ST. LOUIS – A child whose mother is accused of hiding him in a crawl space in his grandmother's home for nearly two years will remain in state custody for now.
But a southern Illinois judge made it clear Tuesday that the goal is to reunite 6-year-old Ricky Chekevdia with his father, Mike Chekevdia.
The father was awarded temporary custody two years ago.
Judge Kyle Vantrease set a Nov. 23 hearing on the custody issue. Before then, the judge says he expects the father to have some visits with the boy and for the child to have counseling.
The judge didn't grant visitation to the child's mother, Shannon Wilfong, who sobbed during the hearing and interrupted to insist she'd done nothing wrong.
Wilfong, 30, is charged with felony child abduction for allegedly hiding her son behind the wall during a custody battle. The grandmother, Diane Dobbs, is accused of aiding and abetting.
Wilfong was advised of the charges against her in her first court appearance on Tuesday. She told the judge that she plans to hire her own attorney.
Her preliminary hearing was scheduled for Sept. 23.