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Twins Reunited With Each Other, Mom After Custody Dispute

April 05, 1998| From Associated Press

PLYMOUTH, Mass. — Tara and Sheena Raymond, the 13-year-old twins who were split between their parents for two years and then taken away altogether, have finally returned home.

Last week, Plymouth County Probate Judge James V. Menno awarded sole custody of the twins to their mother, Jeanne M. Vento of Plymouth.

The girls, who moved in on Thursday, will be permitted only limited, supervised visits with their father, Dana Raymond of Wareham.

"There aren't words to describe how wonderful it is to have your children home," Vento said Thursday.

The court decision resolves a bitter custody dispute that made national headlines when a judge ordered the twins split between their parents on Valentine's Day in 1995.

Tara and Sheena lived apart for more than two years until March 1997, when another judge ruled neither parent was fit to care for them.

In a widely televised scene, the kicking and screaming girls were taken away from the courthouse by social workers. They were then placed in a school for troubled girls.

Since then, Raymond and Vento, who divorced in 1993, have been in and out of court seeking access to the girls.

Vento has admitted a past addiction to alcohol and prescription drugs and Raymond has a history of domestic abuse, according to court testimony.

In the order, Menno credited Vento's cooperation with social service officials in creating a stable home for the girls.

Vento, who has since remarried and has a 4-year-old daughter, said she plans to enroll the twins in the seventh grade at a local school on Monday.

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