A local custody case now in the national spotlight was back in a Dickson County courtroom Monday.
A chancery judge heard a motion to dismiss a petition filed by David and Kim Hodgin, the former foster parents of nine-year-old Sonya McCaul, to terminate her biological father’s parental rights to officially adopt her.
“They’re trying to get it dismissed on a technicality instead of listening to the merits of the case, and we know that this court finally will listen to Sonya, what’s best for Sonya and in her best interest,” said David Hodgin.
The judge made no decision on the motion, but has decided to take it under advisement, which means the judge will issue a memorandum opinion with his decision. It could take several weeks.
The judge also heard two motions filed by the Hodgins as well.
The first motion is for a new guardian ad litem and the other for visitation so the family can see Sonya.
The Hodgins have not seen Sonya since January when a judge ordered the girl be placed into custody of her biological father, John McCaul of Nebraska.
“She hasn’t heard from us. Nothing. We feel like she probably feels like we’ve given up on her,” said Kim Hodgin.
Back in May, a judge denied the request to have the state bring Sonya back to Dickson County.
McCaul initially had his parental rights terminated by the state after he was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for felony weapons convictions. The sentence was later reduced reversing the state’s decision and after a five year court battle McCaul got temporary custody of Sonya.
John McCaul was in court Monday, but did not take any questions from reporters. In a recent hearing, Sonya’s court-appointed guardian said the girl is doing well in the Nebraska home she shares with her father and has no desire to return to Tennessee. The Hodgins’ have publicly disputed those claims.
Also in court Monday, the judge dismissed a defamation lawsuit filed by McCaul against the Hodgins and several other people.
- June 18, 2014: Tenn. foster child doing well with dad in Nebraska, attorneys say
- May 16, 2014: Dickson foster parents denied custody of 9-year-old girl
- April 2, 2014: Dickson family fights to get foster child, 9, back