Wednesday, July 25, 2007


This story was brought to my attention. It gets sadder by the minute. Here is the link and the published story is below.

By Leah

Before 5-month-old Madison Erickson was taken from her Itawamba County home Saturday, her birth mother, Jamie Kiefer, was taking steps to revoke what her attorney says was not a legal adoption.
Joey Langston, of Langston Law Firm in Booneville, said Kiefer had not waived her parental rights nor had she consented to the adoption of Madison Erickson; therefore, she could not have abducted her own baby, he said. Kiefer's sister, Rikki Swann, also allegedly was involved in the abduction.
The two sisters are facing kidnapping and robbery charges. Three masked people took Madison at gunpoint.
Langston said Kiefer's ex-husband, Daniel Kiefer, who worked at a Tupelo steakhouse with Jennifer and Matt Erickson, Madison's adoptive parents, started the adoption process. Madison was 2 weeks old then.
Langston said Daniel Kiefer, in cooperation with the Ericksons, coaxed his ex-wife into signing papers waiving her parental rights in exchange for a reconciliation of their marriage.
"She was excited about having a child, but her ex-husband told her if she didn't put the baby up for adoption, he would not consider reuniting with her," he said.
Daniel Kiefer's brother, Jimmy, is the biological father of Madison.
Jimmy Kiefer could not consent to an adoption because, when the baby was born, he was in the State Penitentiary at Parchman for violating parole for attempted murder, Langston said.
Daniel and Jamie Kiefer divorced after Daniel realized the affair and the resulting pregnancy. Daniel Kiefer could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.
Jamie Kiefer, while living with Daniel, exhibited symptoms of postpartum depression before, during and after she signed the parental surrender papers, said her former attorney, Daniel Tucker of Booneville. Tom Velie, executive director at New Beginnings International Children's & Family Services adoption agency in Mississippi, said because Madison's so-called adoption was done privately through an attorney - and not through an agency - Kiefer may not have received thorough counseling before she decided to give up the baby. He is not involved in the case.
After she signed the papers, Daniel Kiefer took his ex-wife to see a specialist in Maryland, who diagnosed her with severe postpartum depression and advised her to stop the adoption process immediately, Tucker said. The couple flew back to Mississippi, where Jamie Kiefer was again diagnosed with severe postpartum depression, he said. Jamie Kiefer hired Tucker to reverse the parental surrender.
"On May 11, we sent to Dan Davis' office (in Tupelo, where the adoption was handled) a letter of revocation," Tucker said. "We went to court in June to have a temporary hearing, and the judge would not immediately set (the adoption) aside."
Davis, the attorney who handled the adoption was contacted at his home Tuesday night. He said his office would release a statement soon.
A judge scheduled a hearing for Sept. 19 on Jamie Kiefer's motion to stop the adoption.
Authorities say Jamie Kiefer and two other armed intruders took Madison after using an electrical cord to tie up Jennifer Erickson, who called authorities after freeing herself. Swann may have been involved after the initial abduction, authorities say.
According to Langston, the sisters' father, Joseph Richard Triste, voluntarily turned himself in Tuesday night to the Itawamba County Sheriff's Department, allegedly admitting he was involved in the abduction. Langston said Triste was charged with burglary and breaking and entering. Itawamba County Sheriff Phil Crane could not be reached Tuesday night to confirm Triste's surrender or confession.
Madison was found unharmed Sunday more than 600 miles from her home at a Fort Bragg Army base apartment about 60 miles south of Raleigh, N.C.
Swann lived at Fort Bragg before her husband was deployed to Afghanistan but since had moved back to Mississippi.
Langston and Swann's attorney, Casey Lott of Lott Law Firm in Booneville, are flying to the Cumberland County jail in North Carolina today to discuss legal strategy with Jamie Kiefer and Swann, both of Toshomingo County and in their 20s.
In a court appearance there Tuesday morning, the sisters signed extradition papers agreeing to return to Mississippi to be tried on state charges.. Both also were charged in North Carolina with being fugitives from justice, according to The Associated Press.
"(Jamie Kiefer) is not a bad person. She is a caring mother who was suffering from a problem a lot of women face. Unfortunately, it's not their choice; this is a chemical imbalance," Tucker said. "I talked to the girl many times, and I saw the love and passion she had for her baby.
"You have a natural mother who had PPD wanting her child."
Langston said some of his associates will visit a Mississippi courthouse today to confirm his belief the adoption was not legal. If that is the case, Jamie Kiefer cannot be punished for taking her own baby, he said.
Officials in the U.S. attorney's office for the Northern District of Mississippi still are deciding whether federal charges are appropriate.
Officials in that office would not comment because the case is still ongoing.
FBI Special Agent Jason Pack could not say when the sisters would return to Mississippi.
The sisters could face up to life in prison for the state charges and for the federal charges if they are filed.
Madison's parents made it back to Mississippi from North Carolina on Monday with the baby, where family members awaited their homecoming at the Ericksons' home.
The adoptive parents have been granted temporary custody since Jamie Kiefer is in jail, Tucker said.
A man answering the phone at the Ericksons' home Tuesday said the Ericksons had changed their minds about taking media calls until further notice. He said he could not speak on their behalf.
The FBI, the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation and the Itawamba County Sheriff's Department are working together to find a woman also suspected of being involved in the abduction

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