DNA confirms Houston man is missing child's father

March 21, 2012 - 6:37 PM

HOUSTON (AP) — DNA test results disclosed Wednesday confirmed a Houston man is the father of a boy found in East Texas last week after he and his wife said they reported him missing eight years ago when he was an infant.

Fernando Morin and Auboni Champion-Morin are seeking to regain custody of the child, Miguel, who's been in foster care since last week. The wife's results were not yet complete, child welfare officials said.

A woman described by officials as the child's godmother and former neighbor is jailed in San Augustine in East Texas. Krystle Tanner faces a kidnapping charge related to the child's disappearance in late 2004, when he was 8 months old.

State District Judge Mike Schneider, who ordered the DNA testing at an emergency custody hearing last week, is set to hold another hearing in the case next week.

Child welfare officials last week said Morin and Champion-Morin, both 29, were uncooperative with investigators when the boy initially was reported missing. The parents deny the allegations.

Another couple told Houston television station KHOU on Tuesday that they've been caring for the four other Morin children, who are between the ages of 7 and 14. They said Champion-Morin gave the children to them years ago and that they are the legal guardians.

Champion-Morin, emerging from a courtroom Wednesday, wouldn't discuss the TV station report.

"Right now, everything's a private matter," she said. "I'm not going there right now with any of the news."

Child Protective Services spokeswoman Gwen Carter said the situation involving the other children is part of the child welfare agency's investigation into the outcome of Miguel's custody.

"In regard to the other children, there's no current concern about their safety and well-being," Carter said. "But in the normal course of investigating, we talk to siblings to find out what may be going on."

Last week, Champion-Morin implied her four children were at home and looking forward to becoming acquainted with their long-missing brother. She said she and the children would celebrate Miguel's birthday each year and pray for his safe return.

Officials have disclosed in court that Miguel, in interviews with child welfare authorities, said his name was Jaquan. They said the 8-year-old didn't know his last name, thought he was 6 years old and identified Tanner as his mother when shown a picture of her.

The officials described the boy as well-mannered and said he told them he attended school but couldn't read and couldn't name his teacher or any classmates. They said there was no evidence he was enrolled in school.

The long-dormant case got new life last summer when Tanner took the boy to a hospital for treatment of a leg injury. When she couldn't provide his name or a Social Security number, hospital staff became concerned and contacted child welfare investigators who eventually were able to link Tanner to the 2004 Houston case.

Tanner was arrested March 12. Her sister, after seeing reports about the arrest, called police the next day and offered to turn over the child she believed was Tanner's stepson.

Gary Cunningham, chief deputy for the San Augustine County Sheriff's Department, said Wednesday the case remained under investigation and that Tanner, who was being held without bond, was not available for interviews with reporters.