Father of injured toddlers fighting for custody

by Brandon Richards bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC-TV) - Michael Slaydon said he has done everything the state has asked him to do to regain custody of his children.

"I've done the parenting classes for them. I've done the drug analysis. I've done the psych evaluation," said Slaydon. "I've done the whole process that they've asked me to do."

But Slaydon still doesn't know why that may not be enough when he goes to court this week.

Slaydon is seeking custody of the three children he shares with Jasmine Stanley. Stanley was charged with seven counts of child cruelty at one time or another since 2007. In August and September of 2007, Stanley was arrested after authorities said an investigation found she and Slaydon's two-month-old twins had been abused. The twins, along with an older sibling (fathered by a different man other than Slaydon), were taken into state custody.

While three of Stanley's children were in state care, she and Michael gave birth to another child.

After more than a year, Stanley regained custody of all of her children. But a few months later in 2009, Stanley was arrested again after taking her 18-month-old daughter to the hospital, unconscious with massive head trauma. An investigation by authorities also found signs of abuse to Stanley's youngest child.

In January, Stanley pled "no contest" and was sentenced to 30 years in prison. If Stanley does not violate her probation, she will only serve 12 years.

The kids are currently in state custody. Slaydon gets to see his children twice a month in supervised visits.

Slaydon said he doesn't believe Stanley, his then live-in girlfriend whom he had known since they were teenagers, would harm their children.

"I was at work when it happened and I mean there was no signs at all that would ever make me think that she abused the kids," said Slaydon.

Slaydon now thinks the judge and the state are using the fact that he thinks Stanley is innocent against him.

"They're saying I can't protect the kids since I couldn't protect them before," said Slaydon. "Even if she does get out she's not suppose to be around any children, unless supervised, so I mean she wouldn't be no harm to the kids even if I did get them back."

Slaydon still talks with Stanley. His most recent conversation with Stanley was on Saturday.  According to Slaydon, Stanley said she wants the children to go to him.

"I've kept a stable home. I've paid the child support and everything the foster parents would need, like their beds, clothing, food, diapers. I've helped supply all that. And I've still been a part of their life. I call them almost everyday," said Slaydon.

Slaydon knows the odds of the judge ruling in his favor this week are against him, especially since he said his lawyer does not even believe he will win custody.

Slaydon said close friends and family members have kept him going. Slaydon said if he ends up losing his custody battle, he will appeal the decision.

"I love my kids to death. I would do anything for them," he said. "I'm willing to take it as far as it takes to get my kids back."

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