MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Myrtle Beach family members of a 4-year-old boy who received national attention after an Ohio town posted photos to social media of him seen in the back of an SUV - while his grandmother and her friend were passed out in the front from alleged heroin overdoses - said he is doing very well in his new home along the Grand Strand.
In a statement sent to WMBF News Tuesday evening, Terry and Lori Lane – identified as his maternal uncle and aunt - said the boy is "happy, healthy and very much loved."
"Over the past two years, we saw him regularly and he visited with us in our home just about every month for extended periods of time," the statement read. "When he came to live with us last week, he didn't get a 'new home.' He was already part of our family and always had a home with us."
The Lanes went on to say his maternal great-grandparents started raising the boy when he was just eight days old and were eventually awarded custody of him when he was four months old due to both of his biological parents dealing with substance abuse.
Eventually, the boy's paternal grandmother, Rhonda Pasek, filed a petition seeking custody after the great-grandparents knew they would not be able to raise him into adulthood, the statement said.
Pasek had custody of the child approximately six weeks before she and her companion, James Acord, were photographed passed out from an alleged drug overdose while the boy was in the back of the SUV.
"Once we became aware of what happened, we immediately sought and were granted an order from the court allowing us to take custody of our nephew so that we could protect and provide for him," the Lanes said.
The entire statement can be read below: