Boy, 5, combating for all times amid custody battle
Liam Mills, 5, was taken off life support on December 7th. Today after three weeks he is breathing alone with a ventilator. As he continues to struggle for his life at the Riley Hospital for Children, his family struggles to regain custody and make decisions about his care.
The family struggle began in 2019 when Elijah Mills, Liam’s father, lost custody. Elijah Mills has not seen his son since November 2019 due to a court order following allegations of abuse. At that time, Liam was taken to Riley Hospital, where he was operated on for bleeding in the brain. His paternal grandparents filed for custody but were overruled by a juvenile judge because Liam needed special care. After he was released from hospital in January, he was placed in the care of an unnamed white foster family.
During a December 9 press conference on Liam’s welfare, Mills claimed he never molested his son. COVID-19 caused the courts to suspend and postpone legal proceedings, delaying Mills’ trial on battery crime charges until February 2021.
About three weeks ago, Liam developed pneumonia and received life support. Due to the contactless arrangement, Elijah Mills had no word about the treatment of his son. Instead, the foster family made the decision to end life support. A spokesman for the Department of Childcare (DCS) said the juvenile court, not the foster family, had the final say on these decisions.
“They were people who had only known him for a year,” said Marcelle Mills, Elijah’s father. “When Liam was in the hospital [in January] I’ve never seen a foster parent, never that one [biological] Mom, but my wife and I went up after work almost every day. … What confuses me is that as a grandparent I am losing my rights because you did not send my son to court to prove innocent before a jury of his colleagues. “
While DCS cannot provide specific details on this case, according to doctors’ recommendations, the juvenile court makes decisions about end-of-life care or the cancellation of life support for children in state care.
While Elijah Mills awaits trial, his family and business owner Antonio Lipscomb hope that Marcelle Mills and his wife can get custody of Liam.
Lipscomb, who hired Elijah Mills at his Minority Contractors Collaboration company after Mills was released from prison, said he knows his heart and hopes the father can reconnect with his son.
“When his son was hospitalized, Elijah was the one who made sure his son got the medical care he needed just to get the media and doctors and others to crack down on this young man and lock him up” said Lipscomb. “There wasn’t a moment when Elijah asked how he could get help for himself just to try to get help for his son.”
Both Marcelle Mills and Elijah Mills believe that one way to get Liam out of life support was to re-burden Elijah’s case.
Both he and his girlfriend Taylor Abrams are currently being charged with crime batteries. Abrams was also accused of not reporting abuse following the November 12, 2019 incident that saw Liam needing brain surgery. The closing date for further fees is December 18th.
“That’s why we believe all of this is going on,” said Marcelle Mills. “Once that date has passed, they cannot change the charges [Elijah]. ”
According to court records, the medical evaluation by Riley doctors concluded that Liam’s injuries were “life-threatening … and highly suspect for inflicted / non-accidental trauma”. In addition to brain surgery, Liam was also treated for other injuries, including “bone growth over muscles from trauma and multiple bruises.”
In previous interviews with police, Mills said Liam had frequent headaches and collapsed and hit his head a week before the incident. Mills said he had no diagnosis or explanation of why this happened.
According to the family, their only other involvement with DCS occurred when Liam’s birth mother signed papers granting Elijah Mills custody of Liam.
Contact Breanna Cooper at 317-762-7848. Follow her on Twitter @BreannaNCooper.