Supreme Court declines to hear custody case of part-Choctaw girl removed from Santa Clarita home

Lexi cried and clutched a stuffed bear on Monday, March 21, 2016 as Rusty Page carried her out of his Santa Clarita home and social workers whisked her away.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear the case of a part-Choctaw girl who was removed from her foster family's Santa Clarita home and sent to live with extended family in Utah.

Lexi's former foster parents, Rusty and Summer Page, released a statement after learning of the court's decision.

"To say we are heartbroken is an understatement," the couple said. "It is difficult to describe the turmoil, heartbreak and devastation that our family and Lexi have endured over the past 10 months but the light that has kept us going has been the incredible prayers and support from our family, friends, and supporters."

A crowd of media and tearful loved ones looked on as officials took the then-6-year-old girl from the home last March. A federal law designed to keep Native American families together was invoked by a lower court in placing the child with relatives in Utah.

The move was affirmed in July by a California appeals court.

"While this is certainly a crushing blow, it will not stop us from fighting for Lexi's rights and the rights of other children unnecessarily hurt by the Indian Child Welfare Act," the Pages said in their Monday statement.

Lexi's biological mother, who had drug-abuse problems, lost custody of the girl when she was 17 months old. The toddler, whose father has a criminal history, was then placed in foster care.

The Pages wanted to adopt Lexi even though foster care is intended to be temporary. The couple spent years fighting legal efforts put the girl in the custody of her father's relatives.

Lexi's father is part Choctaw. She currently lives with members of his family who are not Native Americans.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Related Topics:
newsfoster kidsnative americanlegalcourt casefamilydepartment of children and family servicesSanta ClaritaLos Angeles CountyUtah
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