Mother charged with murder has parental rights terminated

Jenny Lancour | Daily Press
Michaela Denise Maupin, 29, of Gladstone, converses with her attorney, Jean-Paul Rudell, third from left, prior to a disposition hearing in Delta County Probate Court resulting in her parental rights being terminated for her two sons Friday morning. Maupin is accused of murder in the Oct. 7 drowning death of her 15-month-old daughter, Melina. Pictured above, from left, are Deputy Jeff Iverson, Maupin, Rudell, County Prosecutor Philip Strom, and John M.A. Bergman, attorney for Maupin’s two sons, ages 3 and 8.

Jenny Lancour | Daily Press Michaela Denise Maupin, 29, of Gladstone, converses with her attorney, Jean-Paul Rudell, third from left, prior to a disposition hearing in Delta County Probate Court resulting in her parental rights being terminated for her two sons Friday morning. Maupin is accused of murder in the Oct. 7 drowning death of her 15-month-old daughter, Melina. Pictured above, from left, are Deputy Jeff Iverson, Maupin, Rudell, County Prosecutor Philip Strom, and John M.A. Bergman, attorney for Maupin’s two sons, ages 3 and 8.

ESCANABA — The Gladstone mother charged in the drowning death of her 15-month-old daughter this fall had her parental rights taken away for her two sons during a child protective proceeding Friday morning in Delta County Probate Court, circuit court’s family division.

Judge Robert Goebel Jr. made the ruling after Michaela Denise Maupin, 29, agreed it would be in the best interest of her two sons. The judge also stated there was legal evidence the defendant’s parental rights should be terminated in the boys’ best interest.

That was the consensus of County Prosecutor Philip Strom, the two boys’ attorney John M.A. Bergman, and Kaitlyn Adrian, a Catholic Social Services foster care manager for the two boys.

Adrian, case manager for the boys, ages 3 and 8, took the stand during Friday’s disposition hearing. She said the termination of Maupin’s parental rights to her two sons was being considered due to the recent death of her daughter, Melina.

The toddler drowned in the family’s tub with the water running for 20 minutes on Oct. 7 while Maupin said she was getting ready for work. The mother found the child floating in the water, called 9-1-1, and attempted CPR. Melina was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Adrian went on to say that if the two boys were left under the care of Maupin, there was a likelihood of a high risk of harm to them. Plus the mother is facing severe criminal charges and a lengthy trial, added Adrian.

The case worker noted the two boys are “doing wonderful” in foster care with the older boy doing “very well” in school. Both have undergone mental health counseling with no extreme concerns being evident, she added.

The two boys appear to be adoptable and it will be the agency’s goal to have them placed in a home together, preferably with relatives, if possible, added Adrian.

Following Adrian’s testimony, Judge Goebel stated the court finds statutory grounds do exist for the termination of Maupin’s parental rights.

“The parent failed to provide proper care of the custody of the (children) and there is reasonable likelihood the (children) would be harmed if returned to the home,” stated Goebel, also noting there was child abuse in the death of Melina which he said he finds to be evidence of voluntary manslaughter.

Judge Goebel explained, at the initial disposition hearing in probate court following Melina’s death, the court was awarded temporary custody of Maupin’s two sons. With the termination of Maupin’s parental rights, the process will begin to make the boys permanent wards of the state within the next 28 days, he added.

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Jenny Lancour, (906) 786-2021, ext. 143, jlancour@dailypress.net

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