One day in August 2007, Cleo Klepzig picked up her 10-year-old adopted son from the home of a respite care provider near Helena, Mont., and drove him to the airport, where they both boarded a flight to the East Coast.Remember the international version, when Torry Hansen put Artyom on a plane to Russia with a note, saying she no longer wished to parent him? I posted about the failings in Tennessee law that prevented criminal charges for abandonment. Seems Delaware law doesn't share those failings. . . .
She told the boy’s caregivers that she was taking him to visit his biological sisters in Delaware, the state from which he’d been adopted several years before.
But that’s not what she did.
Instead, she took him to the Delaware Family Services Division office in Wilmington. She found a state employee, gave her a stack of papers documenting the boy’s situation and said, “I’m leaving him with you.”
Then she walked away. She got on another plane, flew back to Montana, and went on with her life.
* * *
Klepzig has a new home in Oregon and a new job as the head of a public agency in Albany.
And the state of Delaware has a warrant out for her arrest on a child abandonment charge.
Klepzig, interviewed last week by the Gazette-Times after the warrant came to light, claims the boy was abusing a younger sibling and that she returned him to Delaware authorities only after exhausting all possible avenues to get help.
“This isn’t about just what I did,” she told the newspaper. “This is about a really broken system.”
But law enforcement authorities in Delaware and Montana say there’s simply no excuse for abandoning a child.
Still hoping for change
4 weeks ago