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Fort Lee soldier’s custody case goes to the U.S. Supreme Court

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PETERSBURG, Va. (WTVR) - Sgt. 1st Class Sergeant Jeff Chafin spent the last 14 years serving our country, but the struggle to get his daughter, 5-year-old Eris, back home to the United States has taken an even greater toll.

“She’s my life, you know? I mean this whole thing is that she’s my child,” he said.

In 2007, Chafin married Eris’ mother, Lynn. Two years later Lynn was deported and took Eris with her. Since then, a U.S. District Court judge ruled Eris was to remain with her mother and Chafin has been battling with the courts to get his daughter back.

Chafin thinks the fact that he’s in the military has worked against him.

“There`s a stigma out there that single parents in the military can’t provide a good life for their families, and why is that? If a single parent couldn’t do it in the military, they wouldn’t be allowed in the military,“ he said.

So far, Chafin has spent almost $100,000 to pay for court costs. Since he’s running out of money, Chafin’s parents hold fundraisers in Missouri posted on a website that he’s created called

“She’s asked me multiple times she wants to come home,” he said.

The last time Chafin saw Eris was in July.

“We were playing and she was messing around with my suitcase and said, 'Daddy,  if I zip this up I can go home with you?'” he said.

And now, with the rare opportunity he’s been granted by the U.S. Supreme Court to hear oral arguments on his case, he believes there’s a chance Eris will come home.

“It’s amazing, but it also shows something’s broken [in our court system],” he said.

The U. S. Supreme Court will hear his case December 5, 2012. If they don’t’ rule in his favor, Chafin’s only option is to go to Scotland and plead his case there.