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Florida Mom: My Boy's Father Is a Virus Risk

Dawson Thilmony wants custody of their son until state of emergency is over
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 4, 2020 10:15 AM CDT

(Newser) – A Florida mother is asking a judge to allow her to keep custody of her 2-year-old son during the pandemic, claiming the boy's father and his fiance are at higher risk of contracting the coronavirus since they're first-responders, the AP reports. Tabatha Sams has asked a judge to let her keep custody of Dawson Thilmony until the pandemic-induced state of emergency in Florida is over. The boy's father, Stephen Thilmony, is a firefighter and emergency medical technician, and his fiance is an emergency room nurse at Osceola Regional Hospital in a suburb of Orlando. The father and mother were splitting custody of their son. A judge this week denied an emergency request to stop visitations with the father, and a virtual hearing on the matter is scheduled for next week.

The mother said in court papers that the risk posed by the boy's father is no fault of his own and she's not trying to deny him access to their child. But hospitals nationwide have struggled with the outbreak and there isn't enough protective equipment for medical personnel, she said. "As COVID-19 has spread throughout the United States, medical professionals and first responders have been subjected to coronavirus at a higher rate, due to their increased exposure to individuals testing positive for the virus," Sams said in court papers. In a text message to Sams included as an exhibit in court papers, Thilmony said he didn't think he and his fiance were doing anything wrong. "We are taking proper measures to protect ourselves and him," he said.

(Read more coronavirus stories.)

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