Child welfare officials investigate South Lake Tahoe boy’s death |

Child welfare officials investigate South Lake Tahoe boy’s death

Roseann Keegan

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif – Child welfare officials are investigating the suicide of an 11-year-old Stateline boy to see if a lack of supervision played a role in his death.

The Nevada Division of Child and Family Services released a report this week regarding the Dec. 14 death of Chandler Nash-Elliott, a fifth-grader at Zephyr Cove Elementary School.

The report states that Family Services has been involved in the boy’s life since 2001 due to concerns of lack of supervision, physical abuse, parental drug use and lack of household necessities to care for a child. The report states that those claims were unsubstantiated.

It’s unclear at this time why the case remained open at the time of Chandler’s death. A case worker met with the boy and his father, David Elliott, as recently as Nov. 19, according to the report.

Chandler lived with his father in their Tina Court home on Kingsbury Grade where his body was discovered.

Elliott could not be reached for comment. A phone number previously used to reach the father has been disconnected.

Chandler’s mother, Marie Barstow, had joint custody with visitation on weekends and vacations. She was in Arizona when Chandler died. Barstow said she planned to spend Christmas with her son.

Barstow said she supports any investigation into her son’s death.

“I welcome it,” she said.

Barstow called Chandler’s caseworker in November to complain that Elliott’s house was without heat or hot water for six months, she said.

Ben Kieckhefer, public information officer for the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, said the report’s claim of lack of household necessities was linked to that issue.

The report also states:

• The division made referrals to the family to DCFS-Intensive Family Services, Medicaid and referred the father to parenting classes for dealing with pre-adolescent youth.

• The family did not use DCFS-Intensive Family Services. The social worker was working with the family on obtaining Medicaid and counseling.

• The division provided the family with placement prevention funds to help restore gas services in the home, even though the report states that claims of lack of household necessities was unsubstantiated.

• The division also facilitated contact between mother and child by phone, and confirmed that the child was seeing the school counselor three times a week and was often eating lunch with the school counselor.

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office concluded its investigation into Chandler’s death Thursday. Spokesperson Sgt. Jim Halsey said there were no signs of foul play or abuse related to the death and that there are no charges pending against the father.

Zephyr Cove Elementary Principal Nancy Cauley said she was unable to comment on the school’s involvement in the case due to district policy.

The report also stated that the division will be offering services to the family to address grief and loss. Barstow said she has not yet been contacted.

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