are in foster care.

The state had investigated abuse complaints involving Faheem Williams but closed the file 11 months before his body was found in the basement of an apartment rented by his older cousin, Sherry L. Murphy. The boy's brothers were found sick and emaciated in an adjacent room.

Murphy's teenage son, Wesley, had pleaded guilty to reckless manslaughter, admitting that he killed Faheem while doing a wrestling move. He has since served his time. Sherry Murphy admitted she left the boy's body on the floor, then put it in a plastic hamper. She's serving a 25-year prison sentence.

There was still some question of whether the boys' mother, Melinda Williams, will have access to the money. A judge ended her parental rights last summer.