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Hundreds rally to protest ruling in foster case

Posted: March 24, 2016 10:17 p.m.
Updated: March 24, 2016 10:17 p.m.
Rusty and Summer Page, right, stand together during a protest at the corner of Magic Mountain Parkway and Valencia Boulevard on Thursday evening. They were protesting their 6-year-old foster daughter’s removal from their home. Signal photo by Katharine Lotze. Rusty and Summer Page, right, stand together during a protest at the corner of Magic Mountain Parkway and Valencia Boulevard on Thursday evening. They were protesting their 6-year-old foster daughter’s removal from their home. Signal photo by Katharine Lotze.
Rusty and Summer Page, right, stand together during a protest at the corner of Magic Mountain Parkway and Valencia Boulevard on Thursday evening. They were protesting their 6-year-old foster daughter’s removal from their home. Signal photo by Katharine Lotze.
Page family supporters hold signs and cheer at the corner of Magic Mountain Parkway and Valencia Boulevard near the courthouse on Thursday evening. Signal photo by Katharine Lotze. Page family supporters hold signs and cheer at the corner of Magic Mountain Parkway and Valencia Boulevard near the courthouse on Thursday evening. Signal photo by Katharine Lotze.
Page family supporters hold signs and cheer at the corner of Magic Mountain Parkway and Valencia Boulevard near the courthouse on Thursday evening. Signal photo by Katharine Lotze.
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Hundreds of Santa Clarita Valley protesters showed up Thursday to the corner of Magic Mountain Parkway and Valencia Boulevard in an effort to bring Lexi, a 6-year-old girl who was removed from her foster parents, back to the valley.

Many in attendance wore gray shirts that read “#BringLexiHome” as they waved signs while motorists passed by. Some shouted “bring Lexi home” or cheered when passing drivers honked in support.

Steve Tolopilo, 33, of Valencia, was one of the organizers of Wednesday’s protest. He said the protest was put together to “bring awareness to the federal law (Indian Child Welfare Act) that impacted Lexi’s life and her family.”

Lexi, who was 17 months old when she was removed from the custody of her biological mother, falls under the federal law governing jurisdiction over the removal of Native American children from their families because she is part Native American.

“The federal law that was put in place does a lot of good,” Tolopilo said. “We feel that in this case it was misapplied.”

Jennifer Seibel, Lexi’s kindergarten teacher in the valley and one of the people at the event, said she was devastated when she found out the girl was taken from the Pages’ home.

“We love Lexi and we love her family,” Seibel said. “We feel that this is wrong what happened to the family. Even if it the law is legally applied, it wasn’t morally applied. She loves this family.”

Lexi’s foster parents, Rusty and Summer Page, were also at Wednesday’s protest.

Lexi, who is 1/64th Native American, was removed from the Pages’ home in Saugus on Monday after the family’s court petition to keep the girl was denied by last week by the 2nd District Court of Appeals.

A spokesman from the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma told The Signal Wednesday that Lexi was home with her biological sisters in Utah and “doing well.”

“The tribe and the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services have been vilified, and the facts of this case have been warped in an attempt to gain public sympathy for the foster family,” Waddel Hearn Jr., the

Choctaw Nation’s public relations director, said in a statement issued Wednesday.

The Pages filed an appeal to the state Supreme Court on Tuesday seeking to have custody awarded to them. Tolopilo said the Pages intend to fight the court’s ruling to the highest court of the land.

“They are planning to fight all the way to the (U.S.) Supreme Court if needed,” Tolopilo said.

The gray shirts were sold at the event for $5 to raise money for the Pages.

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