CHICAGO (AP) — Three Illinois children placed in state custody in 2014 after a doctor pointed out their mother was a parent of three children who drowned more than a decade earlier will remain in foster care, a judge ruled Friday.
Department of Children and Family Services spokeswoman Veronica Resa said Friday that Amanda and Leo Ware were found by Cook County Circuit Judge Demetrios Kottaras to be unable to care for the children.
Amanda Ware, then known as Amanda Hamm, was convicted of child endangerment and served five years in prison for watching then-boyfriend Maurice LaGrone Jr. drown her three children from previous relationships in 2003 in Clinton Lake, south of Bloomington. Prosecutors said LaGrone, who is serving a life sentence, wanted to kill the children — a 6-year-old, 3-year-old and 23-month-old — because they interfered with the couple's relationship and his sex-and-drugs lifestyle.
A Chicago doctor recognized Amanda Ware as the woman involved in the DeWitt County case when Ware was in a hospital for the delivery of her third child.
Greg Hamm, Ware's first husband and the father of 6-year-old drowning victim Christopher Hamm, said Friday he does not support the return of the children.
"She's too mentally unstable to be a mother and she's proved it," Hamm said.
Court-appointed guardian Carol Casey recommended during a hearing Wednesday that Amanda Ware be given a chance to continue working toward the goal of bringing the children home. She noted the mother has "a huge trauma background" and her husband, Leo Ware, "landed on his feet" after his release from prison and should be recognized for his efforts despite a drug relapse about a year ago.
Resa said a December permanency and planning hearing is scheduled to review the parents' progress. Similar hearings will be held every six months. She added the couple, who separated several months ago, will be allowed to continue their supervised visits with the children.