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Witches of Waterford
July 8, 2011 permalink
A legendary test for accused witches is to hold them under water for three minutes. Those that perish are innocent. The survivors are adjudged guilty and hanged. Connecticut does just about that to families. Parents John and Christine Berkery were jailed and their daughter Emma went to foster care. The only way for the parents to get out of jail was to plead guilty to a crime they did not commit. Now as convicts they are unfit parents and the foster mom is keeping Emma.
Custody battle brewing in Waterford
WATERFORD, Conn. (WTNH) - A custody battle continues to brew tonight after the state took a child out of what seemed to be an unfit home and placed her in foster care.
Now the child's biological parents say they want their kid back, but the foster parents won't let that happen without a fight.
A battle has been taken to court because police say a young girl was starved by her parents. Those parents now want her back now that they're out of jail but the foster parents are hoping to stop it.
Denise Mathieu is little Emma's foster parent. The then one-year-old had been taken from her mother Christine Berkery in Jan. 2010, when she and her husband John were arrested for allegedly starving her.
"She's doing great. She's a child that wouldn't look into your eyes nine months ago and she's a happy, well adjusted child now. She's thriving in her current environment," says Denise Mathieu, foster parent.
Mathieu was hoping to stop the Berkery's who a year later plead to a charge of reckless endangerment. In a statement John Berkery says "My wife and I took a deal earlier this year to get out of prison the fastest way we knew how in order to fight for our children back." Denise Mathieu says this is an issue of civil rights and believes Emma has not been represented appropriately by DCF or the child's attorney.
"This is a top down issue. We reached out to the commissioner's office back in May. Not only were we not taken seriously with our concerns, but we were provided with no response back from DCF," says Mathieu.
DCF told News 8 it is grateful for the love and devotion given to Emma, but if the court decides the mother is prepared to parent it will support that decision. Berkery says "This foster mother has grown attached to our child in the few months she had her and will stop at nothing to keep our child." The court ruled to reunite Emma with her parents Thursday afternoon.
"Our concern is that there's grave danger for this child, that this child's safety is being compromised," says Mathieu.
John Berkery didn't want to go on camera but told News 8 he and his wife were wrongly accused and wrongly arrested and that is why DCF now is trying to help them get their child back.