No. 42 March Term, 1979, Appeal from the Decree of the Court of Common Pleas, Orphans', of Allegheny County, at No. 132 of 1978
Joanne Ross Wilder, Wilder & Miller, P.C., Pittsburgh, for appellant.
Alexander J. Jaffurs, County Sol., James A. Esler, Cheryl Allen Craig, Asst. County Sols., Pittsburgh, for appellee.
Eagen, C. J., and O'Brien, Roberts, Nix, Manderino, Larsen and Flaherty, JJ. Manderino, J., did not participate in the decision of this case. Nix, J., concurs in the result.
This is an appeal from a decree of the Orphans' Court Division of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, granting a petition filed by appellee, Child Welfare Services of Allegheny County,*fn1 terminating involuntarily the parental rights of appellant, Joseph C. Weidmann, in his minor child, C.A.W. Following entry of the decree nisi appellant filed exceptions, which were denied. The court entered a final decree terminating the parental rights of appellant, and this appeal followed.
The facts are as follows. Appellant and Joanne Mae Weidmann (now Novosedliak) were married on April 18, 1966. During their marriage, two children were born, Pamela Jean Weidmann and C.A.W., the minor subject of these proceedings.
The couple and their children lived together in St. Petersburg, Florida, until 1969, when appellant was convicted of a crime and sentenced to a period of incarceration in the Florida State Penal System. At that time, his wife and the two children returned to the Pittsburgh area. While incarcerated, appellant apparently wrote to his wife's relatives, attempting to learn the whereabouts of his wife and children. His wife informed appellant by letter that she had told the children he was dead.
In March of 1972, appellant's wife began an action in divorce. Appellant originally retained counsel to contest the
action, but he withdrew his objections and the divorce became final on January 30, 1973. His former wife then remarried in February of 1973.
In August of 1976, C.A.W. was placed under the care of Child Welfare pursuant to a voluntary entrustment agreement signed by the mother, who told agency workers she had no idea of how to contact appellant. On January 19, March 1 and April 12, 1978, hearings were held in the Juvenile Section of the Family Division of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, after which the court entered an order ...