ATLANTA — A NINE-YEAR-OLD boy at the center of a dispute between parents whose babies were mistakenly switched at birth will remain with his biological mother for now even though the woman lost a Supreme Court bid for custody.
The high court Monday refused to hear Jodie Paul's appeal of a ruling that awarded custody to the boy's adoptive parents. Attorneys on both sides said the couple, Eugene and Edith Moore of Fort Knox, Ky., will likely have to go to state court to get the child returned to them by Mrs. Paul.
Paul, of Griffin, Ga., said her son Melvin doesn't want to return to the couple.
Melvin has been living with Paul since Thanksgiving 1991, when he came for a visit and she refused to return him, saying his adoptive mother had abused him. Mrs. Moore has denied the allegation.
Superior Court Judge Frank Eldridge in Atlanta gave the Moores custody while allowing Paul visitation rights. But Paul refused to recognize the order. A contempt of court complaint filed by the Moores was dismissed.
The Moores filed a writ of habeas corpus in Superior Court in Spalding County requesting Paul to show why she won't turn Melvin over, but that judge refused to consider the request until the appeals process was exhausted for Judge Eldridge's order. Now it's up to the Moores to request another hearing.
Paul's lawyers said they are waiting to see what the Moores will do.
The switch was discovered five years after it occurred. Blood tests showed that neither Paul nor her former husband was her son Cameron's biological parent.
Paul learned the Moores had adopted her biological son. She adopted Cameron and sought custody of Melvin.