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Suspects in child murder face CPS cases

News Photo by Julie Riddle Adrienne Pavelka, bottom left, on Thursday appears via videoconference in Alcona County’s Probate Court with attorney Stephen Ihrig, bottom right, as Judge Laura Frawley presides.

HARRISVILLE — A man accused of killing a toddler in Alcona County last month was on Children’s Protective Services’ radar before the child’s death.

In an Alcona County courtroom on Thursday, Judge Laura Frawley said attorneys could request termination of parental rights in a child welfare case against Aaron Trout, charged with felony murder in the death of 2-year-old Jayde McDonnell.

Trout’s criminal charges specify that police believe he killed McDonnell in the commission of child abuse.

A CPS case against Trout, filed more than a year before McDonnell’s death, alleges Trout neglected his three children, according to Justin Wilson, a court-appointed attorney representing Trout’s children. Trout is not McDonnell’s father.

The CPS petition does not accuse Trout of abusing the children, who previously lived in foster care and now are in the care of their mother, Wilson said.

News Photo by Julie Riddle Aaron Trout appears in Alcona County’s Probate Court via videoconference on Thursday.

Because Trout has been charged with murder, Frawley said attorneys could amend the CPS case to ask that Trout be stripped of his parental rights.

CPS also requested termination of parental rights for Adrienne Pavelka, McDonnell’s mother and Trout’s girlfriend, also accused of murder in her daughter’s death.

Pavelka’s other children, a 4-year-old daughter and an infant daughter, are in the care of an aunt, Wilson, who also represents Pavelka’s daughters, told the court.

The girls were not at the same location as McDonnell when she was killed, Wilson told The News.

Police have not said where they believe the girl was killed on or shortly before July 22. Trout is a Glennie resident.

The News could not verify whether CPS has filed any other petitions against Trout or Pavelka, including any cases related to the child who was killed.

Bob Wheaton, spokesman for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, said the department cannot legally release specifics about CPS investigations.

DHHS “is deeply saddened by this child’s death,” Wheaton said. “We express our condolences to family and community. MDHHS is strongly committed to protecting the safety and well-being of all children.”

Frawley agreed to suspend court efforts to reunify Trout and his three children, pending the outcome of his criminal court case.

Frawley also suspended Trout’s parenting time, though his children cannot contact him, anyway, while he remains incarcerated on the murder charge, she said.

Trout and Pavelka are currently held at the Iosco County Jail without bond. They appeared at their respective Thursday hearings via videoconference.

Both return to court next month in their CPS cases.

Julie Riddle can be reached at 989-358-5693 or jriddle@thealpenanews.com. Follow her on Twitter @jriddleX.

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