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In re F.R.D.

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, Third Division

November 3, 2015

IN THE INTEREST OF: F.R.D.; JUVENILE OFFICER, Respondent,
v.
A.D. (Mother), Appellant

          Appeal from the Circuit Court of Callaway County, Missouri. The Honorable Leslie Schneider, Judge.

         Mary E. Barnard, Columbia, MO, for Respondent.

         A.D., Appellant, Pro se, Jefferson City, MO.

         Before Division Three: Joseph M. Ellis, Presiding Judge, and Karen King Mitchell and Gary D. Witt, Judges. Joseph M. Ellis, Presiding Judge, and Gary D. Witt, Judge, concur.

          OPINION

         Karen King Mitchell, J.

Page 33

          A.D. (Mother) appeals from the Juvenile Division of the Circuit Court of Callaway County's order finding that her daughter, F.D., should be subject to the jurisdiction of the court and placed in the custody of her ex-husband, the child's natural father (Father). Mother argues that the trial court's determination violated her religious beliefs, and that placement with Father is inappropriate because Father " abandoned and neglected" the child. We dismiss the appeal because it is moot.

         Facts[1]

         Mother is the natural mother of F.D. F.D. lived with Father and Mother (who were married) until Father left in 2011, at which point F.D. resided with Mother. On July 3, 2013, the Callaway County Juvenile Office filed a Petition requesting that F.D. be placed in protective custody. The Petition alleged that Mother suffered from a mental condition that rendered her unable to provide the necessary care for F.D. The juvenile court found that F.D. was in imminent danger of physical harm as a result of abuse or neglect, and ordered F.D. placed into protective custody with the Missouri Children's Division pending a hearing. Following the protective custody hearing on July 8, 2013, the juvenile court ordered that F.D. should remain in protective custody.

         The juvenile court held an adjudication hearing[2] on August 20 and 29,

Page 34

2013. At that hearing, a number of witnesses testified to Mother's concerning behaviors, including: believing that someone has poisoned her food; being obsessed with parasites crawling in her brain; repeatedly calling the police with unsubstantiated claims of foul odors, people being on the roof, hearing tapping noises, and seeing shadows in the hallway; believing that items in her bathroom were forcing other items to change locations; and believing that a baby wasp and tweezers were mysteriously appearing in and disappearing from her medicine cabinet. The juvenile court entered an order of adjudication, finding that Mother was unable to provide adequate care for F.D.

         The juvenile court then held a disposition hearing, at which Father testified that he had obtained employment, had a stable living situation, and was able to care for F.D. Following the hearing, the juvenile court ordered that F.D. remain in the custody and supervision of the Children's Division, but be placed with Father.

         Father subsequently filed for divorce in the Circuit Court of Washington County. The Juvenile Office and Children's Division requested that the juvenile court allow the dissolution court to determine appropriate custody for F.D. as part of the dissolution proceeding. The juvenile court allowed the dissolution court to determine custody and ...


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