Toddler in Delaware County duct-taping will live with godparents

Caira Ferguson, 21, was denied bail.
Caira Ferguson, 21, was denied bail.
Posted: February 18, 2011

The Delaware County toddler who was photographed duct-taped to a chair next to her smiling mother will live temporarily with her godparents.

The ruling by Master David McNulty, appointed by Delaware County Court, came Thursday as about a dozen relatives from both sides of the child's family attended a hearing to determine where she would live. The hearing was closed to reporters.

Afterward, a relative walked out the door and thrust an arm into the air with a thumbs-up. Other relatives declined to comment.

The child's mother, Caira Ferguson, 21, of Chester Township, has been charged with false imprisonment, unlawful restraint, and child endangerment. She was denied bail at her arraignment Wednesday night, and did not have an attorney Thursday. A preliminary hearing is set for this month.

The photo of the 2-year-old girl came to light when Ferguson approached police to report that a friend had stolen her identity. She showed them the photo, which by then had spread from a circle of Facebook friends to a larger social network site, where it received more than 300,000 hits, according to police. The photos have been removed from both sites.

Ferguson was taken into custody Wednesday on nine traffic warrants for questioning. Police said she had acknowledged taping her child to the chair. The tape bound the girl across her stomach, wrists, ankles, and mouth.

Police said that there had been no identity theft, and that Ferguson could face more charges relating to making a false report.

"You can't just duct-tape a child to a chair," said Michael Galantino, deputy district attorney. Some of the charges against Ferguson are felonies, he said.

The county's Office of Children and Youth Services took the child into custody Wednesday. Thursday's hearing lasted less than an hour.

"We got it resolved amicably," said Margaret Amoroso, a lawyer for Children and Youth Services. "A community resource will be caring for the family."

That resource will be the girl's godparents: Raiven Craig, 20, and her brother Lamont Craig, 23, both of Chester Township.

The family "didn't want her in foster care," Raiven Craig said.

Michael K. Molinaro, a court-appointed attorney for the child, said a number of relatives and close family friends were available as resources for the child's care.

"I felt a lot of love in that room," he said.


Contact staff writer Mari A. Schaefer at 610-892-9149 or mschaefer@phillynews.com.

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