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Judge Gives Baby Gregory To Parents

June 13, 1995

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ A woman whose baby was taken from her 19 months ago after doctors suspected he had been abused screamed ``Yes! Yes! Yes!″ and broke into tears Monday after a judge ordered the child returned.

U.S. District Judge Robert Wedemeyer said he was acting in the best interests of 2-year-old Gregory Bryant-Bruce Jr., who has a fatal liver condition. It isn’t known how long Gregory has to live.

Wedemeyer said he would probably issue a formal order Tuesday, but saw no problem with Gregory’s parents picking him up on their way home to Atlanta on Monday night.

``This is just an incredibly heady feeling. Exhilaration. Relief. I just can’t explain the relief,″ his mother, Dr. Cheryl Bryant-Bruce, said as tears streamed down her face.

Gregory’s parents didn’t know what they were going to say to their son. ``I’m just going to embrace him and say `Daddy loves you,‴ Gregory Bryant-Bruce Sr. said.

The boy’s family lost custody of him when Gregory was 6 months old after doctors who examined him at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville decided on the basis of the bleeding in his eyes and brain that he was a victim of shaken infant syndrome.

Gregory was placed in a Nashville foster home, where he remained until his mother abducted him and took him to Egleston Children’s Hospital in Atlanta in February.

He was later returned to his foster home, and custodial interference charges against Bryant-Bruce were dismissed.

The tests, meanwhile, revealed Gregory suffers from Alagille’s Syndrome, Egleston pediatrician Benjamin Gold said during Monday’s custody hearing in Montgomery County Circuit Court.

Asked whether the symptoms of Alagille’s Syndrome, which include internal bleeding, could be misconstrued, Gold replied, ``One could confuse it with child abuse.″

The doctor also said he got the impression through Gregory’s medical records that Vanderbilt physicians didn’t believe the child had Alagille’s Syndrome.

Wedemeyer’s ruling was met with shouts of ``Amen!″ and ``Halleluah!″ from the courtroom. Gregory mother’s collapsed against a courtroom bench and cried.

Bryant-Bruce, who brought to court Boo-Boo the clown, a doll that had been with Gregory though all of his hospital stays, said she would hold a belated birthday party for him on July 4. His second birthday was Saturday.

``He’ll belong to Baby now. I don’t need him. I’ve got my baby back,″ she said of the doll.

Bryant-Bruce was an Army physician at Fort Campbell, Ky., in December 1993 when Vanderbilt doctors said Gregory was the victim of child abuse and he was placed in state custody. Her husband, who was with her in court Monday, was an Army helicopter pilot.

The couple now live in Atlanta.

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