A judge has temporarily awarded temporary legal custody of the eight-year-old daughter of the US school teacher Kelsey Peterson to the child's father.
The 25-year-old Peterson, a teacher in a middle school in Lexington in the state of Nebraska, had caused international sensation when she fled with a 13-year-old student to Mexico, where she was arrested on Nov. 2. Her teaching contract has since been canceled by the school district.
Her daughter was born out of wedlock while she and the child's father, William Alexander Long, were juniors in high school. The girl was living with Peterson's parents when her mother fled.
In an affidavit filed in Adams County District Court, Long said that he married a teacher in June and was self-employed at an investment business. The couple lives near Dallas.
Long's lawyer, Robert Parker Jr. of Hastings, said the girl will remain with her grandparents until a decision is made about her future. Adams County District Judge Terri Harder set a Dec. 5 hearing for further action in the case, reports Lexington Clipper-Herald.
"My wife and I are anxious to have my daughter come live with us,'' Long wrote in the affidavit. "We are both gainfully employed and capable of providing for my daughter's needs.''
In the affidavit, Long said the girl spent the Labor Day weekend with him and his wife. After the child's return to Nebraska, he began having trouble reaching her on the telephone, he said. Peterson told him that the girl was not home and that she would have the girl call him later.
"It has now become clear that Kelsey was doing this to keep from me that (my daughter) had begun living in Gothenburg with her maternal grandparents and was now even attending school there,'' the affidavit says.
Long said he learned that Peterson had been having a relationship with a minor and former student. "As this relationship came to light, she apparently had (my daughter) staying with her maternal grandparents more and more frequently.''
Long said in the affidavit that Tim Peterson, Kelsey Peterson's father, called him Oct. 29 and told him that Kelsey Peterson had fled and that the girl was staying with Tim Peterson and his wife.
After their high school graduation in the spring of 2000, Long said, he and Peterson lived together as a family with their daughter for part of 2000 and 2001. He saw the girl on a regular basis while he was attending the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
After he accepted a traveling sales job in February 2005, he said, he saw the girl every six weeks, every holiday and for extended periods in the summer.
Currently, Peterson remains in federal custody facing state charges of kidnapping, child abuse and contributing to the delinquency of a minor and a federal charge of transporting a minor across the border for sexual activity.