State appeals court hears arguments in battle over part-Choctaw girl

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The custody battle over a 6-year-old girl heated up on Friday, as a state appeals court heard arguments from both sides.

Lexi is part Native American and was given to extended family in Utah under the Indian Child Welfare Act, but her foster parents are trying to get her back.

"We miss seeing you, holding you, teaching you, singing with you and playing with you," said Rusty Page, her former foster father.

Rusty and Summer Page were not giving up their fight to bring their one-time foster daughter back to their home.

The child had been placed with the Page family since she was two but was removed in March under the act.

The family's attorneys argued before the state court of appeals to reverse a lower court ruling that removed the 6-year-old, but no decision was made.

"Lexi, what has happened to you is wrong but be assured that mommy and daddy are fighting for you and will continue to fight for you as long as it takes," Rusty Page added.

Lexi is 1.5 percent Choctaw Indian.

"My clients weren't able to adopt her because the Indian Child Welfare Act applied, and under the act there are placement preferences with relatives, extended family members and other members of the child's tribe," said Lori Albin Magill, the family's attorney.

Attorneys for the Choctaw Nation did not want to speak to Eyewitness News on camera and maintained that Lexi is with loving family in Utah.

The tribe added that the child had been in contact with her extended family for years prior to being placed with them.

The Page family said if they have to they'll take this case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to fight for Lexi.

"We are hopeful that the justices who heard the case today will look at the facts and decide to bring Lexi home once and for all," Rusty Page said.

The state appeals court could take up to 60 days to make a decision.
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