Children Services Requests Custody Of Aiden Stein
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
February 17, 2005
MANSFIELD, OHIO--An agency that is supposed to protect children from harm has filed a legal motion to gain permanent custody of 15-month-old Aiden Stein -- a move that would likely lead to his death.
According to the Mansfield News Journal, Richland County Children Services filed a motion in Juvenile Court earlier this month to terminate the custody rights of Aiden's parents, Matt Stein, 21, and Arica Heimlich, 22.
"Based on what's happened, we feel we need to seek that permanent custody rather than seek to return him (to his parents)," said Randy Parker, executive director of Children Services.
Parker said that even if the agency gets permanent custody of Aiden, the final decision on pulling his ventilator would rest with court-appointed guardian Ellen Kaforey -- who has already called for the baby's life support to be withdrawn.
Doctors at Akron Children's Hospital have maintained that Aiden is blind, deaf and in a "persistent vegetative state" from injuries he sustained last March, which they say are consistent with shaken-baby syndrome. Hospital officials believe Aiden will not recover and that it is in his best interest to remove the ventilator that keeps him alive.
Doctors also claim that the parents have a conflict of interest in wanting Aiden kept alive because at least one of them could face criminal charges if the baby dies. The doctors successfully petitioned Summit County Probate Court to appoint the temporary guardian who sided with doctors in requesting Aiden be removed from mechanical life supports.
Police suspect that Mr. Stein caused his son's injuries. They have not ruled out his mother as a suspect in causing earlier traumas that doctors claim they have detected. Charges have not yet been filed against either parent.
Aiden's parents argue that the child is alert, that he responds to them, opens his eyes, holds up his own head, and follows sounds. They believe he will recover more if given more time. They also assert that Aiden's injuries occurred during his birth.
The Ohio Supreme Court ruled in December that a lower court had no authority to appoint a temporary guardian to decide to end the child's life when the parents' rights had not been permanently terminated.
Ed Markovich, the attorney for Aiden's parents, accused the agency of ignoring the Supreme Court's decision.
"Their response is, 'Let's kill him anyway,'" he said. "They're going to kill him so they can prosecute Matthew. Matthew's misfortune was he was the one that was home when Aiden stopped breathing."
"These people are giving hypocrisy a bad name," Markovich added.
A hearing is scheduled on March 7 in Juvenile Court.
"Aiden Stein: Hospital Wants Baby's Life Support Removed" (Inclusion Daily Express)