County commission OKs settlement in baby's death in foster care

The County Commission approved a $170,000 settlement Tuesday in the 2006 death of "Baby Boy Charles," a 7-month-old boy who died while in foster care.

Melanie Ochs, who was caring for the child, was convicted of first-degree murder three years later. Ochs, 44, testified on her own behalf. She admitted that when she first reported the baby's injuries to authorities, she initially blamed her older children. The baby had fallen off of a washing machine, she said.

Prosecutors and their witnesses said such a fall could not have caused the death. The baby suffered a skull fracture and swelling of the brain. He died in a hospital two days after Ochs reported he had been injured. A month before the death, Ochs took the child to a California hospital and said the baby was bruised by a coffee table falling on him.

Ochs and her husband took in 13 foster children over a three-year period. They had a child of their own and adopted one of their foster children.

Most of the settlement, $140,000, is for the baby's surviving siblings, $10,000 is for the baby's natural mother, and $20,000 will cover litigation costs.

The Nevada Supreme Court recently upheld Ochs' 20- to 50-year prison term. She is at Florence McClure Women's Correctional Center in North Las Vegas.

Contact reporter Kristi Jourdan at or 702-455-4519.