LAS VEGAS -- The family of a 2-year-old child who police said was severely abused in foster care is looking for answers.
Ten days after Alexander Laws was taken from his parents in early November, he was laying in a hospital bed with brain injuries.
Alexander's mom acknowledged she has had her issues, but when the state takes your child, it has a duty at the very least to keep him safe.
In Alexander's case, that didn't happen.
At barely 2-and-a-half-years-old, Alexander is confined to a hospital bed with traumatic and possibly permanent brain injuries.
"He may never walk again, he may never eat again, he has a feeding tube in his stomach," Alexander's mother, Natalie Nelson, said. "He can't swallow his own spit."
Nelson lost custody of him temporarily for the second time in early November when she and the boy's father were arrested on outstanding warrants.
Nelson is accused of jumping out of a cab without paying.
Absent anyone to care for Alexander, Clark County placed him in foster care, where police officers said they believe he was severely abused.
"He was injured by the foster mom's friend or whoever it is," Nelson said. "It shouldn't matter why he was taken, it matters where he is then and he wasn't taken care of."
According to police reports, Alexander's foster mother, Kassondra Martinson, left Alexander and another foster child in the care of family friend Osbaldo Sanchez while she went to work.
Police allege Sanchez told officers the boy fell in the bathroom and that he knew the little boy was hurt "bad."
But police reports suggest both the medical evidence, and the other foster child, contradict his story and that Martinson lied about her whereabouts when Alexander was injured.
"You'd think there'd be some level of protection for this 2-year-old," said Marc Saggese, an attorney who is planning to file a federal lawsuit against Clark County.
Any monies recovered would be put into a trust for Alexander's long-term medical care, he said.
"We're talking about an infant who is in a position (of) being put with strangers and if the state doesn't ensure that these strangers are competent responsible individuals, then you're putting this child in a lion's den that ultimately leads to a lifetime of permanent damage," Saggese said.
In a written statement, the county's Department of Family Services insisted it conducts background checks on all prospective foster parents and that in this case, Martinson knowingly violated its babysitting policies.
According to the department, it is now working to re-educate foster parents.
Alexander's grandfather, Rick, and his mother seemed weary from the ache that comes when your child is hurting.
"I just don't want this to happen to any more children, that's all" said Rick Nelson, Alexander's grandfather.
With her son's hospital bracelet taped to her wrist, she said she worries that her once rambunctious little boy doesn't understand why he now can't get up.
"He smiles at me," she said. "I love his little smile.
"Alex needs help. He needs to be taken care of for the rest of his life because of the fault of the foster care system."
Alexander's family said they were initially told by the county that Alexander had fallen in a bathtub. They said they didn't learn until days later that a police investigation had begun and an arrest had been made.
Repeated calls to the Family Services Department went unanswered, the family said.
According to the department, it kept the family informed about Alexander's injuries.