My younger brother Nicholas is seven years old. When my mother passed away from breast cancer in 2007, he was only one. When she passed she left Guardianship to me in her will. At the time I had moved in with my step father and his wife because I was only 19 with a 6 month old baby and needed help. Because of my age my mother designated that if in the event i was unable to care for Nicholas her ex husband could stand in. When I married my husband in 2009 and moved to Ft Hood, Texas my step father was angry and told me i was not taking my brother with me; because he is such a violent person, especially when he is drinking, I complied. We didn’t have the money for a lawyer then as we were just starting out on our own. I thought that maybe he was better off with them because they had plenty of money and were well established.
In December, I was informed that there was severe drug use and violence in the home (more violence than normal when my stepfather drinks). Doing drugs in front of Nicholas saying how “his mother would have wanted it this way.” I have the children on record telling me some of the horrific things they have been seeing the past 6 months. Nicholas told me that “daddy told mommy he was going to kill her, I tried to get in the way but I’m too small so Jeremy had to save her”, Jeremy being his other brother. There was a month or longer that there was no water in the home, and the parents have threatened others if they reported anything about what was happening then they would kill them.
I was recently informed that the elementary school Nicholas goes to puts him in a padded room when he has a temper tantrum, and both step parents believe this is their way of “knowing how to handle Nicholas best”. I believe the anger and agression is something he is picking up from home.
The state intervened and CPS removed the children on January 21, 2014. I have been to the hearings and they will not release him into my custody because I was told it takes to long for an out of state home study.
I am trying to take custody as Nicholas' only living blood relative in the area and the guardian on the will. Every lawyer we have talked to has told us that it would cost no less than $5000.00 up front. This is just to begin the process; it can reach over the $10,000 mark easily, not to account for travel back and forth.
Lawyers have told us that our luck of finding anyone to take the case was slim to none because of the circumstances involved and that we reside out of state. We cannot qualify for legal aid because we are military and JAG has directed us to go to Texas which leaves us back where we started. We are trying to do everything that we can to remove Nicholas from that horrible home and way of life before he gets injured, or worse.