A Georgia family going through a horrific ordeal due to government bureaucracy has finally received some good news.
In December 2023, RedState reported on the story of Matt and Tuckey “Takki” Hernandez, a couple whose children were taken away from them after they were falsely accused of abusing their baby daughter, Emma. The child, along with her four-year-old sister Arya, were placed into foster care after the mother was arrested.
Since being taken away from their parents, both children’s conditions worsened. But now, a judge has ruled in favor of reunifying the family.
You Are the Power, a nonprofit advocacy group working with the family, made the announcement on Friday.
The judge has ordered that on January 25th, DFCS must have a reunification plan set in place for Arya and Emma to their parents Matt and Tuckey Hernandez. Home inspections will begin to ensure safety of the girls, as the process towards temporary guardianship with their aunt and uncle begin.
March 1st, there will be a permanency hearing for the state to give temporary legal guardianship back to the family! It is expected the girls will remain with their aunt and uncle, who will have the authority to set visitation standards for Matt and Tuckey, until the criminal case has been resolved.
Matt and Tuckey have also been given full authority for any and all medical testing to be done on Emma.
Unfortunately, this good news is not yet the end of the road because both Matt and Takki are facing criminal charges. However, Spike Cohen, the founder of You Are the Power” celebrated the victory and pledged to continue the fight to prove the couple’s innocence.
“This is a big victory for the Hernandez family today, but there’s more work to be done,” he told RedState. He added:
It sounds to me like Judge Dunn heard from the thousands of people who have emailed her and reminded her that she was tearing apart a family, and stopping parents from getting treatment for their chronically-ill daughter.
Now that she’s gotten the message and done the right thing, it’s time for prosecutors to drop all charges against Matt and Tuckey, and for DFCS to remove all restrictions and return Emma and Arya to them.
We will not rest until this family’s nightmare is over and they’re back together, for good.
The family’s nightmare began in June when Takki took Emma to the pediatrician because she had bruising on her ribs and legs.
The pediatrician examined Emma’s injuries and suggested that the parents take her to the Children’s Hospital of Atlanta (CHOA) for X-rays. The examination found that Emma’s ribs were fractured. The doctor immediately determined that Emma was a victim of child abuse, and Takki was arrested on four counts, including child cruelty and aggravated battery.
The authorities took Emma and Arya and placed them with Takki’s sister and brother-in-law. They had Takki sign a document relinquishing custody to the state, but she believed she was only consenting to have her sister take care of the child after she was discharged from the hospital.
About two weeks later, the police showed up at the Hernandez’s home to arrest Takki. She called her sister to tell her about the arrest and briefly spoke with Arya before heading to jail. During another call from the jail, Takki spoke with her sister and daughter for the last time. She was incarcerated for three days. As a condition of her bond agreement, Takki is not allowed to see or communicate with any of her family members, including her husband and children, who have not seen or talked to her since June.
Two medical professionals, having reviewed Emma’s records, testified at Takki’s first hearing that Emma showed signs of prior health issues that could have caused the injuries.
At Takki’s first hearing, two medical professionals, a pathologist and a radiologist, both of whom had examined Emma’s records, testified that the child showed signs of underlying issues such as a metabolic bone condition or neonatal rickets, both of which could lead to easily broken bones. Matt told RedState that the medical experts pointed out that the hospital’s doctors “clearly didn’t do anywhere near enough testing to rule out medical underlying problems based on the reports he was given.”
The pathologist’s report noted that [Children’s Hospital of Atlanta’s] “diagnoses of abusive injury was made and confirmed almost immediately, based solely on the radiographic findings” and that there did not appear “to have been an expectation that any other laboratory studies would support any explanation other than inflicted abusive injury.”
The pathologist concluded that “Emma Hernandez was not the victim of child abuse.”
Nevertheless, the judge still decided to seize the children and place them in foster care. Now, it appears the family has been given a break while the couple seeks to clear their names.