9/29/08 – Miller County Judges Rule Alamo Girls Will Stay In State Custody
September 29, 2008
by: Karen Hopkins

Miller County Judges Rule Alamo Girls Will Stay In State Custody

Two sets of sisters, taken from Tony Alamo’s church in Fouke, had hearings Monday morning. The judge says it’s not safe for them to go home, while Alamo church members say the church is a great place to live.

Outside the Miller County courthouse, Alamo supporters place fliers on cars. Inside, the judge ruled to keep the girls in state custody, saying evidence of abuse is strong. “Obviously when children are separated from their parents, even if it’s a bad situation, they’re very upset. It’s very traumatic,” says Danita Abernathy with CASA.

Parents and lawyers ran from the media, unwilling to talk and started their cars to drive home. Their children left through the back door, covered with a tarp to protect their identities. “Emotionally, they miss the people they have lived with. They are requesting, you know, they want contact,” says Abernathy.

DHS says they will allow visitation with parents, but there’s more details to work out. “Will they have education needs? How do we best provide for them if they stay in our care?” says Julie Munsell with Arkansas Department of Human Services.

In about a month, all parties will return to court to decide custody. Until then, officials hope to uncover truth. “CASA will interview all parties involved we will be looking at extended family,” says Abernathy.

Parents left Monday passing out Alamo CD’s. DHS says it’s this dedication to Alamo that could cross with the safety of the children. “The state requires that we keep families intact but we have to believe that in doing so those children are going to be safe,” says Munsell.

The court hearings finished in a few hours, because parents chose not to testify. Officials say the parents will testify at the next custody hearings, which are October 20th and 21st.

In: 2008 - (Trial year)

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