Columbus Convert Turns 18, Released From State Custody
In a hearing that took only minutes, Juvenile Court Magistrate Mary Goodrich dismissed the case and released Rifqa Bary from foster care. Bary had been in the custody of Franklin County Children's Services as her parents tried to regain custody of her. When Bary turned 18, the case became moot. Rifqa Bary's attorney Kort Gatterdam says his client is relieved. "To know that the case is over, that she's an adult, that she can no longer be controlled by her parents, is an important step for her," Gatterdam says. Gatterdam would not reveal Bary's future plans. She is an undocumented immigrant and faces immigration questions. Speaking for Bary's parents, Mohamed and Aysha, is their attorney Omar Tarazi. He says he expects Bary and her parents to reconcile. "There is still, underneath everything, an underlying love between the parents and their daughter and they will get back together again," Tarazi says. The parents issued a statement that read: "No matter what has happened, you will always be our daughter, we love you, and the door will always be open." Tarazi said Bary sent her parents letters and a video to express her love for them. But Rifqa Bary's Attorney Kort Gatterdam still maintains that the parents were not accepting of their daughter.
"I think unfortunately the parent's beliefs clashed so severely with Rifqa's that they were unable to accept what it is she stood for and stands for today," says Gatterdam.
Just before Bary's birthday the Magistrate ruled that reconciliation was not possible, but investigators in Florida and Ohio say they did not find any evidence of abuse. Jen Monroe, WOSU News.