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Steve Gilliard, 1964-2007

It is with tremendous sadness that we must convey the news that Steve Gilliard, editor and publisher of The News Blog, passed away June 2, 2007. He was 42.

To those who have come to trust The News Blog and its insightful, brash and unapologetic editorial tone, we have Steve to thank from the bottom of our hearts. Steve helped lead many discussions that mattered to all of us, and he tackled subjects and interest categories where others feared to tread.

Please keep Steve's friends and family in your thoughts and prayers.

Steve meant so much to us.

We will miss him terribly.

photo by lindsay beyerstein


Custody voided, child returned to parents

Shao-Qiang, left, and Qin Luo He after the
Tennessee Supreme Court ordered their daughter,
Anna Mae, returned to them.

Tennessee Court Orders Return of Girl, 7, to Biological Parents

Published: January 24, 2007

NASHVILLE, Jan. 23 — Almost eight years after a Chinese couple living in Memphis
placed their daughter into what they thought was temporary foster care, the Tennessee Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered that she be returned to her biological parents.

The unanimous decision is likely to settle a convoluted parental-rights dispute framed by cultural differences and conflicting notions of parenthood.

The court reversed lower court rulings that had terminated the parental rights of Shao-Qiang and Qin Luo He and gave custody of the child, Anna Mae He, now 7, to her foster parents, Jerry and Louise Baker. The court sent the case back to juvenile court for entry of an order that would permit Anna to be returned to the Hes.

“We always had the faith that our child would be reunited with us,” Mr. He said, adding that he planned to return to China with his family.
Shortly after Mrs. He became pregnant, a student accused Mr. He of attempted rape. Mr. He, who was eventually acquitted, lost his teaching position and, later, a part-time job at the school. He also faced deportation, which was put on hold until the girl’s custody was resolved.

The Hes sought advice about temporary foster care for their daughter until their finances stabilized. After the birth, a juvenile court placed the baby with the Bakers.


After four months, the Bakers asked a chancery court to terminate the Hes’ parental rights, claiming they had abandoned the girl. A judge ruled for the Bakers, concluding that the Hes were manipulative and dishonest. The Tennessee Court of Appeals affirmed the termination.

In its ruling, the State Supreme Court threw out the parental termination, saying the couple had not abandoned Anna. The court also said that the Hes had achieved financial stability and were “ably taking care” of their other two children.

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