The preschooler taken from his parents when they halted his chemotherapy is no closer to going home—the parents of Noah McAdams, now 4, were denied custody of their son in a ruling Monday in Florida, WFLA reports. Noah was 3 when he was removed from his parents' care and placed in the custody of his maternal grandparents in May. His parents, Taylor Bland and Joshua McAdams, said that chemotherapy is too "brutal" on the body and that they left the state to seek a second opinion on treating the boy's leukemia with alternative therapies. Noah has since continued to receive chemo against his parents' wishes as they fought in court to bring him home. On Monday, Hillsborough County judge Thomas Palermo said he did not believe the couple would continue Noah's chemo treatments and remain in the state; he ruled Noah must stay with his grandparents.
During the custody trial, a doctor testified that there is a 90% to 95% success rate when treating the type of cancer Noah has using "a protocol that is half a century old." In his ruling, Palermo said that there was no evidence presented at the trial that any type of alternative therapy would be effective, and that the boy "is at substantial risk of imminent death by his parents." Bland and McAdams, who do have supervised visitation with their son and can be present during his treatments, can appeal the ruling. To regain custody, they must work with Child Protective Services on a reunification plan, obey all the judge's requirements, and, per CNN, undergo psychological evaluations. A lawyer for the couple tells NBC News they are "devastated." On Instagram, where Bland posts frequent updates, she vowed that "the battle has just begun." (More on the case's origins here.)