Attorneys for Carl DeBrodie's biological mother, Carolyn Summers, said Wednesday that they filed a wrongful death lawsuit on her behalf in order to find out what truly happened to DeBrodie and prevent what happened to him from happening to another vulnerable member of society.
"One of our desires is that it does not happen to other people, and that this be a wake up call," said attorney Rudolph Veit. "We see it all the time... individuals with mental conditions, they're so easy to take advantage of and to ignore."
The lawsuit claims those involved in DeBrodie's care failed to provide for his safety and attempted to cover up the circumstances of his death. The claims include wrongful death, negligence, civil rights violations and civil conspiracy.
On April 17, Fulton police received a missing person’s report from Second Chance Homes. They quickly realized DeBrodie had been missing a lot longer than the Second Chance workers had reported.
A week later, his body was found in a storage facility encased in a box of cement.
According to court documents, the wrongful death lawsuit was filed against 23 defendants, including Second Chance Homes, its' operator Rachael Rowden and the Missouri Department of Mental Health.
The number of defendants could shrink based on the depositions.
"If they haven't done something wrong, we would like their names not to be part of it," said Veit. "We only want to get to those people who breached their duty in the care of Mr. DeBrodie."
Veit said that the investigation on the federal level with the U.S. Attorneys office was taking longer than they expected and they wanted to start getting answers. Veit and fellow Carson & Coil attorney Gabe Harris are working as a team on the case.
"We felt like if we filed now, most of their work will have been completed," said Veit. "We can start depositions and do thorough depositions and find out truly what happened in this case, putting people under oath."
Veit said they have a viable case, and right now, they just have to determine who was responsible for DeBrodie's death, and try to bring awareness to the whole system.
"While in a state-paid institution, because of the challenges in his life, he basically ended up in a concrete block," Veit said. "We know that's not supposed to happen, we know that his guardian should have checked on him and there are state regulations on how often his well-being was supposed to be checked and they were not."
The investigation continues but no criminal charges have been filed yet.