Court documents: Adopted 9-year-old Ohio boy wasn't told parents weren't returning for him

  • Article by: LISA CORNWELL , Associated Press
  • Updated: November 27, 2013 - 7:45 PM
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Cleveland and Lisa Cox, talk to their attorney, as they turn themselves in to the Butler County Jail in Hamilton, Ohio, Friday, Nov. 15, 2013.

Photo: Ty Greenlees, Associated Press - Ap

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HAMILTON, Ohio — A couple accused of abandoning the adopted 9-year-old son they raised from infancy didn't tell him they were giving him to child welfare officials, according to documents filed by a prosecutor.

Court documents filed in Butler County Common Pleas Court in Hamilton say the boy's mother thought he was a threat to the family's safety.

Lisa Cox, 52, and her husband, Cleveland Cox, 49, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to misdemeanor charges of nonsupport of dependents.

Authorities allege the couple, from Butler County's Liberty Township, left the boy with children's services after saying he was displaying aggressive behavior and earlier threatened the family with a knife.

Documents filed by the prosecutor say the parents didn't tell the boy when they left him with children's services on Oct. 24 that he wouldn't be returning home. The boy believed he was going to a hospital to be "fixed," according to the documents.

The boy was left with a bag containing some clothes and a handwritten letter from Lisa Cox in which she said that she loved him and would never forget him.

"It breaks my heart that you can no longer be a part of our family," she wrote.

She also said she was praying that God would take care of the boy and would find the "perfect family" to love him.

County prosecutor Michael Gmoser declined to comment on Wednesday. The couple's attorney, Anthony VanNoy, said the case involves "very difficult issues."

The couple also had been scheduled for a hearing in juvenile court Wednesday on a civil complaint filed by the county's children's services agency. The magistrate granted VanNoy's request to delay that hearing until after the criminal case is concluded.

National adoption advocates say failed adoptions or dissolutions are rare in cases in which children were raised from infancy and such discord seems to occur more often with youths adopted at older ages.

People within the adoption community say they worry about emotional trauma to the boy. They say giving up a child after so much time is rare and undermines the stability and commitment that adopted children need.

Attorney Adolfo Olivas, appointed by the court to protect the boy's interests, declined to comment Wednesday. He has said the emotionally hurt and confused child is now receiving help that the parents should have gotten for him.

Each parent could face up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine if convicted. Trial is scheduled for Feb. 10.

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