The Chicago Family Law Blog

Mother Who Allegedly Hid Child For Two Years Loses Custody

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This is definitely a strange child custody case. Illinois family lawyer Fred Turner successfully argued that client Michael Chekevdia deserved custody of his 7-year-old son; whom his mother allegedly hid for two years. She hid him in strange places such as "in a crawl space," according to an article in the Carmi Times. Mr. Chekevdia is the former boyfriend of the boy's mother, Shannon Wilfong.

Franklin County Circuit Court Judge Melissa Drew expressed her findings about the boy's alleged treatment by Ms. Wilfong; including exclusion from school and reported refusal to provide her address to child-welfare officials, amounted to neglect, the article reports.

The child remains a ward of the court while the family continues to receive state counseling, which according to Judge Drew's quotes in the article is warranted:

Drew called the boy "very, very resilient" and "very strong," noting the child's weight gain and added muscle tone since his captivity ended. The boy no longer shoves other children, is "a friendly child with peers and adults, and he appears to be adjusting well with his placement in school and with his father," Drew said.

However, Judge Drew reportedly agreed with Ms. Wilfong's Illinois family lawyer that she deserved to spend more time with her son upon the condition of better-complying with child-welfare workers. Ms. Wilfong currently is entitled to one-hour, supervised visits with her son roughly once every three weeks, according to reporters.

According to testimony in the child custody case, Ms. Wilfong allegedly hid her son in a 5 by 12 feet crawl space at her mother's home whenever visitors arrived and was allowed to go outside only at night in an obscured, fenced-in area.

Authorities found the boy after a raid of Ms. Wilfong's mother's home last September. Ms. Wilfong pleaded guilty to felony abduction. Her mother and current boyfriend both pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting the alleged crime.

Related Resources:

  • Focusing on the "Best Interests" of the Child (FindLaw)  
  • Five Tips on Child Custody and Visitation (FindLaw Law & Daily Life Blog)
  • Directory of Chicago Family Law Attorneys (FindLaw)

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