SALEM — A decision by the Oregon Department of Human Services to award custody of a 6-year-old Oregon girl to her biological father in Mexico has been upheld by a Marion County judge. The girl will be sent across the border to live with her dad, who’s a former convicted felon.
The ruling comes after Governor John Kitzhaber and state legislators asked child welfare workers to review the case.
The girl was in foster care because of her mother’s drug addiction. Gloria Segura was reportedly on meth. Her father, Alfonso Pantoja-Samano, 35, was deported after serving prison time in Oregon for assault.
The child’s grandmother, Kerrie Lechuga was fighting for custody, but her criminal past including neglecting animals in 2005 came to light. Thus, the state will not allow her to adopt her granddaughter. She was not allowed in the closed-door meeting, but made signs to have her voice heard.
“This is just so wrong,” said Lachuga after the verdict.
The situation has sparked a debate over what’s right and wrong. Authorities though say child welfare will monitor the girl’s well-being. The father says he has a stable home and his daughter would be safe with him.
He told KGW: “I’m ready to do whatever I need to, in order to get my daughter back and there won’t be anyone who can stop me from getting what I want.”
Pantoja-Samano has taken care of his daughter before and vows to stay away from drugs and alcohol.