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Hennepin County settles for $1.5M in fatal hanging of 6-year-old foster child

Kendrea Johnson died in Brooklyn Park in December 2014.

Hennepin County has settled a lawsuit over the death of a child in foster care for the sum of $1.5 million.

Six-year-old Kendrea Johnson was found hanging by a jump rope from her bunk bed in her Brooklyn Park foster home in December 2014.

While the investigation into her death was inconclusive as to whether it was accidental or suicide, her biological family has always argued she killed herself.

Her grandmother, Mary Broadus, brought a federal lawsuit against several organizations and individuals involved in Johnson's death, including her foster mother, but all except the case against Hennepin County was dropped.

She had argued that her granddaughter had well-documented mental health needs, including suicidal thoughts, but accused those responsible for her care of ignoring her threats of suicide.

While she had sued Hennepin County for $20 million, her attorneys told KSTP that the $1.5 million settlement represents "one of the highest settlements against a government entity in Minnesota on claims involving the deliberate indifference to the welfare of a foster child."

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In a statement sent to Bring Me The News, Hennepin County said: "Any loss of life is tragic, but the loss of someone so young is especially tragic."

"We are here to protect children - and we do that every day. We take that charge very seriously. However, in light of the significant costs and uncertainties, settling this lawsuit was in the best interest of all the parties involved."

Johnson had been placed in foster care in 2013, after her mother was accused of drug abuse and failure to keep to an agreed protection plan, the Star Tribune reported at the time.

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