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Judge rules Carl DeBrodie's former caretaker cannot collect damages in his death

31-year-old Carl DeBrodie's body was found encased in concrete in April of 2017. (File).

A Callaway County judge this week dismissed a wrongful death lawsuit against multiple state and county agencies filed by Carl DeBrodie's former caretakers, Mary and Bryan Martin.

The Martins took care of the developmentally disabled man from when he was a young boy until he reached adulthood. The Martin's filed the wrongful death lawsuit in Callaway County Court almost a year after DeBrodie's body was found encased in concrete inside of a storage unit in Fulton. DeBrodie was a resident of Second Chance Homes of Fulton, an independent living facility at the time.

Court records show the Martins tried to legally adopt DeBrodie in 2011. The courts ultimately denied them custody.

Court records show Tuesday, Judge Jeff Harris heard arguments in support and opposition of dismissing the Martin's case. Harris noted the Martins are not the natural or adoptive parents of DeBrodie and do not have standing to bring a wrongful death lawsuit claim under state law. He also noted their attempt at adoption has already been rejected by the courts. Harris also stated the legal concept of "equitable adoption" or "equitable parents" is not permissible under state law to allow them to recover damages on behalf of a deceased child.

The Martins have tried to intervene in DeBrodie's wrongful death lawsuit filed in federal court by DeBrodie's biological mother. All parties involved have opposed the Martin's involvement in the lawsuit.

Harris finally noted the previously filed wrongful death lawsuit in the case of DeBrodie as a reason why the Martin's lawsuit is barred. Harris dismissed the lawsuit with prejudice.

Mary Martin told KRCG 13 Thursday night she and her husband expected this outcome. "We know that it's going to be a hard battle to join the lawsuit if we get to," she said. "We have to take it and appeal."

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