With Michael Klein and his estranged wife, Christine, on the brink of losing their Town of Tonawanda home through foreclosure, a judge Thursday agreed to let him collect his personal belongings within the next 30 days.
Erie County Family Court Judge James H. Dillon ordered Klein, 53, now living in Niagara Falls, to notify him so he can arrange to have police present when he goes to the couple's Dupont Avenue home.
The judge Thursday also left the couple's 5-year-old daughter, Kaylee, in the sole custody of Mrs. Klein, 44.
Concluding a brief proceeding linked to his Jan. 25 ruling that Klein had mistreated the child -- subject of a nationwide manhunt two years ago -- the judge told Mrs. Klein that if her estranged husband does not pick up his belongings within 30 days she can discard them.
He also directed her to inform his staff when she gets a new residence so he can alter the one-year order of protection he issued Thursday barring Klein from contact with her.
After the court session, Klein confirmed that he is on the brink of seeking a divorce to end their 18-year marriage.
Klein was permitted by Dillon to continue his supervised weekly visits with his daughter, but the judge said Catholic Charities officials will have to arrange such visits.
On Jan. 25, Dillon found Klein guilty of a noncriminal family offense for verbally abusing his daughter and throwing her off his lap Nov. 11. After spending 48 days in jail, Klein was released Jan. 17 after pleading guilty before Town of Tonawanda Justice Frank Caruso to a misdemeanor charge of attempted trespass for allegedly harassing his estranged wife Dec. 1.
The Kleins regained custody of their daughter five months ago after she had lived in foster homes for 17 months.
Kaylee was first placed in a foster home in April 1998 after neighbors complained about her parents' fighting, but she was returned to her parents in September 1998.
In January 1999, the county renewed Family Court child-protection proceedings only to have the couple flee with Kaylee on Feb. 2, 1999, and, with the help of friends, remain fugitives until the FBI tracked them down on March 1, 1999, in Plainfield, Conn.