FORT WORTH, Texas – A 2-year-old and 4-year-old who were shown on videotape being taught how to smoke marijuana by two teens will remain in foster care, a judge ruled Thursday.
Juvenile Court Judge Kim Brown issued the temporary order during a brief hearing. She said no appropriate relatives could be found to care for the youngsters but that officials would keep searching.
Results of drug tests done on the boys last month were not revealed in court Thursday. Assistant District Attorney Clifford Bronson, citing the judge's gag order, said he could not comment on whether those results were a factor in the decision to keep the children in foster care.
But some of the children's relatives said the decision was unfair because those responsible for the incident remain jailed. Several relatives outside the courtroom Thursday said they can provide a loving home for the youngsters.
"It's no use for them being in the system," said Sharonda McCoy, 19, the boys' aunt, who said she talked to the youngsters recently. "This is hurting them. ... They just want to come home."
The children were removed from their home in Watauga, a Fort Worth suburb, in February after police investigating a burglary found the videotape while searching the house.
It shows one teen lighting a marijuana cigar in the 2-year-old's mouth, then laughing as the toddler coughs. One teen then tells him to pass it to his brother, who also smokes it and coughs, as the teens laugh. The youngsters keep smoking, and one teen asks: "You want that candy? You got the munchies?"
The children's uncle, Demetris McCoy, 17, of Watauga and Vanswan Polty, 18, of Fort Worth remained jailed Thursday on charges of two felony counts of injury to a child. A 16-year-old accused of videotaping the incident also was arrested.
The children's mother, 21-year-old Shatorria Russell, was asleep in a back bedroom and did not know what was going on, police have said. She was not arrested.
It's unclear how long the children will remain in the custody of Child Protective Services, but another hearing will be held in 60 days or less if an appropriate relative is found, officials said.
Cynthia Tucker, the boys' paternal grandmother, said after the hearing that she wants to care for them. She said she was upset by the ruling because she was never investigated by CPS as a possible caregiver.
Tucker, whose son is in prison, said she was upset when she saw the videotape. Tucker said the boys are normal tots who love to go to the park and zoo and play outside.
"I love my grandchildren," Tucker said. "I can give them the love they need."