Sheila McLaughlin and Rachel Richardson report:
The Liberty Township couple who authorities say first adopted, then abandoned, the 9-year-old son they raised from infancy were back in court Wednesday.
Cleveland and Lisa Cox and their attorney, Anthony VanNoy, appeared at a hearing in Butler County Juvenile Court where they agreed to declare the boy dependent.
“The definition of dependency is that the state needs to intervene in a case through no fault of the parents,” Butler County Assistant Prosecutor Jim Monk said. A state intervention usually refers to removing a child from custody, but Monk declined to elaborate on the details of the agreement.
The couple abruptly returned the boy to Butler County Children Services in October, saying he was displaying aggressive behavior and earlier threatened the family with a knife.
The couple was charged with nonsupport of dependents, a misdemeanor, but avoided trial after Lisa Cox pleaded guilty last month to attempted abandonment and received a 90-day suspended sentence.
Prosecutors dismissed a charge of nonsupport of a dependent against Cleveland Cox, saying it would have jeopardized his security clearance at his job.
A grand jury charged the Coxes in October after they dropped the child off at children services with a bag of his clothes.
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