The owner of a shuttered Riverside County foster home for disabled children has been charged with murder a second time in the death of a teenager in the home in 2019, which prompted an investigation that prosecutors say uncovered sexual abuse and other crimes involving multiple victims.
Michelle Morris-Kerin and her husband, Edward Lawrence “Larry” Kerin, were initially charged in 2021 with a 14-count indictment that alleged “child endangerment likely to cause great bodily injury or death, dependent adult endangerment likely to cause great bodily injury or death, and lewd acts on a dependent adult,” according to the Riverside County District Attorney’s office.
A judge last year dismissed the murder count against Morris-Kerin. Prosecutors filed the charge again after further investigation found additional evidence, the district attorney’s office announced Saturday.
Several agencies launched their investigation following the death of 17-year-old Dianne “Princess” Ramirez. The wheelchair-bound teenager was vomiting blood and was showing “inconsistent vital signs,” but Morris-Kerin decided not to seek help for the girl, prosecutors alleged.
The investigation found that “numerous other residents” of the home near Murrieta had been abused, and that some dependent adults “engaged in sexual activities encouraged by both defendants,” despite lacking “the mental capacity to give consent,” according to the district attorney’s office.
Morris-Kerin, now 82, was charged with 15 counts in an indictment unsealed Thursday, including lewd acts on a dependent adult, murder and other crimes. Kern, 81, was charged with nine counts, including involuntary manslaughter.
The two were arraigned Thursday and entered not guilty pleas. Morris-Kerin and Kerin were released on bail set at $50,000 and $35,000, respectively.