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Texas parents get custody of kids living in bus

CONROE, Texas — Nearly a year after their two children were found living virtually unsupervised in an old school bus in Southeast Texas, two parents regained full custody Tuesday when a judge dismissed a child welfare case against them.

‘‘It feels really good,’’ said Sherrie Shorten, of Splendora, after she and her husband, Mark, appeared at a hearing.

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Last March, the Shortens were serving an 18-month federal prison term for conspiracy to embezzle Hurricane Ike benefits in Louisiana when a postal worker repeatedly spotted the disheveled children, Jessica, 12, and Chance, 6, in the Montgomery County area. Child welfare officials were notified and took the children into foster custody.

Despite its worn appearance, the bus inside had been renovated, furnished, had hot and cold water and a bathroom, and was air-conditioned. The family moved it from Louisiana after their home there was flooded from Hurricane Ike.

The Shortens had arranged with an aunt to care for the children while they were imprisoned but the woman told authorities her 12-hour workdays and caring for the children had overwhelmed her.

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