Teen at center of custody dispute returns home

THOMPSON, Conn. (WTNH) — Justina Pelletier, the Connecticut teenager who was the focus of a long custody battle between her parents and Massachusetts officials, is back with her parents today.

She was released back into the custody of her parents Wednesday morning. The West Hartford homecoming was16 months in the making and is a bittersweet occasion for the Pelletier family.

“Looked at my phone, saw my wife’s name on the cell phone, and picked it up and who is it? Justina screaming, ‘Daddy, daddy, I’m coming home,'” Lou Pelletier said.

Pelletier said the saga started in February 2013 when Justina was brought to Boston Children’s Hospital where her family was told she was suffering from Somatoform disease, which is a mental disorder.

The family disagreed and the state of Massachusetts accused them of medical abuse and took custody of the then 14-year-old. The family has since agreed to a four-point plan prompting this homecoming.

“That’s what we wanted from the get-go,” Pelletier said. “Get her back to her Tufts doctors, get back to seeing her again.”

Justina has no feeling below her hips and is confined to a wheelchair. Using the family pool, Justina’s treatment will begin at home. Her family also plans to take legal action against those who kept her from coming home.

“That can never happen again and I will not stop until there is a Justina’s law,” her father said.

Because Justina is a minor her family isn’t discussing the details of her medical care throughout the past 16 months. They’re just saying she’s going to be able to continue the care and recover at home.

Tina Detelj reporting

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