6:04 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Justina Pelletier's Parents Fighting To Get Her Back

Living with her family in West Hartford, Justina Pelletier was a normal, active girl, even though she had been diagnosed with mitochondrial disease as a child. But something changed in 2013: she had just finished a skating competition when  she developed flu-like symptoms. 

Justina Pelletier with her parents, Linda and Lou, who lost custody of the 15-year-old when Children’s Hospital took over her care and accused the parents of child abuse.

At first, doctors at Tufts Medical Center attributed the symptoms to her mitochondrial disease. But then Children’s Hospital got involved; they changed the diagnosis to a mental disorder, accused her parents, Lou and Linda Pelletier, of abuse and took custody, only allowing them to see her once a week.

Since then, The Pelletiers have been fighting to get their daughter back, and last week a Massachusetts court ruled that Justina be released from Children’s but go into foster care. The family and their lawyers were outraged.

"Here’s what they want: they want their daughter back," said Rev. Patrick Mahoney, of the Christian Defense Coalition. "There’s no question she was doing better under their care than under the state’s care."

Justina's mother, Linda, fainted in court after hearing Justina would be put in foster care.


  • Lou Pelletier is Justina's father. He testified at the State House today about his battle with DCF over custody of his daughter.