FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) – An update to our investigation into the tragic death of 8-year-old JaeLuv Smith, his birth mother is now suing Fresno County in a wrongful death lawsuit.

JaeLuv was found dead from blunt force trauma in April of 2021 and his guardians were arrested for murder and felony child abuse.

Fresno County is now being sued along with two social workers.

According to documents from Child Protective Services, JaeLuv Smith was found with marks around his wrists, ankles, and neck.

There were signs of several fractures and a BB was found lodged in his thigh.

We requested CPS records and his file turned out to be 104 pages long.

Photo of JaeLuv Smith.

The director of Fresno County Department of Social Services admitted there were inconsistencies in the report.

Now, the law firm that is taking on the case wants someone to be held accountable.

“We filed a claim on behalf of JaeLuv’s estate for the pain and suffering he went through before his death,” Roger Booth, Booth Law Firm, said.

The County of Fresno is being sued for wrongful death damages over its handling of JaeLuv Smith’s prior CPS investigations.

There were two prior referrals investigated by the county.

The lawsuit points to these investigations as opportunities to have saved JaeLuv.

“If something would have been done at that point there’s a good chance JaeLuv could have been saved,” Booth said.

The lawsuit states “The County of Fresno violated various mandatory duties and is therefore liable.”

In the first CPS investigation in 2016, JaeLuv was four years old.

The lawsuit claims social services “Failed to interview the person reporting the abuse, as well as JaeLuv’s biological mother and grandmother, both of whom were referenced as having knowledge of the abuse.”

And in both case investigations, the guardians who were the alleged abusers were present when the social workers interviewed JaeLuv.

In the 2020 CPS investigation, a mandated reporter stated JaeLuv was at school with a swollen hand.

JaeLuv told the principal he was hit with a hanger. The records also state he also was limping.

The top of his left foot was black and blue. This investigation was opened and closed in less than one week.

“That was it,” Booth said. “They closed their file and walked away and we concluded that was a grossly inadequate investigation.”

Photo of JaeLuv Smith.

Booth is suing two social workers involved in JaeLuv’s case along with Fresno County.

“When they walked away, JaeLuv was on his own without any ability to protect himself,” Booth said.

Booth says there needs to be accountability and this lawsuit paves the way for justice in civil court.

The criminal phase of the case is ongoing.

Patrick Johnson and Crystal Johnson, charged in JaeLuv’s death, are still awaiting trial, due back in court on April 14th.

Two local state senators are also reviewing files we sent them regarding JaeLuv’s case to see if anything can legally change to help better protect our children and prevent tragedies.

We will continue to follow and care about JaeLuv’s story.