Ricky Holland's Mother Fighting For Custody of Infant Son

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LANSING -- Casey Caswell, the biological mother of Ricky Holland, told News 10 in 2006 that her son should have been in her custody.

"It's just wrong for them to put my kids in a home to where one of them ends up dead," she said at the time.

Ricky, just 7 years old, was murdered in 2005 by his adoptive parents. Caswell's rights had been terminated by the state.

Now, her lawyer, William Campbell, says she is fighting for parental rights over her 3-month-old son.

"Casey and her husband Matt at this point in time are awaiting adjudication on a petition to terminate their parental rights," Campbell told News 10 on Thursday.

Campbell says Caswell, who has lost custody of five children in the last several years, is fighting the issue in court. He admits she and her husband are homeless, but argues that -- with some help from the Department of Human Services -- they could provide for the child.

"They are doting parents to this baby, and they want to do the right thing," Campbell said.

Caswell, 19 years old at the time, turned Ricky into the state when he was 3 years old. A judge subsequently revoked her rights to him.

He went missing in July of 2005, touching off a national media storm and massive community search effort for the boy.

We later learned Ricky was killed by his adoptive parents, Tim and Lisa Holland. Mr. Holland is serving a 30-60-year prison term. Mrs. Holland is behind bars for life.

Campbell argues Caswell had no say over where Ricky was placed, and says she now has no trust in the state's foster care system.

DHS officials wouldn't talk specifically about Caswell's case, but argue a woman who's had her parental rights revoked has to prove she's fit to raise a new child.

"We cannot ignore severe situations that led to a prior termination when we look at the new instance," said Steve Yager, director of Children's Services at DHS.

He also points out the agency has made several changes to the system since Ricky's case, noting they've lowered caseloads for each CPS worker and established more comprehensive reviews of foster homes.

This July, they'll begin conducting random visits of foster homes, including random visits of children in those homes to make sure they're getting the services they need.

Caswell appears before a judge at the end of July.

Stay with News 10 and WILX.com for updates on this story.

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