Mom of abandoned boy wants part in custody talks

AP News
Posted: Sep 01, 2011 1:46 PM
Mom of abandoned boy wants part in custody talks

The mother of an 11-year-old boy whose father abandoned him in Minnesota in July has come forward saying she wants to be part of the discussions about her child's future.

Katik Porter, 38, hasn't seen her son in nearly a decade, but she has contacted child protection services and asked to be part of court proceedings about his custody, Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom said.

The boy's placement will be up to child protection services and courts, and the process could take months. The child is staying with a relative, Backstrom said.

The father, Steven Cross, 60, of Lakeville, left his son in mid-July after his home went into foreclosure. The boy awoke on July 18 to find two letters from Cross: One told him the mother he thought was dead was really alive, and that he should take his PlayStation and go to a neighbor's house; the other asked the neighbor to look after the boy.

Cross, an architect who lost his job, was arrested in Cambria, Calif., this week and has waived extradition to Minnesota, where he will face a charge of child neglect. Lakeville police have said Cross is also the subject of an unrelated fraud investigation. There have been no charges in that case.

Porter has not returned messages left by The Associated Press.

In a jailhouse interview with California television station KSBY, Cross said he would fight the charge. He said he thought he was doing what was best for his son.

"I didn't want him to remember his dad as homeless," he said.

According to court records, Cross was awarded sole physical and legal custody of his son in 2001 when the boy was a year old. Porter was given visitation privileges, which were suspended in 2002. Backstrom said her parental rights were not terminated.

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