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Boy accused in fatal fire to remain in foster care

April 23, 2020 GMT

EUREKA, Ill. (AP) — A 9-year-old Illinois boy charged with murder in a mobile home fire that killed five people will remain with foster guardians, and his father will be allowed unsupervised visits.

The Pantagraph in Bloomington reports Woodford County State’s Attorney Greg Minger told a judge on Wednesday that the boy has done well in his foster placement, in counseling and in school. However, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Service said because of the coronavirus pandemic, the boy’s father hasn’t been evaluated to determine if he could regain custody of the boy.

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Judge Charles Feeney says the court won’t hold it against the father that he can’t get certain services done as a result of pandemic.

The April 2019 fire near the central Illinois village of Goodfield killed a 1-year-old, two 2-year-olds, a 34-year-old man and a 69-year-old woman.

The boy’s mother, who survived the fire, said her son suffers from schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and attention deficit disorder. She since has given up her parental rights.

The Associated Press is not naming the mother or the fire victims so as not to identify the child.

Woodford County State’s Attorney Greg Minger has said if convicted of murder, the child could be placed on probation for five years, but not beyond age 21.

The boy’s foster guardians are related to his father and the judge authorized unsupervised visits between the boy and his father. Hoewever, Feeney said final decision to allow unsupervised visits was up to DCFS.

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