Kidnapped boy, 8, to remain in state custody
HOUSTON -- It will be a while longer before an 8-year-old boy who was kidnapped when he was just an infant will be reunited with his real family.
Here's one of the many amazing things about this story. Miguel Morin, whose mother reported him missing in 2004, is in foster care and has no idea that he was kidnapped or that his biological parents are fighting to raise him.
For the second week in a row, an army of lawyers and advocates huddled around Judge Michael Schneider's bench, talking about the future of a boy who doesn't even know he's in the middle of a court battle over his rest of his life. And it will stay that way for now.
"The child doesn't know reality as we know it. And that information needs to be re-integrated to him in a gentle, thoughtful way," said psychologist Dr. Charles Cleveland.
"The parents are willing to do what's in the best interest of the child and meet their child at the appropriate time," said attorney Mark Cooper.
The legal wrangling is over the 8-year-old son of Auboni Champion-Morin and Fernando Morin. Police believe the boy was kidnapped by Krystle Tanner and her mother Gloria Walker when the boy was eight months old. He's in foster care now and his mother is anxious to see him.
Reporter: Are you pleased with the decision today?
Auboni Champion-Morin: Yes, it's for the best interest of my son.
Reporter: How difficult is it being this patient?
Auboni Champion-Morin: It's not difficult at all because it's all for him.
The parents have asked repeatedly for visitation. They've undergone DNA and drug tests which prove they are clean and the biological parents of the boy. They've also now provided extended family members with whom Miguel could stay while the reunification process drags on. One of them is the maternal grandfather.
"It will work out fine. The man upstairs takes care of us. As long as we believe in the Lord, Miguel's going to be fine," said grandfather Davey Terrell.
Both the parents and the child will undergo mandatory counseling. The child will be evaluated as to where he sits academically. We've been told the 8-year-old is at or below a kindergarten level, and he may need special tutoring once he goes to school.
The next hearing is a month from now. As for when they'll finally meet, we're told that's impossible to know just yet.
Champion-Morin is the mother of four other children who are now living with someone else. And while CPS has visited with those children, they did not come up in court today.
That caregiver of the four other kids was listed as a possible temporary home for 8-year-old Miguel, however the parents today removed her as an option and added three other family members for CPS to consider when and if the boy transitions out of foster care.
Tanner and Walker are both charged in the kidnapping case. Tanner was arrested two weeks ago in San Augustine in East Texas. Walker was arrested March 23 at her home in Manor, east of Austin.
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