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Michigan man fights for custody of daughter, denies abuse claims

A Michigan man says he and his ex-wife did not abuse their 2-year-old daughter, who police discovered unconscious at her mother's home. He and his ex-wife had their parental rights temporarily stripped following the incident, but the man says he is dedicated to ensuring he does not lose permanent custody of his other daughter. Though he is listed as the younger girl's legal parent, he claims that he is only the biological father of her 4-year-old sister.

Police found the unconscious toddler after responding to a 911 call, after which they transported the girl to a nearby medical center to be treated for a head injury. From there, she was flown to DeVos Children's Hospital in Grand Rapids by helicopter. Doctors eventually placed the girl in a medically induced coma, citing concerns about the severity of her wounds. She remained in critical condition at last report. Doctors say they suspect the child was abused.

The girl's mother was previously accused of abusing the girl in 2012; the father was granted physical custody of both following the completion of the couple's divorce. Officials say that the mother then attended numerous monitored visits with the girls, with supervising social workers eventually terminating the case after noting that the toddler appeared happy and safe with her mother. The father transferred full physical custody of both girls back to his ex-wife after she completed parenting classes and had not had any issues after months of caring for the children.

The man says the injured girl is not his daughter, explaining that he does not intend to petition for custody of the toddler but will fight for his older daughter.

Since the father was previously given custody of both children, and did not appear to be around when the youngest daughter suffered her injuries, it is likely that he should be able to retain custody of his 4-year-old daughter, but it will be for the courts to decide.

Source: Mlive.com, "Brooklyn Weimer: Custody decision looms in case of injured 2-year-old, older sister," Aaron Aupperlee, April 12, 2013

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