- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 1, 2015

CHICAGO (AP) - An Illinois woman convicted of child endangerment in the 2003 drowning deaths of her three children is fighting a state agency’s decision to take away the three children she has had since serving five years in prison for the conviction.

Amanda Ware and her husband, Leo, have been involved in a custody battle with the state Department of Children and Family Services since March 2014, when their infant son and two young daughters were removed from their care. The case is unfolding this week in a juvenile court in Cook County, where her children are living with her husband’s sister.

Prosecutors are expected to replay portions of Wade’s 2006 trial in which she was acquitted of murder but convicted of child endangerment, The (Bloomington) Pantagraph (https://bit.ly/1fTukIe ) reported.

On Monday, Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Joan Pernecke pointed out that Wade disclosed plans in 1995 to kill herself by drowning in a lake. Pernecke argued that those suicide plans eventually served as the groundwork for her children’s drowning deaths in Clinton Lake in 2003, when Wade was known as Amanda Hamm.

Attorney Lisa Dedmond, who’s representing Leo Ware, argued that the couple entered the child welfare system in 2014 only because a doctor recognized Wade as the woman in the 2003 case.

“There were no signs of abuse or neglect of the children” when a Department of Children and Family Services investigator went to the home on March 1, 2014, and removed the two girls, Dedmond said.

The state contends that the couple’s histories of substance abuse and criminal convictions represent “a freight train of evidence bearing down,” Pernecke said. In reference to the three surviving children, the prosecutor said, “We can’t let them follow in the fate of their three older siblings.”

The state is expected to call law enforcement officials involved in the 2003 case on Tuesday, while members of Amanda Ware’s family will testify on her behalf next week.

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Information from: The Pantagraph, https://www.pantagraph.com


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