exposing the dark side of adoption
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Associated Press

A 3rd District juvenile court judge has ordered two children back into the custody of a mother accused of killing her 3-year-old adoptive son.

Darlene Bright - who is awaiting trial in the death of Kameron Bright - is once again living with her 13-year-old biological daughter and an 8-year-old adopted boy, the dead child's biological brother. Bright, 32, says Kameron hurt himself falling from a bunk bed on April 2, 1994. He died April 3, several hours after he was admitted to Primary Children's Medical Center in Salt Lake City.

Doctors say the boy suffered two "significant" skull fractures that were inconsistent with a fall.

Bright was charged with first-degree felony murder last June. A trial is set for Sept. 25 before 3rd District Judge Pat B. Brian. If convicted, Bright could go to prison for life.

To ensure the safety of other two children, the state Division of Family Services removed them from the Bright's West Valley home and placed them with Bright's parents.

Bright was released from jail on condition she have no contact with anyone under the age of 18.

Despite Kameron's death and other accustions of child abuse, Bright and her husband, Marty, regained custody of the two children after several hearings before 3rd District Juvenile Court Judge Andrew A. Valdez.

This month, Valdez ordered the children to return full-time to the Brights' home.

Court records indicate that before making his decision, Valdez reviewed psychological evaluations of the parents and spoke privately with the children.

The judge will review the case Sept. 5.

Meantime, the Brights must seek family counseling and attend parenting classes, Valdez ordered.

Valdez was unavailable for comment this week. But Utah Assistant Attorney General Linda Luinstra, who attended the hearings, said she does not believe the children are in danger.

1995 Jun 22