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Kin wait for custody of deserted boy

Associated Press / April 27, 2010

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NEW YORK — The grandparents of a 3-year-old Florida boy abandoned at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York inched closer to gaining temporary custody yesterday as they attended a family court hearing in the city.

“It’s a roller coaster of emotions,’’ Donald Fons said as he and his wife, Frieda, paced a courthouse hallway. The couple arrived in the city late last week to collect the boy.

Authorities said the boy, Nathaniel, was left by friends of his mother’s who had taken him after she was arrested. He has been in foster care in New York since he was found by security guards last Tuesday at the cathedral, wandering alone.

His parents are both in jail on separate charges, and the grandparents are his next of kin.

The city’s Administration for Children’s Services said it would conduct a thorough investigation and that it wasn’t clear how long that would take.

The couple was told to return to court this afternoon.

Child services staff met with the Fonses on Friday and supervised a visit with their grandson. Donald Fons, a customer service agent for United Health Care, said the boy appeared scared for the first 15 minutes; it had been nearly a year since they had seen him.

“Then, after that, he kept reaching up to us and wanted us to hold him,’’ Fons said.