December 6, 2018
From Charleston County Daniel E. Martin, Jr., Family Court
E. Tinkler and William P. Tinkler, both of Law Office of Paul
E. Tinkler, of Charleston; and Stephen Gordon Dey, of Dey Law
Firm, LLC, of Charleston, for Appellants.
Scarlet Bell Moore, of Greenville, for Respondent.
Jessica Lynn Means, of Hall & Means, LLC, of Charleston,
for the Guardian ad Litem.
to an investigation of minor child's (Minor's)
allegations of abuse and neglect by her adoptive parents, the
South Carolina Department of Social Services (DSS) brought an
action against James (Father) and Judy (Mother) Wiseman
(collectively, the Wisemans), seeking findings of excessive
corporal punishment and abandonment. Although the family court
declined to make a finding of abuse and neglect, it found the
Wisemans abandoned Minor when they were unable to accept her
into their custody upon her release from the Medical
University of South Carolina's Institute of Psychiatry
(MUSC-IOP). We reverse the finding of abandonment and remand
to the family court.
and Procedural History
January 29, 2016, Mother took away Minor's easy bake oven
and iPad because Minor was falling behind in her schoolwork
and being disrespectful. At this point, Minor "got up in
[Mother's] face" and began screaming, using
profanity, and threatening Mother with her fists. Mother told
Minor to go outside and cool down; however, Minor remained
thereafter, Father arrived home and attempted to calm Minor.
When Father tugged on Minor's shirt and asked her to
stand up, Minor tried to hit Father with a brick. In his
effort to avoid being struck with the brick, Father grabbed
at Minor's hair as he fell backward to the ground. Minor
then threatened to hit Father with a metal bar, nearly hit
Mother with the metal bar, and ran down the street to a
Matthew Treitler of the Horry County Police Department
responded to the scene. He testified that when he arrived at
the neighbor's house, Minor had "no sign of
bruising, scrapes, abrasions, nothing along those lines that
would be there if [she had been] thrown up against the bricks
or a hard surface or something like that." He further
explained "there would be some sign of trauma or
something, but I did not observe anything while I was
there." Due to Minor's behavior, Officer Treitler
believed she needed psychiatric treatment. He testified:
By the way she was acting and just the emotional states that
she was going between. Between being completely hysterical,
upset and crying and not talking and then just being
completely straight-faced, I mean, within a couple of seconds
of one another. I believe that something was going on.
Treitler filed no charges. Instead, he took Minor back to the
Wisemans, who drove her to MUSC-IOP, where she was admitted.
received Minor's allegations on February 1, 2016. Later
that day, investigative caseworker Dominique Richard
contacted the Wisemans. The following day, Richard visited
Minor at MUSC-IOP and met with therapist ...