Image: Creighton Medical Center
Nati Harnik  /  AP
The Creighton Medical Center in Omaha, Neb., where a teen from Michigan was dropped off by his mother.
updated 10/16/2008 4:38:18 PM ET 2008-10-16T20:38:18

Prosecutors in the home county of a Michigan woman who abandoned her 13-year-old son at a Nebraska hospital this week said Thursday they are seeking temporary custody of the woman's children.

Prosecutor Deborah Carley said a hearing would be held Thursday afternoon in Oakland County juvenile court on her petition for temporary custody of four children of Terri and Terrance Martin of Southfield.

A fifth sibling, a 16-year-old boy, is a foster child who already had been removed from the home by the Michigan Department of Human Services.

Terri Martin made a roughly 12-hour drive to leave the 13-year-old at an Omaha hospital under Nebraska's unique safe haven law.

Nebraska's law goes farther
All states have laws designed to allow desperate new mothers to leave their newborns in safe hands, but Nebraska's law allows parents to abandon older children and even teenagers at hospitals. The boy was the 18th child and the second from out of state abandoned in Nebraska since the law took effect in July.

Carley called Martin's trip a "symptom" of wider neglect against the child and possibly his four siblings.

She declined to offer details of alleged neglect, but said it was "significant" and should have been dealt with by the DHS.

"There were a lot of warning signs here for the DHS — they should have taken some action prior to this," she said. "There were enough things happening that indicated these children were not safe and were not in the best home for them."

DHS spokesman Edward Woods III said the state has worked with the prosecutor's office so it could file the petition. He declined to discuss specifics of the case, but said he's unaware of any incident where the children's safety had been compromised by his department.

Carley did not know if the Martins had a lawyer.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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