EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSCouple At The Center Of High-Profile Torture Case Lose Custody Of Newborn Daughter
from Eyewitness News Online
Reported by: Katelyn Sykes
Web Producer: Katelyn Sykes
Reported: Sep. 6, 2013 9:42 AM EDT
Updated: Sep. 6, 2013 3:18 PM EDT
Ripley , Jackson County , West Virginia
The Jackson County couple at the center of a high-profile torture case that was later dismissed said Child Protective Services has taken custody of their newborn daughter.
The 16-page order was part of an investigation the agency was doing into the family of Peter and Stephanie Lizon. It was part of the reversal of guardianship of their 2-year-old son. He was in the care of Stephanie Lizon's parents.
"They continued assuring us that it's routine formality, that their evaluation of us is so far is largely positive, that they were recommending the court to return our child immediately," Peter Lizon said. "In fact, they apparently had this report out for a few days and were stalling in order to push the removal order through the court."
Stephanie Lizon said Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Tom Evans granted an emergency removal order on Thursday, placing her 3-week-old daughter into CPS custody. She said the court is using dismissed evidence as grounds for the order. She said the order alleges ongoing domestic violence within the house and her daughter, Bozena, isn't safe.
But Peter Lizon said the couple's children "are well provided for. This apparently isn't considered welfare of children. Welfare of children is the parents' compliance."
Stephanie Lizon said Child Protective Services "never accused us of hurting our children. They never accused us of any incident where our children were harmed."
Peter Lizon said the report clearly said that he and his wife are committed and capable parents, but their attitudes toward CPS are sufficient to consider us non-cooperative and, therefore not eligible to raise the children.
The Department of Health and Human Resources said it couldn't comment about the case.
The Jackson County Sheriff's Office and Jackson County Prosecutor's Office could not be reached for comment.
Last month, charges were dismissed against Peter Lizon. Evans dismissed the charges without prejudice, meaning that the charges could be refiled or additional charges could be filed against him. Lizon had been charged with three felony counts of malicious assault and three counts of domestic battery in connection with the alleged abuse of his wife, Stephanie.
In the motion asking for the dismissal, special prosecutor Craig Tatterson contended the state lacked sufficient admissible evidence to proceed to trial. The special prosecutor said that Stephanie Lizon allegedly told another woman, while the women were both residents at the Family Crisis Intervention Center in Parkersburg, that Peter Lizon had brutally wounded and tortured her and had been chained up off and on for 10 years, her husband routinely beat her and burned her with a frying pan.
But Tatterson said in the motion that the statements that Stephanie Lizon allegedly made to the woman were "textbook hearsay" and could be introduced at trial. He also said that Stephanie Lizon later testified at a preliminary hearing that a burn to her back was accidental and happened when she and her husband collided with each other. She testified that the bruises to her side were caused by the goat and that the injury to her knees was caused by tripping. Lizon added that the injury to her feet was caused by a farming accident.
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