HOUSTON (AP) — A Houston boy kidnapped eight years ago is still not ready to meet his parents after being in foster care since authorities found him in March, Texas child welfare officials said Wednesday during a court hearing.
Officials with Child Protective Services told state District Judge Mike Schneider that a therapist who has been working with 8-year-old Miguel Morin believes the boy is not yet ready to be told who his parents are or to have visits with them. Authorities allege Miguel was taken as an infant, and his baby sitter and her mother are now jailed on kidnapping charges.
The boy will remain in the state's care at least until a Sept. 12 hearing, said Estella Olguin, a spokeswoman for CPS in Houston.
"His parents have gotten photographs (of the boy) and bought him toys and clothes to be given to a caseworker to provide to him," Olguin said.
CPS officials said there are a few options for Miguel's living arrangements: He could be reunited with his parents Auboni Champion-Morin and Fernando Morin, live with another family member or live with a Houston couple who are taking care of the Morins' four other children under an agreement between the couples.
Olguin said CPS plans to conduct a review of the home of Juanita and Joseph Aguillard, where the Morins' other children, ages 7 to 14, are living, to see if it would be a good environment for Miguel. Juanita Aguillard said she had a bed ready for Miguel in case he comes to live in her home.
Mark Cooper, an attorney for Miguel's father, said the boy's parents "are holding up well."
"They are understanding of the process and they are engaged in their therapy," Cooper said. Judge Schneider had previously ordered Miguel and his parents to undergo therapy.
Olguin said the Morins, who live in Houston and are both 29, are being cooperative with child welfare officials.
"They are going to group counseling, couple's counseling. They are attending meetings with CPS and other family members to come up with a plan for Miguel and see what's in his best interest," she said.
The boy has been in foster care since authorities found him in March living in East Texas with Krystle Tanner, who had been Miguel's baby sitter in Houston. Investigators believe she kidnapped the boy in 2004 when he was just 8 months old and concealed his identity for years.
Tanner and her mother, Gloria Walker, each have been charged with kidnapping and injury to a child. They have pleaded not guilty and remain jailed in San Augustine, about 140 miles northeast of Houston.
Authorities allege Tanner and her mother hid Miguel in homes in Central and East Texas, kept him out of school and didn't call him by his given name, instead renaming him Jaquan. The boy, not knowing his true identity, called Tanner his mother and Walker grandmother, investigators said.