David and Sharon Schoo - dubbed the "Home Alone" couple and "America's most hated couple" - have given up all rights to the daughters they left home when they took a Christmas vacation to Mexico.
The west suburban Chicago pair left Nicole, 9, and Diana, 4, in their suburban St. Charles home and were arrested in late December at O'Hare International Airport when they returned from a nine-day trip to Acapulco.The case prompted legislators to change Illinois law to better define what constitutes child aban-don-ment.
It was a police officer - when asked what warranted the massive police and media presence at the airport - who responded, "America's most hated couple."
On Tuesday, the Schoos gave up all rights to the girls in a hearing before a Kane County Juvenile Court judge, two unidentified sources told the Kane County Chronicle in what was described as an exclusive story Saturday.
Judge Richard Larson issued a gag order that forbids attorneys from discussing the case.
"They can't get them back," one person told the newspaper. "I've never heard of parents who flat out don't want them. These people just don't want them."
"Those children will be lucky if they come out of this with normal lives," said Tom Mueller, an attorney who represents a private child watchdog agency.
But it was not the first time Sharon Schoo has given up permanent custody of a child. She gave up a son by a previous marriage and the son said at one point he would like to meet his mother, who lived less than 20 miles away, but would change nothing about his current life.
The girls were taken into custody by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services shortly after their parents left. The girls' plight became known when a bathtub overflowed and shorted out a smoke alarm and they went to neighbors for help.