Woman charged in day care death sues DHR for trying to take cust - FOX10 News | WALA

Woman charged in day care death sues DHR for trying to take custody of child

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Valarie Rena Patterson (Photo: Mobile County Metro Jail) Valarie Rena Patterson (Photo: Mobile County Metro Jail)

In a lawsuit filed Monday, November 13, the attorney representing Valarie Patterson alleged the Alabama Department of Human Resources (DHR) has attempted to take custody of Patterson's middle school-aged child "because Ms. Patterson was arrested."

Patterson was arrested in August for manslaughter and abuse of a corpse in connection to the death of Kamden Johnson, 5, who attended the Community Nursery and Preschool Academy, where Patterson worked. 

Patterson was has been out of jail on $60,000 bond since August 29. 

The lawsuit against DHR went on to say, "DHR asserts that an accusation of criminal conduct is sufficient to remove this child from her mother's custody and care, even in the absence of allegations of abuse, neglect or harm against the minor child... DHR is interfering with the constitutional rights of a parent."

Tuesday, Patterson's attorney, Christine Hernandez, said her client is innocent until proven guilty, so she believes DHR has no right to take custody of the child.

"In the United States, we have the Constitution of the United States, and it appears to me that DHR is trying to set that document on fire," said Hernandez. 

In the suit, Hernandez also asks for a restraining order against DHR personnel, because she said DHR social workers had showed up to Patterson's daughter's school without first notifying Patterson or her attorneys. 

Tuesday afternoon, November 14, Judge Jay York granted a no contact order, where DHR will not be allowed to contact Patterson or her child. 

FOX10 News reached out to DHR for a comment about the suit, but was told the Department "can't comment about ongoing lawsuits."

FOX10 News also attempted to ask DHR attorneys for comment after the Tuesday afternoon hearing, but the attorneys declined. 

However, during court, DHR attorneys said they are simply trying to protect children, and they believe they are not infringing on anyone's constitutional rights. 

Currently, Patterson's manslaughter and corpse abuse charges are pending a grand jury decision about whether or not to indict. 

In September, more details were released in court about Patterson's charges

Mobile Police investigators said Patterson may have left Kamden in a locked day care van in 90 degree weather for four hours. Police also said they believe Patterson dumped Kamden's body along Demetropolis Road in Mobile. 

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