- Associated Press - Saturday, May 17, 2014
Foster parents denied custody of 9-year-old girl

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A judge has blocked an attempt by Middle Tennessee foster parents to get back physical custody of the child they raised for eight years.

In court on Friday, Dickson County Juvenile Court Judge Andrew Jackson said 9-year-old Sonya McCaul will remain with her father in Omaha, Nebraska, for now.

The child’s court-appointed guardian, Hilary Duke, said Sonya is doing well. Duke blamed foster parents David and Kimberly Hodgin (HAH’-jihn) for blocking the state’s earlier attempts to place Sonya with relatives.

Duke also claimed the Hodgins have endangered Sonya by making the custody case public. And she said that even if Sonya were to come back to Tennessee, she would not be placed back in the Hodgins’ home.

“That would be detrimental,” Duke said.

Technically, Sonya is still in the custody of the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services. Department spokesman Rob Johnson said Sonya’s placement with John McCaul is the equivalent of a trial home visit.


6 injured in explosion at Tennessee steel mill

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Investigators on Friday tried to determine what caused an explosion at a Knoxville, Tennessee, steel mill that injured six workers and could be heard by residents from blocks away.

One worker was critically burned in the Thursday night explosion at Gerdau Ameristeel Mill, which uses an electric arc furnace to turn scrap metal into steel, in north Knoxville and was being treated at a regional burn center, the company said in a statement. Five others injured workers had been treated and released from a local hospital.

The names of the victims had not been released. Officials with the Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration said they were still investigating the cause. It typically takes six to eight weeks to complete an investigation, TOSHA spokesman Jeff Hentschel said in an email.

“The company is committed to worker safety and is working with the proper authorities to determine the root cause of the incident,” Gerdau Ameristeel’s statement said.

For those who heard it, the blast at the mill was unnerving.

Ryan McClane told the Knoxville News Sentinel he was about a block away when he heard a loud blast and saw black smoke coming from the plant.

Story Continues →