Judge reunites Green Cove Springs family
3 children were removed shortly after missing child incident last month
GREEN COVE SPRINGS, Fla. – A Green Cove Springs mother whose son was the subject of a missing child alert in October was reunited with her children on Thursday.
Crystal Henderson's 11-year-old son, Donald, was found by police at a friend's house after a miscommunication about a sleepover led to a missing child alert.
The same day Donald, who's called Benny, was found, all three of Henderson's children were taken from her by the Department of Children and Families and placed into foster care.
Benny and 7-year-old Thomas came running out of their school Thursday afternoon into their mother's arms. But Henderson's fight isn't over just yet.
[RAW VIDEO: Crystal Henderson reunited with her children]
"I feel that my children should have never have been removed from me," Henderson said.
The two boys and their baby sister, Karen (pictured below with their cousin, Cierra), were taken into DCF custody the same day Benny, who went missing the night before, was reunited with his mom the first time around.
"They came that same afternoon and took all my babies," Henderson said. "It devastated me. It was like the most horrible thing."
DCF said Henderson wasn't able to take care of her children and that the kids were "under substantial risk or imminent threat of harm or abuse or neglect."
During Henderson's custody hearing Thursday, DCF representatives listed several reasons why the children should not be under Henderson's care, including an unsafe living environment and talking with the children about adult matters.
But Judge John Skinner said although DCF is throwing all it can at this case, it wasn't enough to convince him to keep Henderson and her children apart.
Henderson said the last few weeks have been awful.
"It's been terrible. Kids have been abused while in (DCF) care," Henderson said. "They've traumatized my kids totally. They have emotionally distressed my children and me. They had no reason to take my kids to begin with."
The two boys, who were reunited with Henderson around 2:30 p.m. Thursday, said they truly missed their mom. Henderson expected to get 8-month-old Karen back by the end of the day Thursday.
Henderson's fight will continue, however, because DCF wants a full-blown trial on the custody issue, and there will be a hearing later this month.
Henderson said when it's all over, she just wants to start fresh with her kids in a new town.
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