Daugaard v. Colorado

176 Colo. 38, 488 P.2d 1101 (1971)

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Daugaard v. Colorado

Colorado Supreme Court
176 Colo. 38, 488 P.2d 1101 (1971)

Facts

In October 1968, Margaret Daugaard (defendant) gave birth to a premature child, who required intensive care. In November 1968, the child’s pediatrician advised Daugaard that the child was healthy and strong enough for Daugaard to care for the child herself, but Daugaard placed the child in the care of a nurse until mid-January 1969. Daugaard then cared for the child until April 1969. Because Daugaard suffered from emotional and physical difficulties, she decided to place her child in the care of Donald and Geraldine Kellogg (plaintiffs). Daugaard recovered from her difficulties and, in December 1969, notified the Kelloggs that she wanted the child to return to her care. Her offer to pay the Kelloggs for the child’s expenses was refused, and the Kelloggs filed a petition, alleging that the child was dependent and neglected. At trial, there was evidence that Daugaard was a woman of good character who had previously raised two sons independently. There was no evidence that Daugaard was unprepared in any way to provide for the child. There was expert testimony that suggested that the child possibly suffered from marasmus, also known as failure-to-thrive syndrome, while Daugaard had custody in early 1969. Marasmus caused infants to become emaciated from a lack of proper care and was known to cause physical and intellectual delays. The expert’s opinion was uncertain and did not establish that Daugaard had caused any illness the child might have had. Based on the expert’s testimony, the trial court found that the child was dependent and neglected and terminated Daugaard’s parental rights. Daugaard appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Lee, J.)

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