“Responsible” Fatherhood Intiatives—in action

Curry gets custody of son Grandma relents, won’t defy order

By Deanese Williams-Harris and Robert Mitchum


(Tribune photo by Charles Cherney / March 19, 2009)

Tribune reporters March 20, 2009 Noah Curry case resolved Yolan Henry leaves the Daley Center with a friend after turning over her grandson Noah Curry late Thursday.  The grandmother of Eddy Curry’s son handed him over to the former Chicago Bulls player’s family late Thursday, hours after she disappeared with the child while vowing to defy a court order granting custody to Curry. Steve Patterson, a spokesman for the Cook County sheriff’s office, confirmed that 3-year-old Noah Henry had been transferred to the Curry family at the Daley Center at about 11:30 p.m. During the transfer, which took place in private, the boy embraced Curry’s mother, Gale, said Lisa Newman, a spokeswoman for Yolan Henry, the maternal grandmother who gave up custody. Moments later, Henry left the Daley Center, her head downcast and eyes hidden behind sunglasses. She declined comment. Video Related links * Eddy Curry’s career Photos * Curry custody hearing Video * Henry family statement in Curry custody case * NBA’s Eddy Curry is asked to attend hearing in custody dispute * Slayings of Eddy Curry’s ex, infant spur custody hearings * Ex-boyfriend arrested in slayings of Eddy Curry’s daughter and her mother “Losing my grandson is the latest tragedy for our family,” Henry said in a statement issued shortly before the transfer.

In January Noah was found bloodied but unharmed in the South Loop home where his mother and infant sister were murdered. Frederick Goings, a Chicago lawyer who is alleged to have terrorized Nova Henry, his on-and-off-again girlfriend, was charged last month in the double murder. Since the killings, the families of Curry and the slain mother have battled in court over who would care for Noah. With the NBA player in attendance Thursday afternoon, a Cook County Circuit judge ordered that Noah be immediately placed in his father’s custody. But Yolan Henry didn’t bring the child to court and vowed that she would not turn him over to Curry or authorities. “I’m not trying to kidnap him,” Henry told the Tribune earlier Thursday in an exclusive telephone interview. “I’m trying to protect him.” “I feel that it’s unfair to subject this child to a turnover when he doesn’t know the parties he is being turned over to,” she said. “We are forced to be fugitives.” But by late Thursday, Henry issued the emotional statement, saying she had only the best interest of Noah at heart. “I have spent the last few months trying to help my grandson adjust to life without his mother, Nova Henry, and baby sister, Ava,” the statement said. “Noah clings to me every moment of the day and cries when I am not in his sight,” Henry continued. “I pray that God gives him the strength to cope with this separation from his family … Ultimately, we would like to jointly raise Noah with the Curry family.” After Henry failed to bring Noah to court, Judge Fe Fernandez had authorized the boy’s lawyers to seek the assistance of law enforcement officials if necessary to ensure Curry obtained custody. Henry could have faced arrest for contempt of court if she hadn’t turned over the boy, said Lester Barclay, one of the boy’s court-appointed attorneys. Attorneys from all sides of the dispute had met with sheriff’s officials after the hearing to try to negotiate a peaceful turnover. Yolan Henry contacted the Tribune by phone shortly after the order was signed to release the child to Curry. She said then that she intended to defy the court order and considered herself to be “on the run.” She didn’t disclose her location to a reporter. The Tribune reported on the call on chicagotribune. com. Henry said that on Friday her lawyer would appeal the order to hand over her grandson. “He has seen his father twice his entire life …” Henry said of Noah. “They never knew my granddaughter and since she’s been dead, they haven’t seemed to care.” Attorneys for Curry disputed that he had seen his son so seldom. Henry said Curry’s child support payments were cut off the day after the double murder. Public records confirm that the payments stopped that day. “I’ve been doing everything on my own. I’ve adjusted my life to take care of [Noah],” Henry said. “I have not asked Curry for a dime.” Henry said that she spoke with Curry on the phone earlier Thursday and contended that he assured her that he wasn’t trying to take Noah from her. But the judge and lawyers for Noah said two separate custody agreements signed by Nova Henry in 2008 specified that Curry should obtain custody of their children in the event of her death. Curry missed practice with the New York Knicks to attend Thursday’s hearing after a judge had ordered him to appear. Curry declined to comment outside of the Domestic Relations Division courtroom, but his attorney, Kelly Saindon, said that he was devastated over Henry’s initial refusal to turn over the boy. “It’s a very emotional case. You know the tragedy behind this story, so its an unfortunate turn of events,” Saindon said.


rmitchum@tribune. com