OREGON, Ill. (WTVO) — 7-year-old Nathaniel Burton was killed in February, and his mother was charged with his murder.
Now, Eyewitness News is learning that the Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) had been called to investigate claims of abuse, beginning in September of 2018 when Nathaniel was only four years old.
Investigators at the time found no visible signs of abuse or neglect against him or his two sisters.
DCFS wrote in their report, “The children were assessed as safe in the care of their mother, Sarah Safranek.”
DCFS was called again five months later, in February of 2019. Nathaniel’s siblings were listed as the victims. The report states that both had scratches and minor injuries, but told investigators the injuries were made by a cat, not their parents. The investigation was closed.
In April of 2019, another report was made against Safranek, but again, DCFS investigators found no signs of abuse or neglect, and closed the case.
In August of 2020, Safranek was once again investigated after a report was filed, but that investigation also yielded no visible signs of abuse or neglect on any of the children in the home.
Nathaniel was killed in February of 2021.
Oregon Police say officers responded to a 911 call, for a child who was not breathing, around 2:35 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 17 at a residence in the 400 block of South 10th Street.
Police say Nathaniel was taken to KSB Hospital in Dixon, where he was pronounced dead.
Sarah Safranek, 34, is charged with three counts of First Degree Murder of 7-year-old Nathaniel Burton. According to charging documents, Safranek suffocated Nathaniel.
One count alleges brutal and heinous behavior. One count alleges a cold, calculated, and premeditated manner, and one count of Aggravated Battery to a Child.
Her husband had filed an order of protection against Safranek a few weeks after the death of their son.
Safranek is being held in the Ogle County Jail, and is due back in court on July 28th.