State DHS to ignore Texas judge's custody order

Tuesday, February 14th 2006, 9:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- The Oklahoma Department of Human Services says it will not obey an order from a judge in Texas that awards custody of a 7-year-old girl to the girl's mother.

The judge in San Marcos, Texas, has awarded custody of the girl to Misty VanZandt and VanZandt is hoping to pick up her daughter today in Sallisaw where the girl is in state custody.

But DHS spokesman George Johnson says the state only recognizes rulings from a Sequoyah County court in the case and that court put the girl in DHS custody. Johnson says he doesn't understand why a judge in Texas would get involved in the first place.

The girl has been the subject of a custody battle between her mother and father since June 2002 when the mother filed for divorce. Misty VanZandt spent more than a year in jail after placing the girl with friends and refusing to tell authorities where the girl was.

VanZandt was released in December after telling authorities who she had left her daughter with. The girl was later found safe in Hays County, Texas.