Sammy Nikolayev returns home after three weeks in the temporary custody of Sacramento County Child Protective Services.
SACRAMENTO, CA - One chapter ended Tuesday and another began in the case of Sammy Nikolayev.
The baby and his family gained national attention when police and child protective services took him into protective custody, after his mother took him out of a hospital without permission and went to another hospital for a second opinion.
On Tuesday morning, a Sacramento County Juvenile Dependency Court judge granted the county's motion to dismiss the CPS case against the Nikolayev family. This is something the county had signaled was a possibility at the previous hearing in May. What it means is that Anna and Alex Nikolayev will no longer be subject to visits from CPS, and they won't have to go to trial to stop those visits.
However, the end of the Juvenile Dependency Court involvement gives way to the beginning of a civil case against CPS and the Sacramento Police Department.
Before moving to dismiss, the assistant county counsel wanted to make it clear that CPS does not recognize any wrongdoing on its part when social workers and police officers entered the Nikolayev home back in April and took the baby into protective custody. In fact ,they argue that it's because of these efforts that the boy is in good health today. The attorney said with that goal met, there's no longer a need to stay in the parents' lives.
"I could cry, but I can smile because we're together again, and nobody can take him away," Anna Nikolayev said outside the courthouse. "Even those people who tried to destroy our lives."
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Despite moving to dismiss the case, in court, the county insisted that they were originally right to seize the baby, who they said was in congestive heart failure and had been diagnosed with failure to thrive.
"What we heard was their version of events obviously spun to protect their interests, to show some sort of justification for what they have done," Nikolayev attorney Joe Weinberger said.
Medical records show another doctor cleared the baby to go home with his parents. That's why the Nikolayevs said this case is far from over.
"We will force them to compensate this family for the losses, for the harms, for the nightmare that they went through of 48 hours of not even knowing where their child was," Weinberger said. "We will take them to task for the police officers who attacked Alex, tackled him, handcuffed him, put him in a police car."
"It's days that you cannot forget what you went through," Anna Nikolayev said.
"We don't wish anyone to come through what we went through," Alex Nikolayev added. "We don't want to see this, and it needs to be changed."