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Mom who passed out drunk on Arapahoe Rd. won't lose custody

Posted by on Feb. 9, 2011 at 12:25 PM
  • 32 Replies

DENVER -- A 3-year-old girl was found alone on Arapahoe Road after dark by a passing driver, who says the little girl was sobbing for her mother because she thought her mother was dead. 

But Tabatha Martinez wasn’t dead; she was passed out in a nearby ditch with a blood alcohol level of 0.402 -- four times the legal limit.

The 31-year-old mother was arrested by the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Department, convicted of child abuse and sentenced to 20 days in jail.

So why did a Denver County judge rule she would get custody of her child back when she got out of jail?

That’s the question our FOX31 News investigation tried to answer.

The child’s father, Lucas Merklin, contacted FOX 31 News for help after Denver County Magistrate Elizabeth Leith ruled Tabatha would continue to have 50-50 custody of the couple's daughter after she served her jail time.

Merklin says he made Magistrate Leith aware of the child abuse conviction in Arapahoe County and repeatedly warned her about Tabatha’s ongoing alcohol problem.   “I’ve let the courts know over and over again she has an alcohol problem and Judge Leith has done nothing,” Merklin said.

Merklin says he asked Magistrate Leith to mandate supervised visits until Tabatha can get her “alcohol problem" under control, but he says Magistrate Leith wouldn’t listen.

FOX31 News attempted to ask Magistrate Leith why she ruled Tabatha would get unrestricted custody, but Magistrate Leith wouldn’t answer our question.

Instead Magistrate Leith hid from our cameras in her chambers.  

She eventually came out just long enough to tell us “the law prohibits her from talking about the case.”

But according to Magistrate Leith’s written decision obtained by FOX 31 News, Leith stated that she “does not find (Tabatha) is a present danger to the child…and does not find an order restricting her contact with the child is necessary or appropriate.”

We caught up with Tabatha Martinez the day she had to turn herself into the Arapahoe County Jail. She did not want to comment.

But the child’s father is speaking out because he’s afraid of what could happen when Tabatha regains custody.

“That’s my job as a man and as a father to protect my child and if the system can’t help me then what do I do?" said Merklin.  "This is the only child I have; I just want what’s best for her.”

Tabatha Martinez was released from jail and has not yet contacted the father about getting custody of their daughter, but when she does Lucas Merklin is under a Denver County court order to turn the child over to her mother.

Tabatha is required by the Arapahoe County courts to take parenting classes and have alcohol and drug evaluation and treatment.

 

here is a link to see the video

http://www.kdvr.com/news/kdvr-judge-says-mom-convicted-of-child-abuse-wont-lose-custody-20110208,0,702132.story

by on Feb. 9, 2011 at 12:25 PM
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Replies (1-10):
Holly.
by on Feb. 9, 2011 at 12:26 PM

I heard about this on the news the other day... grr. She gives us Denverites a bad name!

Lanie_momofone
by on Feb. 9, 2011 at 12:28 PM

 I realize that being an alcoholic is a disease, but children should not have to be a part of that, she should have gotten that little girl taken away from her with supervised visits..thats just insane.

Momtogirls0823
by Gold Member on Feb. 9, 2011 at 12:29 PM

Unbelievable.  That poor little girl.  I really hope they can get that changed.  That pitiful excuse for a "mom" doesn't deserve any custody at all.  

Mama07Shorty
by on Feb. 9, 2011 at 12:29 PM


Quoting Holly.:

I heard about this on the news the other day... grr. She gives us Denverites a bad name!


i know right, I couldnt believe this when i seen it on fox tues night

Mama07Shorty
by on Feb. 9, 2011 at 12:35 PM
bump
MBAwife2010
by on Feb. 9, 2011 at 12:37 PM

Why do these things always happen in Denver? Sheesh. I'm happy we live in the Republic of Boulder, 20 sq miles surrounded by reality. 

Samanthamommy
by on Feb. 9, 2011 at 12:37 PM

I agree

Quoting Lanie_momofone:

 I realize that being an alcoholic is a disease, but children should not have to be a part of that, she should have gotten that little girl taken away from her with supervised visits..thats just insane.


MBAwife2010
by on Feb. 9, 2011 at 12:37 PM

Are you in Denver? 

Quoting Holly.:

I heard about this on the news the other day... grr. She gives us Denverites a bad name!


LoriLou75
by on Feb. 9, 2011 at 12:39 PM
IDK.... there has got to be anotherside to this. She will be taking parenting classes and participating in alcohol treatmet. Obviously there should be some further restrictions in place to protect this child, i cant help but think this isnt the complete story, and if it is....thats messed up.
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MBAwife2010
by on Feb. 9, 2011 at 12:39 PM

I meant in Denver or the surrounding area?

Quoting MBAwife2010:

Are you in Denver? 

Quoting Holly.:

I heard about this on the news the other day... grr. She gives us Denverites a bad name!



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