Appeal, No. 4, Feb. T., 1957, from order of Court of Common Pleas of Wayne County, Jan. T., 1956, No. 66, in case of Commonwealth ex rel. Jeanne E. Grue v. Virginia H. Sanford et al. Order affirmed.
David M. Boyd, for appellants.
Robert T. Weniger, for appellee.
Before Rhodes, P.j., Hirt, Gunther, Wright, Woodside, Ervin, and Carr, JJ.
[ 183 Pa. Super. Page 33]
Jeanne E. Grue, relatrix and natural mother, filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus to secure custody of her son, Hartley J. Sanford, 3d, from Virginia H. Sanford, the step-mother.
Relatrix, a native of California, married Hartley J. Sanford, Jr., on September 30, 1945 while he was stationed in Fresno, California as a member of the armed forces. Two children were born to their marriage, the boy, subject of the petition, and a girl, Sandra Lee, born about three years later.
In the fall of 1951, they moved to Wayne County, Pennsylvania and rented a house near the husband's parents. Some months later domestic trouble arose between the parties, and the wife seriously considered taking the children and returning to California. According to the testimony, the husband attempted to take the children from her, but succeeded in taking the boy only and placing him in the custody of the paternal grandparents. It was also testified that relatrix went to the home of the grandparents seeking the child and was informed that he was not there; that she telephoned Fresno, California, and was advised by an attorney to return to California while she still had the daughter; that she went back to California and lived there with Sandra Lee while the boy remained in Wayne County at the home of the paternal grandparents; and that she wrote to the boy and sent him presents in care of the grandparents.
The parties were subsequently divorced and Hartley J. Sanford, Jr., married Virginia H. Sanford, respondent, on August 2, 1953. On February 19, 1954, relatrix married Wallace Grue to whom she later had a child. No children were born to Hartley J. Sanford, Jr., and Virginia H. Sanford. The boy, subject of this
[ 183 Pa. Super. Page 34]
appeal, came to live with his father and stepmother on the date of their marriage and has been there ever since.
The father, Hartley J. Sanford, Jr., died in an accident on November 23, 1955. The relatrix was not notified of the tragic incident until January 12, 1956, despite the fact that correspondence was carried on between her and the parents of her deceased former husband. On January 12, 1956, she received a letter from a former neighbor in Wayne County who mentioned the accident. It is admitted that neither the paternal grandparents nor the respondent made any effort to notify relatrix of the death of the boy's ...