An autopsy was unable to determine exactly how or when a 4-year-old Lincoln girl suffered the injuries that caused her death last July, according to her death certificate.

Brooklyn A. Maxwell died July 11 from septic shock and internal bleeding due to blunt-force trauma to her abdomen, Lancaster County Attorney Pat Condon wrote in the certificate. 

The certificate, filed recently with the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, provides the latest update in an ongoing Lincoln police investigation into the girl's death.

Brooklyn became unresponsive at Bryan East Campus and died just before 10 o'clock that night following attempts to revive her, according to court records. Her father, Barry Streater, had taken her there at about 8 p.m. with stomach pain, nausea and diarrhea.

Streater and Olivia Ross, Brooklyn's mother, told police she had been complaining and acting sick before they took her to the hospital.

A month after Brooklyn's death, the state took five other children out of Ross and Streater's Lincoln home, as the Lancaster County Attorney's Office grew concerned for their welfare, according to court records.

County prosecutors have kept the children out of their home since then, alleging the parents have been unable to explain how Brooklyn sustained her injuries.

Ross told police that Brooklyn said she jumped off the top of her bunk bed and hit her head two hours before she went to the hospital, court documents said.

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Ross and Streater in November pleaded no contest to allegations that they lacked proper parental care. They have only been allowed supervised visits for their children, who are in foster care.

The couple, along with Ross' eldest daughter, Destini Ross, appeared in Lancaster County Juvenile Court on Wednesday.

The three each had caretaker roles in the home at about the time of Brooklyn's death, according to court documents.

In court Wednesday, an attorney for Destini Ross, who is an adult, argued her client should be allowed to see her own child under less state supervision because she had moved out of Ross and Streater's home and the state had not presented any new evidence suggesting she was an unfit parent.

Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services attorney Jay Judds said the woman, like Ross and Streater, had not provided an adequate explanation for what happened to Brooklyn.

"The department is charged with the protection of children," Judds said. "We had a very concerning situation without an explanation. It's the department's job to be cautionary and to protect children."

The judge rejected Destini Ross' request, and said her case would be reviewed again later this year.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-2657 or rjohnson@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSRileyJohnson.


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