A Delaware County couple charged with endangering the welfare of their one month old say they are good parents.
“It’s just we made one mistake by leaving them alone,” Burnie Frain said. “We regret it and we blame ourselves for it.”
Frain and his fiancé Jessica Bernales are accused of leaving their one month old daughter in her car seat unattended. She was attacked by the family’s ferrets. Frain and Bernales are intellectually disabled according to the Darby Police Department which investigated the case.
“This is the most horrific thing I’ve seen happen to a child in 45 years in this town,” Darby Police Chief Robert Smythe said. “These kids need to be protected.”
Frain and Bernales have five children and at least four of their kids have developmental disabilities, investigators said.
The NBC 10 investigators found Delaware County Youth and Child services were aware of the family, however it is unclear what level of assistance and monitoring was being offered before the ferret attack. State law prevents Delaware County officials from talking about the case specifically.
“It’s hard for me to believe that this intense a need, two parents with intellectual disabilities, at least four children with developmental disabilities, that there wasn’t some awareness of this family,” Ruth Landsman who runs the non-profit Parents Exchange said.
Parents Exchange connects parents and children with intellectual disabilities with public services.
“I would say there probably was some sort of failure but it’s very hard to know without knowing the specific circumstances of this case,” Landsman said.
The couple's baby is currently in stable condition.