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Conn. mom collapses after learning she won't get daughter back

  |   Feb. 24, 2014 at 6:09 PM
BOSTON, Feb. 24 (UPI) -- A Connecticut woman collapsed as she left a Boston courthouse Monday after learning she would not regain custody of her teenage daughter, official said.

The woman, Linda Pelletier of West Hartford, had left a juvenile court hearing at which she and her husband Lou learned their ill daughter Justina, 15, would be transferred from Wayside Youth and Family Support Network in Framingham, Mass., to foster care in Merrimac, Mass., family members said.

Emergency personnel took the woman from the courthouse property on a stretcher.

The Pelletiers had been seeking to regain custody of their daughter since February 2013, when she was hospitalized in Boston with symptoms common to mitochondrial disease, the Hartford (Conn.) Courant.

Doctors said they determined their daughter's symptoms, including weakness, headaches and abdominal pain, were psychologically induced, and diagnosed her with somatoform disorder. The Pelletiers maintain she has mitochondrial disease.

Hospital officials refused to allow the Pelletiers to take their daughter elsewhere for treatment, citing suspicions of medical child abuse, the newspaper said.

The state assumed custody of Justina soon afterward.

Patrick Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition, said at the courthouse his organization has started a Free Justina" fund, adding, "Justina is being moved to foster care and they (her parents) are outraged by that. There is no medical care there."

Another hearing on the custody issue was scheduled for Mar. 17.

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