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Published: Friday, 11/7/2003

Mother will seek custody of children after acquittal

BY KIM BATES
BLADE STAFF WRITER

A Clayton, Mich., woman who was acquitted this week on a charge that she underfed her baby will return to court in December for a hearing involving the custody of her children.

A jury spent a half-hour Wednesday deliberating before it found Tammy Lynn Myers, 24, not guilty of felony child abuse, which carried a possible sentence of four years in prison.

Attorney Matt Rains, who represents Mrs. Myers and her husband, Nathan, said the verdict in Lenawee County Circuit Court followed a two-day trial, which he described as highly emotional.

Originally, both parents had faced the child abuse charge involving their younger daughter, who was 5 months old at that time. The charge against Mr. Myers was dismissed July 24.

Mrs. Myers was accused of underfeeding her baby, who was removed from her parents home in January by the Family Independent Agency.

At the time, she weighed 12 pounds.

Mr. Rains said the couple was elated with the verdict and now plan to focus efforts on regaining custody of their daughters, who remain in foster care with one of Mr. Myers relatives. Their older daughter is 3, while the baby turned 1 on Aug. 14.

“They are relieved, more than anything else, that this chapter of their life is over,” Mr. Rains said.

Frank Riley, the Lenawee County prosecutor who handled the case, declined to comment on the verdict.

“The jury has spoken. We accept their verdict,” he said yesterday.

Mr. Rains said both parents took the stand in the case and testified that the baby was sick at the time and was refusing to eat formula. He said several family members testified that the couple had asked them for advice in dealing with the situation.

The parents also said they sought medical treatment for the baby twice in late December.

A review hearing in the custody case is scheduled for Dec. 16 in Lenawee County Probate Court.

Currently, the parents meet with the girls at least once a week, Mr. Rains said.



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