• Teen in high-profile custody battle transferred to foster care


    BOSTON (MyFoxBoston.com) -- A 15-year-old at the center of a custody battle that has captured national attention was transferred to foster care Monday.

    WTIC's Beau Berman tweeted Justina Pelletier was being transferred to foster care with no medical treatment. She will remain custody of the Department of Children and Families in foster care until her family's next court date, scheduled for March 17.

    Pelletier's family appeared in court Monday to file motions to deny contempt and vacate a gag order. The family was visibly upset at the court appearance. Justina's mother, Linda Pelletier, was seen laying on the ground crying.

    Her father, Lou, was also consoled by one of his daughters. Later, Linda "started to pass out," according to a spokesman for the parents, and was taken to the hospital by stretcher. She was conscious, Berman said.

    Members of the media were barred from the fourth floor of the courthouse, where the juvenile court hearing was underway, Berman said.

    The Connecticut teen was treated at Children's Hospital in Boston for almost a year and was previously in Children's locked psychiatric unit for treatment.

    Pelletier was diagnosed with mitochondrial disease years ago – a condition causing muscle pain and weakness. Then, almost a year ago, she was admitted to Children's with the flu.

    At the hospital, her parents say a different set of doctors diagnosed her with "somatoform disorder," in short, saying she suffered from a mental illness, not mitochondrial disease, and that her symptoms were psychologically induced.

    When her parents reportedly disagreed and asked for a second opinion, they lost custody of their daughter. DCF was called in after just four days. The parents haven't had custody since last February.

    "We feel deeply saddened for Justina and her family today," said Cristy Balcells, the executive director of MitoAction, a support and advocacy group for families with mitochondrial disease, in a statement. "We are gravely concerned that Justina's medical needs are not being attended to, and we are concerned that her health will continue to decline without proper medical care."

    Hearings to potentially reverse the custody ruling were delayed several times.

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