Miguel Morin, Krystle TannerEight-year-old Miguel Morin was abducted by his babysitter Krystle Tanner when he was only eight months old. When Morin was rescued back in March, he was placed in foster care instead of being reunited with his family. On Wednesday, William Thursland, his court appointed lawyer, announced that Morin has finally met his parents in joint therapy sessions. "It's just barely begun so he's cautious," Thursland said in a press conference. "It's going well but it's just going to take time." State District Judge Mike Schneider also ruled that the boy would remain in foster care until at least January 9, when the next hearing is scheduled.
It may be hard to fathom why the boy wasn't reunited with his parents immediately. In some cases, it may be beneficial to first place a child in a neutral environment while the details of their condition and their relationship to their abductor are revealed, says Geoffrey Greif, PhD, of the University of Maryland School of Social Work, whose article "Ambiguous Reunification: A Way for Social Workers to Conceptualize the Return of Children After Abduction and Other Separations" will be appearing in an upcoming issue of the journal Families in Society. Morin grew up believing Tanner was his real mother. "Imagine that the person that is supposedly your mother is not…" Greif tells Shine. "The therapist's decision could be based in part on his attachment to the woman who pretended to be his mother for years." Miguel has recently been informed that the Morins, who live in Houston, are his biological parents, reports the Associated Press.
If Morin is eventually allowed to go home, he will be entering a complicated family situation. His parents have four other children who all live with another couple, Juanita and Joseph Aguillard by mutual agreement. At the time of the kidnapping, there were some accusations from neighbors and family members that Morin’s mother “gave him away” – a claim she strongly denies. It’s unclear whether he would live with his parents or the Aguillard family. Reportedly, he will be meeting his siblings soon and Joseph Aguillard says, “They can’t wait to see him.”
Authorities have charged Tanner, 26, and her mother, Gloria Walker, with kidnapping and child injury. Both have pleaded not guilty. They are currently being held in jail in St. Augustine, about 150 miles from Houston. After initial efforts to locate the boy, police closed the case in 2006. In March, Morin suffered a leg injury and Tanner brought him to the hospital. Suspicions were aroused when she wouldn't provide his name or Social Security number. DNA tests subsequently confirmed his identity.
The pair reportedly did not send Morin to school. He was functioning at a below-kindergarten level when he was first saved. Morin believed his name was JaQuan and he was six-years-old. Now, Estella Olguin, a spokesperson for Houston Child Protective Services says, "He is doing really remarkably. He's really a great little man." The boy has learned to read and write over the past five months and is now attending second grade.
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