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Court Orders Teen to Remain in Protective Custody : Girl Briefly Meets With Parents She Turned In

August 16, 1986|NANCY WRIDE | Times Staff Writer

The brief meeting Friday may have been tense, but laughter also filtered out of the small room in Orange County Juvenile Court where Deanna Young sat with her parents.

Three days earlier, the 13-year-old had turned her parents, Bobby and Judith Young, in to Tustin police, accusing them of using drugs in their home.

Friday, after Deanna had been taken to a county children's shelter and her parents had been arrested and charged in Orange County Municipal Court with possession of cocaine, the family was reunited for 15 minutes behind closed doors and in the presence of a social worker.

"The mother and father were very supportive," said one source close to the case, who asked not to be identified. "The mother was particularly supportive of (Deanna), hugging her, sitting close. But also the dad. It apparently went well. You could hear them laughing."

Protective Custody

Earlier Friday, in a brief hearing, a Juvenile Court commissioner ordered Deanna to remain in the county's protective custody pending further investigation by the county Social Services Department.

She was taken a few hundred yards back to Orangewood, the county's shelter for abused, abandoned and dependent children.

Commissioner Betty Farrell gave Lois Cherness, the county social worker assigned to the case, authority to release the teen-ager to the custody of a responsible adult--possibly her parents--within the next three weeks.

Susan O'Brien, the court-appointed attorney representing Deanna, said Bobby and Judith Young could be granted custody of their daughter.

O'Brien said several people have offered to care for the blonde, blue-eyed teen-ager temporarily but that she did not know if they were relatives, friends or strangers.

One thing was very clear, O'Brien and Bob Theemling, the shelter's director, said Friday: Deanna wants to go home.

Juvenile Court

"She's fine. She's just fine. She told me I could tell you that she loves her parents and she's holding up well," O'Brien told at least two dozen reporters in the Juvenile Court lobby.

O'Brien, who was appointed to act as Deanna's voice in the custody proceedings and represent her interests before the court, would not comment on the demeanor of the parents or her client during the detention hearing.

However, she said: "She's a 13-year-old girl, acting like a 13-year-old girl. She's worried about how she looks, her makeup."

Farrell and other court officials would not comment on testimony given during the hearing, which O'Brien estimated lasted only five or 10 minutes. They would not say what arguments, if any, attorneys for each parent made.

But some people involved with the daughter and the investigation said they believe that Deanna and her parents had a good relationship before the cocaine possession charges.

Visit Allowed

On Thursday, Judith Young was allowed to visit her daughter at Orangewood, one source said. That visit, the source said, was emotional but went well.

Earlier in the week, after Deanna had shown up at the Tustin police station with a trash bag containing cocaine estimated to be worth $2,800 if sold on the street, the teen-ager told an officer that her father hit her in the face a few weeks ago.

However, Tustin Police Capt. Fred Wakefield said Friday that investigators quickly determined that it had been "a single incident" and that "there was no sign at all that this was an abusive family."

Officers who searched the Youngs' middle-class home found loving notes hanging on the refrigerator that had been exchanged between parents and daughter.

"It was a pretty decent relationship in the family between them all it seemed to us," Wakefield said. ". . . It seemed like a pretty happy family."

Deanna turned her parents in after she attended a Bible meeting for teens Tuesday at Peace Lutheran Church of Tustin, where she heard a talk by Orange County Sheriff's Deputy Bruce Stanley on the dangers of drugs.

Times staff writers Gary Jarlson and Mark Landsbaum contributed to this story.

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