Appeal from the Circuit Court of the 10th Judicial Circuit, Peoria County, Illinois, Circuit No. 12-JA-51 Honorable Mark E. Gilles, Judge, Presiding.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Lytton
JUSTICE LYTTON delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Holdridge and O'Brien concurred in the judgment and opinion.
¶ 1 Following a combined adjudication and dispositional hearing, the trial court found respondent's minor son, A.P., abused and neglected and found respondent, King P., to be unfit to care for A.P. On appeal, respondent argues that the trial court's finding that he was unfit was against the manifest weight of the evidence. We affirm.
¶ 3 On March 17, 2012, the State filed a two-count juvenile petition. Count I alleged that A.P. was abused in that on or about March 6, 2012, when A.P. was four days old, A.P.'s mother's paramour, Samuel Milan, punched A.P. in the head and threw him on a bed. Count II alleged that A.P. was neglected due to an injurious environment, in part, because: (1) Milan punched A.P. in the head and threw him on a bed on March 6, 2012; (2) on the same date, A.P.'s mother and Milan were involved in a domestic violence incident during which Milan hit A.P.'s mother in the head and back and A.P.'s mother stabbed Milan with a knife in his shoulder and cut him on his arm; and (3) A.P.'s mother has mental health problems, including bipolar disorder. The petition contained no allegations against respondent because the State had not yet determined he was A.P.'s legal father.
¶ 4 On April 26, 2012, the court held a combined adjudication and dispositional hearing with respect to A.P.'s mother. At that hearing, the State presented a factual basis for the petition. The State explained that employees of the Peoria Police Department and the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) would testify that on March 6, 2012, A.P.'s mother and Milan were involved in a domestic violence incident. During that incident, Milan punched and hit A.P.'s mother in the head and back and punched A.P. in the head and threw him on a bed. A.P.'s mother then grabbed a knife and stabbed Milan in the shoulder and cut his arm. The State would also present testimony from employees of DCFS, as well as medical records, showing that A.P.'s mother has suffered from mental health problems, including bipolar disorder.
¶ 5 After considering the allegations of the petition and the factual basis presented by the State, the court found that A.P. was an abused minor, pursuant to count I of the juvenile petition, and a neglected minor in that his environment was injurious to his welfare, as set forth in count II of the juvenile petition. Thereafter, the court found A.P.'s mother dispositionally unfit.
¶ 6 On May 24, 2012, respondent was found to be A.P.'s legal father based on DNA testing.
On June 14, 2012, respondent filed an answer to the juvenile petition, stipulating to the allegations in the petition but denying that "he contributed to the abuse or neglect."
¶ 7 On August 2, 2012, the State presented the court with a memo outlining respondent's criminal history, as well as police reports from Peoria and Minneapolis regarding the kidnapping of A.P. According to the police reports, A.P. and his half-sister, M.M., were in the custody of FamilyCore, a social service agency in Peoria. On May 10, 2012, prior to a scheduled visit, A.P.'s mother took A.P. and M.M. from a FamilyCore employee, placed them in a vehicle, and then got into the vehicle herself. The driver of the vehicle drove off, and an Amber alert was issued.
¶ 8 The FamilyCore employee told police that she had seen respondent before and believed that he was in the passenger seat of the vehicle that fled with A.P., M.M. and their mother inside. Approximately 10 hours after the abduction, officers of the Minneapolis Police Department found A.P.'s mother and M.M. in a garage in Minneapolis. A.P.'s mother told police that respondent forced her to abduct M.M. and A.P. and then assaulted her and left with A.P. The officers took M.M. to a shelter and learned that A.P. was at the same shelter with respondent's mother. The children were taken to a hospital and treated for pneumonia and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). The next day, respondent turned himself in to the Minneapolis Police Department.
¶ 9 Respondent's criminal history showed that respondent, who was 25-years-old, had been convicted of the following crimes: using a false name in 2005; obstructing legal process, arrest or firefighting in 2006; assault in 2006; terroristic threats (a felony) and a probation violation in 2007; ...