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Parents denied custody of 4-year-old boy with leukemia

Hillsborough County

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A judge has ruled on the custody battle for Noah McAdams. At 4:45 p.m. Monday, the judge denied Joshua McAdams and Taylor Bland-Ball custody of now 4-year-old Noah McAdams.

The judge said Noah must stay with his maternal grandparents. McAdams and Bland-Ball will have a chance to regain custody by working with child protection services and by obeying all requirements set by the judge.

This all started when Joshua McAdams and Taylor Bland-Ball left Hillsborough County on April 29 with their then 3-year-old son, who has leukemia, sparking a multi-state search.

Hillsborough deputies said McAdams and Bland-Ball failed to bring him to a medically-necessary hospital procedure and refused to follow up with additional lifesaving medical care. The Hillsborough County Child Protective Investigations Division obtained a court-authorized “take into custody” order for the child. When they went to serve the order, the child and parents were nowhere to be found.

Authorities put out urgent alerts for 3-year-old Noah, saying the boy was in need of “lifesaving medical care.”

The toddler had already received two chemo treatments at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, according to family members. However, when Noah’s mother and father took him out of state seeking a second opinion, they were stopped in Kentucky by law enforcement.

Shortly after, they lost custody of their son.

Noah’s parents wanted to treat him with something other than what doctors recommended. They told 8 On Your Side the chemo would be too tough on Noah’s body.

Noah McAdams' parents get victory in court Tuesday

On May 2, a judge allowed Noah’s maternal grandparents to take custody of the boy.

A Hillsborough County judge then ruled on May 8 that 3-year-old Noah McAdams must undergo chemo within the following 28 days as he continues to fight his cancer diagnosis.

Noah underwent a round of chemotherapy on May 10, against his parent’s wishes.

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McAdams and Bland-Ball received some good news on June 26 when they were granted more time with their gravely ill son.

A trial to determine if McAdams and Bland-Ball could regain custody of Noah began Aug. 19.

Closing arguments happened over two weeks ago in the trial for the leukemia-stricken boy’s parents.

As Judge Thomas Palermo made his final ruling, he expressed “Noah McAdams is at substantial risk of imminent death by his parents.”

One of the testimonies given, which was critical in his decision, was made by a doctor which allowed for the understanding of the cancer Noah has and the necessary treatment needed. He said the chemotherapy needed for Noah’s cancer has a “90 to 95 percent success rate with a protocol that is half a century old.”

Palermo also stated in part to the parent’s desires to use natural remedies as the cure, “there was absolutely no evidence presented at the dependency trial that any alternative therapy offered any actual effective treatment for Noah McAdams’ cancer.”

When it came time to discuss the main issue over custody of Noah, Palermo stated, “The court is convinced that if given an opportunity, the parents would flee again with Noah McAdams and refuse to provide him with his necessary medical treatments.”

In order for Noah to return to his parents, they must receive the approval of both the guardian ad litem and Noah McAdam’s attorney ad litem. Plus, the court may submit the parent(s) to a mental examination by qualified professionals, according to Palermo.

Palermo said the parties involved have 30 days to appeal.

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