LIBERTY TWP, Ohio -- A grand jury indicted a Liberty Township couple that gave their adopted 9-year-old son back to Butler County Children's Services after raising him since he was a baby, according to the Journal-News.
Cleveland and Lisa Cox adopted the boy when he was 3 months old. The pair was indicted Thursday on one count of nonsupport of dependents after "recklessly" abandoning him on Oct. 24.
"My position is children in general, not speaking to this specific case, they do not have a return to sender label on their forehead," said Butler County Prosecutor Mike Gmoser. "They are their children for always and they have that duty to support and they cannot abandon without consequences."
The child's guardian ad litem, Adolfo Olivas, said the boy's parents cite aggressive behavior as their reasoning for returning him to children's services. Olivas said the parents were frustrated that the boy would not agree to get help for his behavioral issues.
"The parents were willing to get help but the child wasn't. That just is nonsense to me," Olivas said. "A parent is a parent and a 9-year-old is a 9-year-old. If your 9-year-old needs help, you get him help. It is not a question of a 9-year-old wanting it or not."
Olivas said the child is now receiving the care he needs but does not understand what has happened.
"(The child is) hurt and confused and traumatized," Olivas said. "What does this do to these other kids? You have these siblings and one goes away and doesn't ever come back because of some behavior issues. Anytime you separate siblings in the blink of an eye like that, it's got to have some bad effect on them."
The Coxes live in a $300,000-plus home and could not be reached for comment, according to Journal-News.
Warren County Juvenile Court Judge Joe Kirby said he has never heard of a situation like this.
"Sometimes you need to understand the whole situation. Every time I get a case there is always more to it…," he said. "No matter what the circumstances are, there is always the other side of the story that just kind of turns things around."
The Coxes have a hearing scheduled in Butler County Juvenile Court on Nov. 27. A hearing has not been set in the criminal case.
The charge is a first degree misdemeanor and the couple could spend six months in jail and receive a $1,000 fine if found guilty.