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Hearing delayed in teen father's battle for infant girl



Houston Chronicle

GALVESTON -- An infant whose teen-age father is fighting her adoption by a Florida couple apparently will remain in that couple's possession, at least until mid-September.

A hearing scheduled for today in a paternity case filed by William Jardina, 17, of Dickinson was canceled Tuesday after two local judges removed themselves from the case.

A new hearing, to be presided over by retired State District Judge L.J. "Boots" Krueger of Liberty, was scheduled for Sept. 15 here. Krueger was appointed to the case late Tuesday.

Jardina wants Tampa residents Donald P. and Christine Carr to return his daughter, Kara, born July 24. Jardina says he wants to raise Kara himself.

Kara's mother, 19-year-old Stacy Goss, a Texas A&M University-Galveston student from Dickinson, arranged a private adoption for the child before the birth. The Carrs are believed to have taken Kara to Tampa on July 28 or 29.

Jardina's parents, Chuck and Zana Jardina, are backing his fight for custody. They've hired Galveston attorney Pat Reilly, who filed the lawsuit to establish that Jardina is the child's father and enable him to press for her return.

"I want to do it because it's my responsibility," Jardina said. "I love my baby."

His 37-year-old mother said: "Our goal is that we want that baby back here with her father and all her family. She belongs with us. We've never given family away and we sure don't want to start now."

Even before the Carrs received Kara, Jardina refused to sign documents waiving his parental rights.

Krueger is expected to order Jardina to have a blood test to establish that he is Kara's father and has a legal right to fight for custody.

Goss and her parents, Mike and Kay Goss, could not be reached for comment. Their lawyer, Finis Royal of Houston, also could not be reached.

The Carrs and Houston attorney Diann Sneed, who helped them arrange the adoption, were unavailable for comment Tuesday as well.

Christine Carr is a Texas City native. Her husband is a Marine Corps officer stationed in the Tampa area. She reportedly attended school with Sneed.

Jardina said Monday he had expected to marry Goss and raise Kara. Now, he said, he doesn't think Goss should even have joint custody.

"I don't see why she would want joint custody unless it was just to get at me," he said. "She already signed the baby away illegally. She's done everything she can to get rid of it and the only reason I can see she'd want it back is to get at me."

Jardina said he's a hard worker who has a comfortable future in the family sand and gravel business.

His mother said she's confident Jardina will be a good father.

"William has always been more mature than his age," she said. "He has helped raise his young brother and sisters, and I know from experience he can do it."

The Jardinas have three other children, girls 15 and 3 and a boy, 11.

Jardina said he's been taking high school correspondence courses.

Jardina began dating Goss when she was a senior and he was a sophomore at Dickinson High School. He said he quit school after his sophomore year in 1991 to work full time at his father's business.

Goss became pregnant last October while Jardina still was living with his parents. Now he is making payments on a small house his father purchased near the family business.

Galveston County Court-at-Law Judge Ron Wilson, in whose court a hearing originally was scheduled for today, did not indicate in the court file why he recused himself from the case. State District Judge Susan Baker Olsen withdrew because of an objection from Goss' attorney and because of a crowded docket.

1993 Sep 1