By: Roger Landry (TLB)
A System Out Of Control! More and more we are hearing stories like the one we present below. Children are being taken from loving and fit parents for reasons that cannot be justified in our minds, or in the courts. But this does not hinder CPS, DCF or any other local or state family related alphabet soup agency in any fashion. Lies, threats, perjury, trafficking, and many other injustices or blatant crimes are being committed by these out of control agencies, and these incidences are on the rise nation wide.
Once again a corrupt system steps in to redefine parental rights to suit their purpose. Once again the family unit, as it has existed for millennia, is under attack from those who stand to gain, with no conscience or little consideration of the ramifications … or the Law! Our most basic human rights are being violated on an ever increasing basis with little to no oversight.
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS!
The Family bond is the basic building block of society from which morals, loyalty, respect, conscience, compassion and historical knowledge are derived by our children. We are seeing the steady erosion of parental rights across this country in many scenarios from Family Courts, DCF, Common Core, medical kidnapping and more.
For those who seek wealth, power or station in this corrupt system of courts … it is this family bond that will be destroyed so they may succeed. Please read the following article and understand … If you have children … this could very well be a variation on your future story!
Through all you are about to read one fact comes through in a powerful fashion … This mother, that TLB is very proud to represent in this article, will not back down! She will fight a corrupt and illegal system with her very last breath if needed. Take Notice … Take Example and Take Heed because …
If we as a society allow the family unit to be supplanted by corrupt system of courts or an all powerful state … We can never call ourselves a free people again, and the state will in fact own our children!
Latesha and her three year old daughter Siena visited Michigan with hopes of finding new employment, which would allow them to live closer to the child’s father. Shortly after their arrival in Michigan, the child became ill and was taken to the hospital. Following a traumatic experience at the hospital, Siena started making explicit statements indicative of sexual and physical abuse. To date, she has made disclosures to no less than ten adults, including two therapists. Following the initial disclosures, her mother was advised to speak with law enforcement. Latesha reported verbatim statements made by her daughter and was advised that the officer was making a referral to Isabella County Child Protective Serves (CPS) / Department of Human Services (DHS) for further investigation.
Latesha cooperated with the investigation and recommendations of professionals from the Isabella County Child and Family Enrichment Council team, which includes:
Isabella County Child Advocacy Center, Helen DeVos Center for Child Protection, Listening Ear, Isabella County Department of Human Services, Isabella County Sheriff’s Department, and Isabella County Prosecuting Attorney
Latesha was advised to withhold visitation with Siena’s father during the investigation. However, she was also informed that she could be held in contempt of court if she did not initiate court action, because the parents have a shared parenting agreement in place in Ohio. DHS requested that Latesha wait to file court action to allow police time to interview the child’s father. She was also asked to not take her daughter to a previously scheduled appointment with her primary care physician, to ensure Siena was “evaluated only one time” by their preferred physician at Helen DeVos Center for Child Protection.
As part of the evaluation at the Child Protection Center, Latesha was asked to provide great detail about Siena’s medical and developmental history. This included discussion about the child’s regression with toilet training and breastfeeding. Siena would only defecate in a pull-up while hiding under a table or in a corner, although she had been almost fully toilet trained several months prior. She also insisted on nursing more frequently, which coincided with waking at night with apparent nightmares. The child abuse specialist advised that the vast majority of sexual abuse cases have no physical medical evidence. An “extended forensic interview” was recommended to allow the child to establish rapport with the interviewer, in addition to regular counseling with an experienced therapist.
During the investigation, Latesha expressed concern to DHS worker, Lori Turner, about whether Michigan Child Protection Law, Michigan Department of Human Services policies, and Michigan Forensic Interviewing Protocols were being followed. She ultimately filed complaints regarding various legal and policy violations.
During a court hearing in Isabella County on March 11, 2015, Siena’s parents were advised that Michigan lacked jurisdiction and that they must commence proceedings in the child’s home state to address the abuse disclosures. The parties retained legal counsel in Ohio. Siena’s mother contacted a child advocacy center in Ohio regarding an “extended forensic interview” as recommended by the Center for Child Protection physician.
Prior to having the court hearing in Ohio to address Siena’s disclosures of abuse, the child’s father was shot to death. Her maternal grandmother, Mary Bigford, was arrested as the alleged perpetrator of the crime. The child and her mother were visiting family on their way to Ohio at the time of the incident. Latesha cooperated with police investigation of the incident and interviewed with them prior to leaving Michigan.
A month after the death of Siena’s father, and despite knowledge that Latesha and Siena did not reside, nor were they present in Michigan, Isabella County DHS demanded that Latesha produce Siena for a “welfare check”. When this did not occur, DHS filed a petition seeking an “ex parte” emergency removal order for Siena. Latesha was neither notified nor provided an opportunity to be heard.
Detective Don Sytsema, of the Mount Pleasant Police Department, requested a warrant in the criminal case of Mary Bigford to track the GPS locations of Latesha’s phone, under the guise that it would provide additional evidence in the case against Mary Bigford. The information obtained was used to execute an unlawful seizure of Siena without a warrant or exigent circumstances from a private residence in the state of Florida. The mother and child were traumatized by being held hostage by teams of police for over five hours prior to the the child’s seizure. Siena was detained in Florida at an undisclosed location for four days. Isabella County DHS employees traveled to Florida and transported the child to Michigan, then placed her in foster care.
The day after the unlawful removal from her mother, Siena’s maternal uncle, Justin Bigford, was arrested at the Isabella County Courthouse, while attempting to attend a hearing regarding the child. He was charged with three counts of misdemeanor welfare fraud for allegedly using Mary Bigford’s SNAP food benefits card after her incarceration; although DHS documents list him as a member of Mary Bigford’s assistance case. The arrest warrant was issued that same morning, with a bond set at $15,000 for crimes that total no more than $1,500 in fines if convicted. Conviction of these particular charges would also disqualify her uncle as a placement option for Siena, under a DHS “moral fitness” clause.
DHS requested an “expedited home study” for an unnamed party in another state for placement of Siena. It is believed that this party is likely an extended family member of the child’s father. Siena does not know her father’s extended family and would surely be traumatized by being placed with strangers that would likely be dismissive of disclosures of abuse.
Siena remains in foster care and is only able to see her mother for 3 hours of supervised visitation per week. She is being denied access to her therapist (to whom she made disclosures of abuse). DHS also refuses to provide justification for why Siena was not placed with family after being unlawfully removed from her mother, despite the availability and willingness of at least three local family members.
These events seem to have been instigated by the father’s former attorney sharing with the media that she had filed a libelous petition against Latesha, in which she claims to be representing both Siena’s deceased father and an “unnamed party”. It appears that DHS subsequently collaborated with this attorney in the preparation of their own petition. The egregious allegations against Latesha include extended breastfeeding, manufacturing a medical diagnosis, and alleged connection with the death of her child’s father. They have also tried to insinuate that Siena is lying about being abused by her father.
To date, neither DHS nor the father’s former attorney have produced evidence to support their claims, despite a demand for discovery being filed months ago.
The allegation regarding extended breastfeeding reads as follows:
“On January 20, 2015, Latesha Bigford told Dr. Simms that Siena will wake up during most nights screaming and yelling so she (Latesha) will “nurse” Siena to calm her down. She described this technique as providing her breast to Siena to suck on. Latesha Bigford is not lactating. Dr. Simms gave the following opinion regarding Latesha Bigford’s “calming technique”: Children can be breast fed for prolonged periods of time, but if oral/breast contact is done without the provision of feeding, this is not breast feeding. I do not know if mom receives some type of sexual gratification from this behavior (we have had cases where this was involved). I would suggest a psychological evaluation of the mom and child, and do not think this is healthy behavior.”
Latesha was shocked to read the above allegations, since she was in fact lactating and has never indicated otherwise, as she practices extended breastfeeding. DHS attributed the above statements to Dr. Simms, however, the doctor reports that she did not say “Latesha Bigford is not lactating”. It is believed that the following sentences were simply fabricated: “She described this technique as providing her breast to Siena to suck on. Latesha Bigford is not lactating.” Upon receipt of medical verification that Latesha is lactating, DHS responded that Latesha would need to prove that she was lactating in the past. However, DHS has made no indication of the dates or locations of the alleged offenses for which they ask for such “proof”. DHS also tried to insinuate that Latesha may have induced lactation recently, although she was served notice of their accusations on June 18, 2015 and had a physician verify that she was lactating on June 23, 2015.
The allegation regarding manufacturing a medical diagnosis reads as follows:
“Dr. Simms also noted that Latesha Bigford reported that Siena has premature adrenarche (precocious puberty) despite having a negative bone age, negative hormonal testing, and no physical examination findings of hair growth that is necessary for such a diagnosis.”
Latesha was also shocked to read this allegation because Siena was diagnosed with premature adrenarche by a Pediatric Endocrynologist in Ohio, almost a year prior to visiting the state of Michigan. It should be noted that “premature adrenarche” and “precocious puberty” are not interchangeable diagnoses. Latesha reported Siena’s diagnosis as part of her medical history during the child’s evaluation at the Helen Devos Center for Child Protection in January of 2015. Dr. Simms was not provided with medical records from the Pediatric Endocrynologist, so it is unclear how an opinion challenging their diagnosis was made. Isabella County Child Protective Services was provided with these specialist records, which confirm the diagnosis and basis upon which it was made. CPS worker, Lori Turner, acknowledged that she is in possesion of these records at a recent court hearing.
The motive for the father’s former attorney to claim that she is representing a deceased or anonymous party, and her disclosure of confidential child protection case information to the media without consent is unknown. The nature of the relationship with her former client is unclear. It is believed that DHS’s unlawful seizure and detainment of Siena, while denying the child mental health services and making egregious allegations against Latesha is meant to influence the criminal case against Mary Bigford.
Latesha is concerned about continued retaliatory actions against her family by DHS and law enforcement for complaints that she has filed against them. During the most recent court hearing, Isabella County Prosecuting Attorney, Risa Scully, mocked the fact that Latesha has filed civil rights complaints.
Latesha’s attorney, Elizabeth Warner, of Jackson Michigan, has filed for dismissal of the case, due to Michigan’s lack of jurisdiction per state and federal law.
Latesha vehemently denies any connection with the death of her child’s father. She is adamant that extended breastfeeding is not child abuse and that parents should not be accused of child abuse when there is disagreement or confusion about a child’s medical diagnosis.
Contact: info@SavingSiena.com / media@SavingSiena.com
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Legal Notice: Any statements or assertions on this website are not direct quotes or statements from any party related to this case.
TLB Note: Reprinted with the permission of, and at the request of, Saving Siena.