The custody battle over Justina Pelletier will continue, at least through the holidays.
Despite expectations of a decision to be released Friday morning, Judge Joseph Johnston, postponed his final custody decision until Jan. 10, meaning the teen will remain in Massachusetts state custody.
Beau Berman: “Judging by your emotions, it doesn’t sound like you got the result that you wanted today?”
Linda Pelletier (Justina’s mother): “You can tell by looking at me. Am I happy? No.”
Jennifer Pelletier (Justina’s sister): “It’s not concluded yet.”
Linda Pelletier: “It’s not concluded yet.”
It’s not concluded because sources say the judge will not decide on custody until next year at the earliest.
“It’s an incredibly important case. It’s unfortunate as to what’s happened to Justina and her family. Mitocondrial disease is poorly understood, both by clinicians and the broader community,” said Philip Borden, board president of Mito Action.
Justina was admitted to Boston Children’s Hospital in February with the flu.
She was previously diagnosed with mitochondrial disease, a condition causing muscle pain and weakness. But soon after admission to Boston Children’s, new doctors dismissed the mitochondrial diagnosis and said she had somatoform disorder – a mental issue.
When her parents disagreed, they were told to leave the hospital and accused of medical child abuse.
Within four days they had lost custody of Justina.
As the Pelletiers were inside the courthouse Friday morning, supporters stood outside awaiting an answer.
Many of those supporters were later disheartened by the resolution, or lack thereof.
“Hopefully, we’ll have a decision in January,” said Ginger DeShaney of Mito Action.
After the hearing, the Pelletiers emerged from the courthouse, with Lou shouting and Linda crying.
“(I’m) not allowed to talk, but just think of the big word E, with V-I-L after it,” said Lou Pelletier after the hearing.
After court, the family showed up at state offices for their scheduled weekly visit with Justina, who was wheeled into the facility after being greeted by her parents.
But after the one hour visit, the Pelletiers had to drive back to Connecticut, preparing to spend yet another holiday without their daughter.
“We were all hoping that Justina could go home for Christmas, and now to have it delayed once again, if that’s the case, it’s devastating,” said DeShaney.
What still remains somewhat unclear is where Justina Pelletier will be located during Christmas and up until that Jan. 10 hearing.