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Father fights for child custody of disabled girl

A father and his wife are fighting for the child custody of a 21-month old girl who was severely abused by her aunt and mother in April. The toddler nearly drowned to death when her aunt tied her up with electrical tape and placed her in a cold shower. The father did not know that his former partner had given birth and recently took a paternity test to demonstrate that he is the girl's father. The 22-year-old father says his wife and him are ready to welcome the girl into their home.

The 19-year-old mother of the toddler is accused of overlooking the actions of her aunt when she tied up the toddler's hands and feet with electrical tape and put her in a cold shower. The abusive event nearly killed the young girl and now the toddler is in a vegetative state. The mother's aunt and uncle are currently in jail on charges of child abuse and attempted first-degree murder.

When the 21-month-old girl was born, the girl's mother did not inform the father of her birth. The father did not even know of her birth until the attempted murder was on the local news. When the mother was pregnant with the young girl she stopped talking to the father and later told him she had a miscarriage. As a result, the father says he has never been given a chance to be a part of the toddler's life.

The father is now remarried and has children of his own, a newborn and two stepchildren. He says he would like the girl to join his family. The father and his wife have been preparing for the care of the toddler. They have been taking special care classes and say they are ready to overlook her medical care. The father and toddler have even begun to form a relationship during visits to the hospital.

Source: gazette.com, "Dad wants custody of toddler who nearly drowned," Lance Benzel, 5/18/11

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