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Barbara L. Jouette, Attorney, P.C.
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Child custody case ends in tragedy

Many Texas residents are now likely familiar with the headlines involving the tragic case of the Hart family. For persons that may not be aware, a foster mother and her partner were found dead in their vehicle, after reportedly intentionally driving the family, which included six fostered or adopted children, off a cliff. Three of the children were found dead, and the other three have not yet been found. A child custody case resulting in loss of life, this has been a frightening story to many.

Now that authorities have investigated the initial crash, they have begun to delve into the history of this ill-fated family. Accusations of previous child abuse were investigated in at least three states where the family had previously resided. New details have recently come to light in the case of one of the missing children, a 15-year-old boy. 

When the boy, in earlier years, had been removed from his mother's care due to her struggle with addiction, the boy was taken in by his paternal aunt. Texas authorities determined that the aunt had violated an order that barred the child from seeing his biological mother. The boy was removed from the care of the aunt, a decision which she appealed, but a Texas court turned down. Custody of the boy was then given to the foster mother. 

Cases involving child custody can be difficult to navigate. Sometimes, despite careful consideration on the part of adults involved, it can be a tall task to establish what is in the best interest of a child. On many occasions, it can be useful to seek the assistance of a compassionate attorney, who is able to advocate for caregivers and children in a court of law.

Source:, "Devonte Hart's aunt fought -- and lost -- battle for custody, court records show", Everton Bailey Jr., April 13, 2018

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