Judge finds Sung unfit to parent boy she abandoned
Nunu Sung claimed she always intended to return for the newborn son she left in a Wheaton yard. The problem is that she didn't, a judge said Tuesday before finding her to be an unfit mother.
"All she had to do was say something to somebody," DuPage County Judge Robert Anderson said.
Sung, 27, whose pareaq ntal fitness trial began in December, now faces another round of court proceedings to determine if it's in the child's best interest to terminate her parental rights. The imprisoned Burmese refugee is scheduled for parole later this month.
Sung showed little outward reaction as Anderson recalled the events of June 12, 2009. That's when she secretly delivered the child behind her cousin's Wheaton apartment, then abandoned him in a nearby bushy area -- his umbilical cord still attached.
That same day, Sung told detectives she intended to return for the infant. But Anderson called those statements "unbelievable," given that Sung managed to clean and warm herself while the baby remained close by and unprotected in 50-degree weather.
"Her conduct in this case without question shows she did not intend to do so," he said. "She left her newborn infant naked, wet and alone in a hidden place. She failed to do anything for her child at a critical moment."
Sung's attorneys said they welcomed Anderson's ruling because it puts their client one step closer to an appellate court.
They say Sung's parental rights never should have been challenged because state prosecutors agreed not to interfere with her reunification with the boy under a plea agreement in her criminal case.
"This is the best thing that could have happened to her," attorney Jennifer Wiesner said of the ruling. "She finally gets the opportunity to go to the appellate court."
Anderson said it was "almost miraculous" that a neighbor of Sung's cousin found the child, who had hypothermia. He noted that Sung denied any connection to the boy when initially questioned by police.
Authorities said the boy's father never expressed an interest in custody. The toddler remains with a Wheaton foster family who has cared for him practically since birth and is willing to adopt.
Attorney Chuck Rohde, who represents the foster parents, said they have always had the child's best interest in mind.
"It's a loving home and they hope to make it a home for the child for the rest of his life if the court permits," he said.
Kathleen Anderson, the boy's court-appointed guardian (no relation to the judge), said she was also satisfied with Tuesday's ruling.
"(The judge) obviously listened very carefully. He made it clear he heard all the evidence," she said.
The case resumes Thursday.