A juvenile court has ordered the Massachusetts Department of Children and Family to return Justina Pelletier to her parents, the Boston Globe reports.
“I find that the parties have shown by credible evidence that circumstances have changed since the adjudication on Dec. 20, 2013, that Justina is a child in need of care and protection pursuant to G.L. c. 199, 24-26.,” Judge Joseph Johnston wrote in the ruling, according to the Globe. “Effective Wednesday, June 18, 2014, this care and protection petition is dismissed and custody of Justina is returned to her parents, Lou and Linda Pelletier.”
Mat Staver, attorney and founder of Liberty Counsel, told TheBlaze on Tuesday that Justina was made aware of the judge’s order and she was “beside herself with excitement” on Tuesday knowing she would be able to return home.
The Pelletier family is planning a homecoming party for Justina on Wednesday where they will celebrate and start the long recovery process now that the 16-month ordeal is finally over, Staver added.
While Staver wouldn’t confirm that the Pelletiers plan to file a lawsuit in the case, he told TheBlaze “there is a real strong desire by everyone involved, even the community, to make sure the people responsible are held accountable.”
“We don’t want other families to have to experience what the Pelletier family has gone through in the last 16 months,” he said.
For the moment, though, he said the family just wants to enjoy the moment.
“It’s a wonderful feeling to see that this little girl will be able to go home,” said attorney Philip Moran, who has been representing Linda and Lou Pelletier. “She will be home with her parents, sisters, pets and friends. Hopefully well see major progress because this is what she really needs.”
The ruling ends an intense custody battle that has raged on for more than a year. The teen should be back with her family by Wednesday morning.
The Pelletiers said they took Justina, who was diagnosed previously at Tufts Medical Center with mitochondrial disease, to Boston Children’s Hospital to see a gastrointestinal specialist after she suffered complications with the flu. In February 2013, doctors at the hospital told the Pelletiers that Justina had somataform disorder, a psychological disorder, and proposed changing the treatments she had been taking for mitochondrial disease.
When the Pelletiers objected, they were accused of child abuse and Massachusetts took emergency custody.
This story has been updated.