No. 1298 Pittsburgh, 1981, Appeal from Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division, of Armstrong County at No. 1981-0009, Juvenile.
Marie Bittner, Pittsburgh, for appellant.
George R. Kepple, Kittanning, for Barclay, participating party.
Mark P. Cancilla, Pittsburgh, for Children, participating party.
Cavanaugh, Rowley and Cirillo, JJ.
[ 321 Pa. Super. Page 419]
In this case a petition was filed on November 7, 1980 to adjudicate James M. Barclay, Jr. a dependent under the Juvenile Act, Act of July 9, 1976, P.L. 586, No. 142, 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 6301 et seq. James was born on October 15, 1974, his parents being James M. Barclay and Deborah Martin and at the time of the petition he was approximately six years of age.*fn1 In order to consider the petition we must review the events that led up to its filing in what the court below characterized as a "pathetic and tragic case."
In September, 1980, the Allegheny County Children and Youth Services received a report of suspected child abuse from a hospital concerning Georgieanne Waltenbaugh, who was born on December 17, 1979. Deborah Martin is the mother of both James Barclay, Jr. and Georgieanne. The infant girl had extensive bruises on her body which the child's mother attributed to a fall down the stairs. Shortly thereafter Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh reported that Georgieanne had suffered second degree burns over twenty-five per cent of her body, apparently as a result of being immersed in scalding water. All of this was brought to the attention of the court by the Allegheny County Children and Youth Services and Georgieanne was placed temporarily in the care of her stepfather's mother, Margaret Martin, pending an investigation. At this time Deborah Martin was married to Jonathan Martin, this being her third marriage
[ 321 Pa. Super. Page 420]
although she was only twenty-one years of age. A petition to have Georgieanne declared dependent was filed in Allegheny County, but prior to the hearing Deborah Martin, Jonathan Martin, and Margaret Martin, (Jonathan's mother) fled to California taking Georgieanne and James with them. The family assumed fictitious names in California. In order to avoid detection by the authorities while living there, Deborah Martin applied for a driver's license under the name of "Deborah Ann Linderman." The authorities located the family in California and returned them to Allegheny County where the three adults were incarcerated. Jonathan Martin committed suicide while in prison on November 6, 1980.
The petition in the instant case pertaining to James was filed on November 7, 1980 by the Allegheny County Children and Youth Services and a hearing was held before Novak, J. of the Court of Common Pleas, Family Division, of Allegheny County. The evidence established that Deborah Martin was first married at the age of fifteen to James Barclay who was the father of James Barclay, Jr. She was subsequently divorced and married James Waltenbaugh. In July, 1980, she divorced Mr. Waltenbaugh and married Jonathan Martin with whom she had been living for several months while married to Mr. Waltenbaugh. In the six years from Ms. Martin's first marriage she had lived in various places in Pennsylvania, Florida and California.
Deborah Martin had custody of both children from the time they were born until the dependency hearing and her parenting was characterized by her immaturity and lack of care for her children. After the apparent serious abuse suffered by Georgieanne at the hands of her stepfather, a social worker in Allegheny County suggested counseling. Although Mr. Martin agreed to this, Deborah refused such counseling. Subsequently Georgieanne and James were spirited off to California by Deborah and her husband. The evidence established that when the ...