Gag order rescinded

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KAILUA-KONA — A family court judge has rescinded a gag order in the case involving 3-year-old Fabian Garett-Garcia, who died while in foster care last month.

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KAILUA-KONA — A family court judge has rescinded a gag order in the case involving 3-year-old Fabian Garett-Garcia, who died while in foster care last month.

On Tuesday, Keupo Reelitz, public information officer and communication specialist for the Department of Human Services, confirmed the recall of the gag order. However, the court granted that all parties involved in the case continue to comply with the confidentiality provisions in Chapter 587A-40, which states all information and court records with regard to the Child Protective Act may only be shared by the court.

Fabian was pronounced dead at North Hawaii Community Hospital in Waimea on July 25. According to police, officers responded to the foster home in Waimea where the child was not breathing.

Hawaii Police Department Maj. Robert Wagner said the foster parents gave police an indication of what happened to the toddler throughout the day. However, details of anyone’s statements are not being released due to the ongoing investigation.

Authorities are still waiting for the state medical examiner’s office to determine cause of death.

Attorney Jeffrey Foster represents the toddler’s parents, Sherri-Ann Garett and Juben Garcia. He said he plans to file a reconsideration of the order to comply.

“They don’t need an order to compel compliance with the law — the law is already there,” Foster said.

In the past, Garcia spoke to Honolulu-based TV station KHON2 about the incident telling them Fabian and two other children were removed from their home in August 2016 due to his drug use. Included in the report, Garcia said officials told him his son was wearing some type of virtual reality glasses and had fallen about 4 feet.

In a moment of grief, Foster said, Garett made a Facebook post. Since then, he said all communication with media is going through his office. They are in compliance with the law.

Foster said the original gag order was the most overbroad and overreaching order he had ever seen.

“I consider it unconstitutional,” he said. “I think it’s a deprivation of my clients’ right to free speech.”

Family court’s primary concern is the child.

“Family court has the best interest of everyone involved, especially the child,” Reelitz said.

Right now, Foster said, the family’s sole focus is to get more information about Fabian’s death.

Garett and Garcia did release the following statement through Foster:

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“We are deeply saddened by the tragic death of our son, Fabian Garett-Garcia. We are grateful for the outpouring of support and aloha from our ohana and our Big Island community. At this time, we have very little information about how Fabian died or the events and circumstances leading up to his death. If anyone has any information, we ask that you come forward and contact Detective Carrie Akina with the Hawaii County Police Department and/or our attorney, Jeffrey Foster. Any information is greatly appreciated. Thank you.”

Foster is asking anyone with possible information about Fabian’s death send a tip to the email justice4fabian@gmail.com.

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