ST. LOUIS, Missouri -- The Eighth Circuit Court of appeals has ruled in favor of a Garland County family, years after authorities seized their children from their home.
On January 12, 2015, child abuse investigators removed seven children from the home of Hal and Michelle Stanley in Hot Springs. At the time, investigators said they had reason to believe the children were being abused. The Stanleys homeschooled their kids, and gave them a substance called "Miracle Mineral Solution" (MMS). The FDA warns MMS can be hazardous.
In 2014, the Stanleys' oldest son, Jonathan, had convinced a family friend to contact the DHS Division of Children and Family Services to explain that his siblings were not adequately clothed, and that one was being abused. According to the Eighth Circuit, A DHS investigator unsubstantiated that claim in December 2014.
The next month, however, Jonathan made further allegations of abuse against his parents. That prompted an investigator with the Arkansas State Police Crimes Against Children Division to remove the children from the home.
On the day authorities served a search warrant at the Stanley home, a doctor examined each of the Stanleys' children. They found each child was healthy, and not showing symptoms of exposure to a toxic substance. However, the Crimes Against Children's investigator, Katherine Finnegan, and the Garland County Sheriff's Office substantiated Jonathan Stanley's claims of abuse, and ordered that the children be removed from the home. They were then placed into DHS custody, and sent to two different cities.
After several months, the children were eventually allowed to return home, and no charges were filed against Hal or Michelle Stanley. The decision to seize the children resulted in multiple legal challenges. In 2017, a lower court ruled that Investigator Finnegan removed the Stanley children from the home without an adequate basis. On Friday, the Eighth Circuit agreed with that ruling.
To read the decision, click here.
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