Mom charged in infant death was still allowed custody after prior conviction

Mom charged in infant death was still allowed custody after prior conviction

EMMET COUNTY, Mich. (WPBN/WGTU) -- On Wednesday, an 32-year-old mother was charged in the death of her infant daughter.

This wasn't the first time she had been charged in the death of one of her own children.

"These are sad, tragic cases involving infants and children that, you know, can’t fend for themselves," said Sheriff Peter Wallin.

According to court documents, Bryan went to prison in Oklahoma after another one of her daughters drowned in the bathtub with her in 2011.

After checking with Tulsa County Court in Oklahoma, there was no record of anything preventing Bryan from having custody of children in the future.

We spoke with Mathew Lesky, a family lawyer in Petoskey, not about this case specifically, but what it would take to not allow a parent to have custody of another child.

"Often times it’s not decided in a matter of months," Lesky said. "You may have a case that’s open where the child isn’t removed at all, where there's a court case that’s ‘Yes, there’s allegations sufficient to warrant a petition being opened, but no we don’t think they’re serious enough to remove the child.'”

Even if Child Protective Services opens a case against a parent, it can take months or years for it to end.

According to court papers, Lisa Bryan had to take a number of parenting courses.

Lesky says if there is a case against a parent, it is not uncommon for child protective services to close a case if a parent goes through mandatory classes or training.

“They might ask the parent to take a parenting class, to attend counseling, to do something to address a particular need that’s been identified," Lesky said. "If the parent does that, they’ll close the preventative services case and say ‘Great, you did what we asked you to do and that’s fine, yourchild seems safe, you seem appropriate now and we’re going to leave that be.'”

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