Missouri Parents Craig Lentz and Ibbaanika Bond fight for the best interest of their son, Noah Levi Bond
Two years ago Megan and Stuart Taylor coerced Ibbaanika Bond into signing away her parental rights through legal fraud. When she tried to get her baby back the local Jackson County family court denied both of her motions without so much as a hearing, and put her under a gag order for the next two years, threatening to throw her in jail if she talked about what had happened to her or held a protest. The baby’s father, Craig Lentz, never signed away his rights and did everything the state said he had to do to establish his paternity. The local family court said that under a new law, sect 453.030 of the Missouri Statutes, he had no right to his son and would not allow him to present any evidence of his paternity. Craig was on the birth certificate, and the local court would not take that into account. He had a DNA test, and the local family circuit court barred DNA from being admitted. He had been involved and supporting his son from the time he found out Ibbaanika was pregnant but the local court deemed that to be inadmissible. They gave Craig’s baby to the Taylors and put him under the same gag order as Ibbaanika.
Craig’s case went to the Supreme Court of Missouri in December of 2006. He won unanimously. The Taylors tried to have the Supreme Court case put under a gag order but the Supreme Court denied their request to gag the case. The Supreme Court found that it could never be found that Craig abandoned his son. He had done everything the state required to establish his paternity. The Supreme Court sent it back down to the local court so Craig could present evidence of his fitness as a parent and get his son back.
When Craig got back down to the local level, instead of letting him present evidence of his fitness as a parent, the local court refused to acknowledge the Supreme Court of Missouri’s finding that his paternity had been established—that he had the same rights as any married father under the Missouri State constitution and the United States constitution. Instead they let the Taylors just file for a third adoption even though the other two adoption petitions that they had already filed were overturned by the Supreme Court of Missouri. This was illegal. This child was unadoptable without the legal father’s—Craig Lentz’s consent, but this court just imposed another gag order and did whatever it pleased. The main reason that was stated on the petition for the adoption and termination of Craig rights were that he had neglected and abandoned his son for 6 months prior to the filing of this third petition for adoption. The Supreme Court had already made a finding that he did not abandon his son. Craig was winning in the Supreme Court three months prior to the filing of the new petition. He also sent a check for $450.00 for child support, though he was never ordered to pay child support, which the Taylors received a day before they filed this third petition for adoption. However the Commissioner John F. Payne just gave an order for the date of filing to be back dated six days and let them file the adoption anyway.
Then Commissioner Payne just kept scheduling hearings and at the last minute he would cancel them. He canceled one for a procedural reason a week after the Supreme Courts decision was finalized. Two months later he canceled the hearing because he “had a divorce that was running long.” (This was illegal because according to state law contested adoption proceedings are supposed to be heard before all other hearings because the permanency of the child is of utmost importance) Three months later Commissioner Payne gave an all summer, three month long extension to the Taylors because their attorney Cheri Cole Simpkins’, 9 month old son might have to have a tonsillectomy that he never had. The Commissioner Payne was removed from the case for letting the Taylors have that extension. The new commissioner Molly Merrigan tried to have a hearing at the end of July but the Taylor’s attorney Cheri Cole Simpkins said that “no time would be good for her until the end of August,” In August Commissioner Molly Merrigan was supposed to have a hearing on the adoption and Craig’s fitness as a parent.
At that hearing she acknowledged, and gave an order stating, that indeed Craig’s paternity had been established, and that it had been a finding by the Supreme Court that he was Noah Levi Bond’s natural father and that his paternity was established. As such the Adoption petition should have been dismissed then, because Craig was a fit parent and he did not consent to the adoption of his son. Instead though, Commissioner Molly Merrigan refused to have a trial and started a 211 DFS investigation for abuse on Craig even though he had never abused or neglected his son and had never been accused of any abuse, neglect, or wrong doing. At the cost of the taxpayers Commissioner Molly Merrigan had Craig investigated up one side and down the other—just like a person that committed child abuse would be, only he never committed any abuse. She only gave Craig supervised visitation—just like a child-abusing parent would get though there was never any abuse. A court date was then set for October 22, 2007 where the petition for adoption was to be decided and the abuse investigation was to be decided.
On October 22, 2007 the juvenile officer for the DFS dropped the investigation against Craig because he had never done anything wrong and he was a fit parent and the DFS therapist recommended a six week plan for reunification with his son. As such the court had no jurisdiction and they definitely should have given Craig’s son back to him. But Molly Merriggan continued on with hearings on the adoption petition. In court it was revealed that the Taylors had actually been breaking the gag order, that they had requested, for three years with a blog that chronicled the way that they planned to steal baby Noah, which was posted online. This blog also revealed in their own words that they had been committing welfare fraud and lying to the court about it, that they were mean to Noah when his parents sent gifts, and that they were planning to flee the country with baby Noah. In this blog Megan Taylor describes herself as semi-stable and talks about how she wants Craig dead when he sends his son a Christmas present because it would simplify her life. Though the court allowed this to be entered into evidence, Commisioner Molly Merrigan said that she thought it was normal for these things to be written, given the stress of the trial and that even though specific information was posted about trial dates and their outcomes on the internet Commissioner Merrigan said that she didn’t think that the blog violated the gag order.
On January 1, 2007 Commisioner Molly Merrigan terminated Craig’s parental rights for the exact same reasons that the Supreme Court had already overturned the earlier petition. She directly defied the Supreme Court of Missouri and cut off all visitation that Craig had with his son immediately. Craig didn’t even get a chance to tell Noah good-bye. Craig had been visiting with Noah twice a week in Craig’s home for six months, planning for Noah’s homecoming. Noah is a very sweet boy and has gotten very close with his father and his grandmother as well. He tells them he loves them all the time. He has his own room at Craig home that he calls his room, with toys he picked out and furniture bought just for him. Now his room sits empty and according to Commissioner Molly Merrigan Craig will never see his son again.
This is a kidnapping. The Supreme Court of Missouri already decided that Craig was Noah’s legal father. He did everything he was supposed to, as required by the state, to establish himself as Noah’s legal father–as was found by the Supreme Court. Through a DFS investigation the state has declared him to be a fit father and found that he never abused or neglected his son. Commissioner Molly Merrigan cannot just terminate Craig Lentz’s parental rights and cut him out of his sons life forever just because she feels like it. That is illegal–and that is what she is trying to do. She is defying both the Missouri state constitution, the US constitution, the Supreme Court of Missouri and the Missouri state laws governing adoption. This Commissioner must not be allowed to kidnap this child—she must be stopped. This court has wasted a year of Noah Levi Bonds life.
NEITHER PARENT HAS EVER ABUSED OR NEGLECTED NOAH. NOAH BOND IS BEING GREATLY HURT BY THIS COURT’S ACTIONS! The court has played around with this case for two and a half years. Noah has parents who love him and who are entitled by the United States Constitution to raise him. THE COURT IS NOT TAKING THE BEST INTEREST OF NOAH SERIOUSLY.
THE LOCAL FAMILY COURT IS DEFYING THE ORDERS OR THE SUPREME COURT OF MISSOURI. IF WE CANNOT COUNT ON OUR COURTS TO OBEY THE LAW HOW CAN WE BE A CIVIL SOCIETY? AS RESPONSIBLE CITIZENS WE MUST STAND AGAINST THIS. PLEASE STAND WITH US!
HIGHLIGHT AND PASTE THIS TO READ CRAIG’S BRIEF BEFORE THE SUPREME COURT FOR YOURSELF: http://www.courts.mo.gov/SUP/index.nsf/fe8feff4659e0b7b8625699f0079eddf/74d3f52ba33838ff8625720d005619ab/$FILE/SC87291_Lentz_brief.pdf
HIGHLIGHT AND PASTE THIS TO READ THE SUPREME COURTS DECISION FOR YOURSELF: http://www.courts.mo.gov/Courts/PubOpinions.nsf/0f87ea4ac0ad4c0186256405005d3b8e/cd66e41a4fa779528625725e0050747c?OpenDocument
If this is being done to them, it will happen in other cases as well. This couple has gone above the call of duty. The courts are against the natural parents in almost every case. Its time to demand justice. To the adopters in this case and the many others, this is now public news and knowledge. You will end up losing in the end. You will pay hell in God's eyes. These children will find out exactly what YOU have done. You will pay for your greed.