Autistic boys to stay in foster care

By Laura McVicker, Columbian staff writer

Published:

Updated: June 28, 2011, 9:08 PM

 

Two autistic boys reportedly kept in a caged room will remain in foster care, a Clark County Superior Court commissioner decided Tuesday morning.

The boys, ages 6 and 7, have been in state care since the April 12 arrest of their father, John Eckhart, 30, and his live-in girlfriend, Alayna Higdon, 26, on suspicion of unlawful imprisonment. The couple allegedly held the boys captive in a mostly empty room with a cagelike door.

As is standard in child custody cases, a court commissioner must review the temporary placement of the brothers every 30 days.

On Tuesday, Assistant Attorney General Dana Gigler told Superior Court Commissioner Carin Schienberg there hasn’t been a substantial change warranting a shift in care. She asked that the boys remain in state care. Schienberg agreed with the request and set another review hearing July 26. A trial to determine permanent custody of the boys is set for Oct. 7.