Judge denies custody of kids for parents in suicide pact

By Patrick Santomauro, Producer, psantomauro@wkmg.com
Published On: Dec 10 2012 07:49:08 AM EST
Updated On: Dec 10 2012 06:28:57 PM EST

A judge rules that the Brevard County children, whose parents are accused of threatening to kill them, will stay under Department of Children and Families custody.

MELBOURNE, Fla. -

A judge rules that the Brevard County children, whose parents are accused of threatening to kill them, will stay under Department of Children and Families custody.

James and Mai Firth were unable to attend a custody hearing for their daughters on Friday. A judge decided to keep 2-year-old Kiah Firth and 4-year-old Kristin Firth in the custody of the Department of Children and Families instead of with their grandmother until the children's parents could appear in court.

On Monday, the attorney for the Firth family told the judge that there was no indication the children are in danger, but the judge said it was clear the Firths had a suicide pact so the children won't be placed with them.

The Firths then requested again for the children to be placed with their grandmother in Ormond Beach, but the state said the parents could get to the children if they were placed there. The state also said the grandmother didn't comply with the DCF home study.

Melbourne police say James and Mai Firth threatened to kill themselves and their two daughters because their 4-year-old needed treatment for autism and the family was running out of money.

During a nationwide search, DCF investigators found the two girls in California and flew them back to Brevard County on Friday.

DCF was investigating the parents for child abuse after an FIT staffer reported the alleged suicide threats. Officers say James and Mai Firth are not facing any criminal charges. DCF plans to continue the child abuse investigation following Monday's hearing.

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