Adams Couple Facing Charges in Death of Foster Child
The Berkshire District Attorney’s Office secured indictments of an Adams couple on charges of involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment of a child related to the death of infant Kristoff Zenopolous.
The court arraigned Matthew Tucker, 37, and Cassandra Barlow-Tucker, 37, on Thursday. Judge Mark Mason released them on personal recognizance with conditions that they follow requirements set by the Department of Children and Families. The court also approved a motion for the Berkshire District Attorney’s Office to share the investigation with the Office of the Child Advocate.
The 10-month old Kristoff was discovered deceased in his crib the morning of February 18, 2020. The Tuckers were Kristoffs’ foster parents.
Adams Ambulance Services pronounced the child dead on the scene. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office performed an autopsy.
Investigators determined that the infant showed visible signs of illness for two weeks preceding his death while in the care of his foster parents. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined that the infant died from complications from strep A, pneumonia, and the resulting build-up of pus in his lungs.
Prosecutors presented evidence that antibiotics routinely treat these underlying illnesses and that the Tucker’s failure to obtain medical care caused Kristoff to develop widespread infection and the significant buildup of fluid and a collapsed lung.
“I send my deepest condolences to Kristoff’s family who is devastated by this loss. His death was preventable and I thank the Grand Jury for their careful deliberation and returning these indictments so that my office may obtain justice for Kristoff,” District Attorney Andrea Harrington said. “I thank the investigators and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for their work on this heartbreaking case. We should never see another child in Massachusetts die because a caregiver failed to provide basic medical care.”
The Berkshire District Attorney’s Office Child Abuse Unit, the Massachusetts State Police Detective Unit assigned to the Berkshire District Attorney’s Office, Massachusetts State Police Crime Scene Services Section, and Adams Police Department investigated the death.
Berkshire District Attorney Andrea Harrington and Assistant District Attorney Stephanie Ilberg obtained the indictments from a Grand Jury in March.