Kids to stay in DCF care after parents made alleged suicide pact

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BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. —

A Brevard County judge ruled Monday that two children will stay in the care of the Department of Children and Families after their parents were accused of making a suicide pact.

James Firth and his wife, Mai, showed little emotion as they walked into the courtroom on Monday.

On the stand, James Firth denied having any intention to hurt his children, but according to records the judge referred to in court, the Firths made very specific threats to a case worker overseeing the care of their autistic daughter, 4-year-old Kristen.

The Firths were accused of making threats to kill the kids and then themselves if their money ran out or if Kristen didn't show improvement during her treatment, investigators said.

The judge ruled Monday that Kristin and 2-year-old Kiah will remain in foster care.

When asked if he had any intention of hurting his children, James Firth told Channel 9, "Absolutely, no."

But the judge wasn't happy that the family picked up and left for California in the middle of the investigation.

"(You) didn't bother calling anyone and took off for California? Come on," the judge said.

The Firth family was found in California last week after being on the run for nearly a week.

Before leaving court on Monday, the Firths were allowed to visit with the children.

"They are deeply concerned," said their defense attorney. "They were both weeping. They will do whatever this court requires of them to get there children back."

Eyewitness News was there last week as Sandra Firth, the grandmother of the children, fought and failed to get custody of her two granddaughters. She was denied custody at a hearing.

"Talking about a suicide pact, respectfully, judge, you don't have a lot of margin for error in this case," the Guardian ad Litem representing the interests of the children told the judge.

It took investigators days to track down the Firths, who had traveled to the West Coast and were staying with friends in northern California.

On Friday, Sandra Firth denied knowing anything about a suicide pact and said she didn't believe it.

"You saw the parents every day? They lived with you, also?" the judge asked Firth.

"Yes," said Firth.

"Is it your testimony you don't believe that they had that suicide pact?" asked the judge.

"I don't believe that," replied Firth.

The parents are not facing criminal charges at this point, but DCF is still investigating.