NORTH PORT (FOX 13) - The Department of Children and Families has revealed new information about previous investigations involving the parents of deceased 9-week-old Chance Walsh, including that investigators have removed seven children from Chance's father's custody over the years.
In a statement to FOX 13, DCF Secretary Mike Carroll wrote, "The murder of Chance Walsh is absolutely heartbreaking. Although DCF did not have any prior investigation involving Chance, we have had multiple past interactions with Joseph Walsh, including the removal of seven children from his custody."
Carroll also said in the wake of Chance's death, the agency is immediately beginning an internal review of their contact with the family.
"The review will include all the interactions that Joseph Walsh and Kristen Bury have had with the agency to determine what, in addition to the previous removal of all children in Mr. Walsh's custody, could have been done to prevent this tragedy," wrote Carroll.
The new information revealed by DCF comes as FOX 13 has discovered more about the death of another child born to Bury and Walsh.
According to North Port Police criminal investigative records, the couple's son, Duane Walsh, died suddenly in April 2014. Police reports indicate that Walsh and Bury told investigators Duane was fussy and had thrown up a bottle. They went to sleep with the two-week-old and awoke to find him not moving.
The Medical Examiner ruled Duane's death natural and attributed it to a kidney infection. Despite the autopsy that showed the child had deformed ribs, the ME noted it did not appear to be trauma related.
The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office has called Bury and Walsh the only persons of interest in the death of Chance Walsh. Given that information, the ME's office says it may re-open the investigation into the death of the couple's first child.
Thursday, detectives searched an area near Wylam Dr. & English Cir. after receiving a tip of a possible location of baby Chance, who was last seen in September. Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight was emotional during a news conference Thursday afternoon announcing they recovered the body of an infant they believed to be the missing infant.
According to deputies, Kristen Bury and Joseph Walsh lied to them about what happened to their son.
The couple told deputies several stories, including that Chance was killed in a car crash in South Carolina, and another that he was dropped off with a woman in Georgia.
Both were found to be untrue.
Walsh, 36, and Bury, 32, were being held in South Carolina on $150,000 bond, but were expected to be extradited to back to Sarasota County.