Kidnapped infant's mother acknowledges 'terrible decisions'
by Jason Lowrey
Aug 17, 2013 | 4108 views | 0 0 comments | 50 50 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Kristen Howard, mother of the 8-month-old boy kidnapped Tuesday when her friend stole her car, admitted to struggling with substance abuse and making “terrible decisions” that day.

Her son will temporarily remain in foster care or possibly with a family member. Howard asked Juvenile Court Judge Velma Tilley to consider having her son stay with one of her family members, or a member of the father’s family, as she wanted her son to spend as much time as possible with family while he was young. Tilley said the Division of Family and Children Services does its best to accommodate such requests.

The hearing, which barred all recording devices, was short as Howard acknowledged she was high Tuesday while she helped Samantha Nicole Barret search for a place to live. She also acknowledged stability issues, which were not defined.

With Howard acknowledging the issues, DFCS will move ahead to file a deprivation petition, which will state why the division believes the infant is deprived of care. The papers must be filed within five days of the hearing, Tilley said, with a second hearing held within 10 days of the filing.

During the second hearing, Tilley explained later, DFCS will attempt to prove its allegations.

One allegation relates to the infant’s father, Dustin Stover, who is incarcerated in the Cherokee County Jail. Howard told Tilley she was not married to Stover and they were not a couple. When asked, Howard believed he was incarcerated for probation violation. However, she said she was not entirely sure.

Tilley urged Howard to “hit the ground running” to address and fix her problems.

Before adjourning the hearing, Tilley asked media outlets present during the proceedings to have consideration for the family.

“We work with families with problems all the time,” Tilley said after the hearing. “It’s harder — I think it’s probably harder to do that with so much public scrutiny. Because it tends to shame the family and it’s hard to do that ... I mean, we can deal with folks that have problems, but it’s hard when they feel public shame.”