Statement from Gayle and Michael Inge
|Updated: 12/23/2011 2:50 pm
||Published: 12/23/2011 2:36 pm
"Currently our grandson is in foster care with strangers with the State of Arkansas. We would like to express our gratitude to the Florida Department of Children and Families for its effort in this case and also to the Arkansas foster family for their help in taking care of our grandson. We would like to plea for his return to Florida before Christmas.
The accusations made by Mindy McCready against us are false and hurtful. These accusations are the same accusations made by Mindy for the past four years and have been thoroughly investigated by the Florida Department of Children and Families and the presiding judge in our grandson’s case. We cannot get into specifics due to confidentiality in any child dependency matter.
The Arkansas Department of Human Services seems to be claiming jurisdiction over this case in violation of the UCCJEA (Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act). Their position is in stark opposition to the basic principals outlined in the UCCJEA. We disagree with Arkansas DHS’s position as Florida has home state jurisdiction under the UCCJEA and a Florida Court has been involved in this case since 2007. In fact, there was a hearing in the Florida Court that concluded in early November for which a decision was pending at the time Mindy fled to Arkansas with the child. We are our grandson’s legal guardians.
The court in Arkansas has not yet ruled on the claims of the Arkansas DHS and has not yet ruled on the threshold issue of whether it even has jurisdiction under the UCCJEA to hear the case. It is our opinion that the State of Florida has “home state” jurisdiction over this case, not the State of Arkansas. More practically speaking, having a case such as this handled in a state over a thousand miles away from our grandson’s family, doctors, teachers and classmates is an absurd and unjust result and clearly not in the best interest of our grandson. Our grandson is in the custody of strangers for the Holidays. This is the first time in his life he has been with strangers.
It is hard for us as a family to see how in any way this is the best interest of our grandson. He is only a 5 year old boy. He has been stolen by his mother, recovered from authorities hiding in a closet; he was put in the care of strangers. How could this possibly be in the best interest of our grandson?
In custody and dependency matters justice delayed is often a failure of justice. Please join us in our prayers that the Arkansas court can reach its decision on the UCCJEA issue sooner rather than later so our grandson can return home to us, his family and friends in Lee County for the holidays.
We would ask the media, The State of Florida, The State of Arkansas and the public to speak out and help us return our Grandson to Florida where he lives.”