Mom keep kids, gains new home in interim

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 10, 2002

If anyone knows the power of a helping hand, it’s Mary Torrey Thomas and her family.

And if it hadn’t been for the efforts of numerous people in Selma City, especially Attorney Rose Sanders, Thomas said, &uot;we would have lost our children.&uot;

Monday’s child dependency hearing marked the second hearing battle between Thomas and the Department of Human Resources. The first hearing occurred Aug. 6.

Although Thomas has yet to find a new home, neither she, her husband or their five children will live at the Craig Motel on Highway 80 East every night as they have been for more than a month.

They now will have the luxury of residing in a four-bedroom house located on Lapsey Street, an offer forwarded by Sanders.

Almost two months ago, DHR took Thomas’ kids after news footage aired depicting the living conditions at their mobile home. The home was infested with rattlesnakes, which the government agency said made the home not suitable for the children to live in.

Thomas thought by turning to the television media for help maybe someone would rid her mobile home of the rattlesnakes that had made it their home too.

It was a mistake she has regretted.

Thomas said that before the children were taken, DHR had outlined what she had to do in order to prevent the intervention, but, according to Thomas, the agreement was violated by DHR and not her.

After the August hearing in the chambers of Judge Nathaniel Walker, Thomas was granted custody again. They remained in the same hotel for more than eight weeks, an unforeseen length, enabled by the financial assistance of Carl Moore and Sister Ann of the Edmundite Missions, local churches and other individuals.

Thomas said numerous broken promises and misleading information stalled the process almost a month.

As for the donations and other items provided by the general public, &uot;Our family is very grateful,&uot; she said. &uot;I can’t say no more than that. Everyone else has just given us turmoil.&uot;

An update dependency hearing will be held Oct. 21 to make sure the Thomas family is settled.

Their attorney, Michael Jackson, said of yesterday’s decision, &uot;This appears to be a move in the right direction for the Thomas family. They don’t have to worry about snakes attacking them now, and they can move forward and become one big happy family.&uot;