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Alabama DHR being sued in connection to a 3-year-old’s death

The lawsuit also targets individual caseworkers who allegedly failed in their roles to prevent the abuse and neglect Aydah suffered.

Aydah Grace DiMaso Aydah DiMaso Memorial Fund

Last week, a lawsuit was filed against the Alabama Department of Human Resources (DHR) for its alleged role in the death of Aydah Grace Dimaso, who was 3 years old. 

The lawsuit also targets individual caseworkers who allegedly failed in their roles to prevent the abuse and neglect Aydah suffered. The lawsuit leaves these individuals unidentified however, and refers to them as “fictitious defendants.”

Aydah’s father Nikolas Dimaso and his girlfriend, Haley Metz, are named in the lawsuit for abusing and neglecting Aydah. The lawsuit states that Dimaso confessed to physically abusing Aydah including “forcefully slamming her to the ground and kicking her in the stomach.”

“DHR Defendants breached their mandatory duty owed to Aydah,” the lawsuit read, “by allowing her to remain in the “unsafe environment” exposed to ongoing abuse and/or neglect, which proximately caused her death. At all material time, DHR Defendants and Fictitious Defendants were working within the line and scope of their employment and their actions and/or inactions were negligent, wanton, willful, malicious, fraudulent, in bad faith, beyond their authority and/or under a mistaken interpretation of the law.”

Aydah was found unresponsive in a bathtub by Gadsden Police on Oct. 4, 2021. An investigation determined that Aydah has been deceased for an extended period of time and had old and new bruises on her body. Metz told Dimaso to put Aydah’s body into the bathtub thinking it would keep her body warm.

Prior to Aydah’s death the lawsuit states that their were several previous complaints that DHR was involved and the defendants knew about detailing the abuse and neglect of Aydah by Dimaso and Metz. The complaints detailed Dimaso’s drug use, alleged neglect and abuse, Dimaso neglecting Aydah and Aydah forced to live in unsanitary conditions among animal feces and urine.

Aydah Grace DiMaso

Since Aydah’s death both Metz and Dimaso were charged. Dimaso is awaiting trial facing Capital Murder and Conspiracy to Commit Aggravated Child abuse charges. Metz was charged with Aggravated Assault and Conspiracy to Commit Aggravated Assault and is also awaiting trial.

Aydah’s estate is being represented by Tommy James of Tommy James Law and Jeremy Knowles of Morris Haynes.

“This case represents an egregious failure of the system that is supposed to protect our most vulnerable children,” said attorney Tommy James. “Aydah’s death could and should have been prevented. We are seeking justice for Aydah and accountability for those whose conduct resulted in her tragic death.”

Patrick Darrington is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected].

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