Woman: Mom Took My Baby Because Father Is White

Baby removed from Florida hospital by tribal police
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 22, 2018 5:42 PM CDT
Florida Parents Say Tribe Kidnapped Their Baby
In this March 20, 2018 photo, Justin Johnson and his Miccosukee girlfriend, Rebecca Sanders, who gave birth to baby Ingrid Ronan Johnson on March 16, only to see the baby whisked away by Miccosukee Police, pose for photos in Miami, Fla.   (Emily Michot/Miami Herald via AP)

Two days after her birth, Ingrid Johnson was removed from a Florida hospital and her parents in what appears to be a familial dispute that has grown into a wider battle about the jurisdiction of tribal authorities, the Miami Herald reports. On Sunday, officers from the Miccosukee tribal police arrived at Baptist Hospital in Kendall with an order from a tribal court judge to remove Ingrid from her Miccosukee mother, 28-year-old Rebecca Sanders, and white father, 36-year-old Justin Johnson. While tribal police mostly have jurisdiction on the reservation over 30 miles away, the hospital says it allowed them to take the baby because they were accompanied by Miami-Dade officers. But Miami-Dade police say they were misled by tribal police, who claimed to have a "federal court order." "I thought the tribe was to protect its people, not use its own rulings to control its people," Sanders says.

Sanders says her mother, Betty Osceola, is behind the tribal court order. She says Osceola doesn't want Ingrid's white father to be part of her life and tried to have Johnson removed from the hospital after Ingrid's birth. “She didn’t want him there," Sanders says. The tribal court order says it's in the "best interest" of all three of Sanders' children to be in Osceola's custody, though it doesn't mention anything Sanders did wrong. The whereabouts of Osceola and Ingrid are unknown. “We don’t know the health of the baby," a lawyer for Sanders says. "We don’t know if she is receiving proper care." Sanders and Johnson have filed complaints with various jurisdictions, and the state is investigating if what tribal authorities did was legal. Meanwhile, Sen. Marco Rubio calls it a kidnapping. "This won’t end well for tribe if they don’t return child asap," he tweets. Read the full story here. (More Florida stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.