Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Kidds are home!

24 Oct 2009 04:00 PM PDT

The Kidds are home! This afternoon even brought a brief telephone visit with Michael Kidd to wish he and Eugenia well as they acclimate back to life outside a nursing home. We’ll have an piece on the Kidds’ release posted tomorrow afternoon. Meanwhile, more on the Kidds’ case can be accessed at Save the Kidds (link also available on the EoD Links and Sources page).

Congratulations to all who helped make this happen!
DALLAS - It’s an emotional and long awaited homecoming for an elderly Richardson couple whose battle with the state for their freedom triggered a FOX 4 Investigation. Michael and Eugenia Kidd say the State of Texas has held them captive in a nursing home for months. But after a court ruling today the Kidds are finally saying “home sweet home.”

They were all smiles as they walked up to the door of their house. It has been almost a year since the Kidds have been home. “It’s a relief, I can tell you that,” said Michael Kidd. Within minutes Michael was at his piano, one of his greatest sources of joy. But Michael admits, he’s a bit rusty.

FOX 4 reported how the Kidds were sent to the Countryside Nursing Home against their will. The Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services argued the Richardson couple was incapacitated and unable to care for themselves after Michael broke his hip and required surgery. Eugenia suffers from memory loss.

This morning, the Kidds appeared in Collin County probate court before Judge Weldon Copelend. Only this time, they had two attorneys on their side arguing that they should be allowed to go home. A new psychiatric evaluation shows Michael has the ability to make decisions for himself and his wife Eugenia doesn’t need guardianship.

“Our position is that the guardianship of the person should be lifted in regards to both Mr. and Mrs. Kidd,” attorney Ad Litem, Melinda Hartnett explained to the judge. The state’s attorney didn’t oppose and Judge Copeland was quick to rule in their favor this time. “We expected them to be able to go home and the doctor’s report was pretty clear that is what should happen and I think everyone realized that,” said the Kidds’ pro bono attorney, Tim Taylor.

Community activist Russell Fish jumped on board when he heard about the Kidds’ story. He started a Web site for the Kidds and has organized volunteers to help. He says there is still a lot of work to do because the state has destroyed the Kidds’ finances. “We need to clean that up. Their credit is destroyed. Their house went in to foreclosure. They had their car repossessed. These are people who had done all the right things,” said Fish. “They just made the mistake of getting old.”

For the Kidds, after the initial excitement of coming home, the reality started setting in. Michael noticed strange smells, likely from the mold and food that had been rotting in their refrigerator. The heat wasn’t working so a technician had to be called-out. No one had been taking care of their house. The phone and cable television are not connected yet. While they’re happy to be home, they’re also angry.

“I’m really infuriated by the way it all came about,” Michael Kidd told FOX 4. “At our age, when we were retired and enjoying our retirement, and suddenly snatch a year out of our lives…for what reason? There are criminals out there that get less time in jail,” Kidd continued.

The Kidds know there is a long road ahead. They still don’t have a detailed accounting of what happened to their money. They wonder how they’ll manage. But for now all Eugenia can think about is taking a long, hot bath in the privacy of her own home. And Michael wants to get back to the life he was living before it got turned upside down.

FOX 4 still has plenty of questions about this case and what happened to the Kidds’ money. We’ll have more on this story in coming days.


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