Cairus guardianship hearing rescheduled

Friday, October 31, 2014

Autistic man's mother files for guardianship

A guardianship hearing for 18-year-old autistic man Tyler Cairus scheduled for Friday was pushed back, as Cairus' mother, Wendy Cairus, filed for guardianship on Thursday.

According to Judge Robert Foulke, who is presiding over the case, the petition from Wendy Cairus came too close to the hearing date, forcing the delay. Foulke said all parties must have at least five days between the time such petitions are filed and the time of the hearing.

Wendy Cairus said she was on the fence about filing for guardianship, but decided to do it because of her distrust in the state.

"I don't trust the state because they've failed him since he was a child," she said. "When he was young, I asked for supervised visitation when [Tyler] was with his father, and they told me something bad would have to happen first, and it did. Then when we went to court against his father, Tyler did not have the ability to tell anyone what actually happened and his father got off free."

Tyler Cairus, who is being held in the Barry County jail on a $100,000 cash-only bond, is set to be transported to the Department of Mental Health in Fulton in the last week of November.

He was arrested on charges of attempted statutory sodomy and attempted statutory rape after an incident at Monett Elementary School. He was allegedly standing outside the fence near the playground when he was approached by school staff, telling school personnel and police that he was at the location to take a child home with whom to perform sexual acts -- by force, if necessary.

Wendy Cairus said the whole process has been a frustrating one.

"I guess I'll just come back every time they tell me to jump through hoops," she said.

One of Cairus' concerns about trying to take guardianship was the cost of her son's treatment in Fulton.

"I emailed Fulton six times and they said the cost should never fall on the guardian," she said.

Cairus said although it has been tough, she remains resolute.

"Where there's a will, there's a way," she said.

Johnnie Cox, Barry County prosecuting attorney, said at the Department of Mental Health, Tyler Cairus will undergo six months of competency restoration to see if he is able to stand trial.

"They could make the determination that he's competent to proceed and file a motion to proceed, or they could recommend another six months of evaluation, or they could make the determination he is not competent and never will be," Cox said.

After his arrest, Cairus was sent to the in-patient psychiatric hospital at Cox North in Springfield, then transported to the county jail. Cairus was also sent to the Mental Health Department for a one-day evaluation, which found him incompetent. Based on those results, he was ordered to go to Fulton for the competency restoration. The department then had to find a bed for Cairus, forcing him to still be held in the jail.

"The Department of Mental Health is the only facility in the state available for competency restoration," Cox said. "We have to do this about one or two times per year."

Cox said he would not comment on what he believes the competency restoration will reveal.

"I do not want to speculate on what condition he is in," he said.

Cox said he has seen competency restoration find people fit to proceed in the past.

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