by Health Impact News/MedicalKidnap.com Staff
The date was May 23, 2012. It was a beautiful midwife-assisted homebirth: a planned water birth and lotus birth. Mother Dontia, father Armondo, big brother Deon, and new baby sister Asaliah, were all happy and doing great after the birth. However, concerns regarding redness around the umbilical cord at Asaliah’s navel caused mom to seek medical treatment on June 8, 2012, at the OSF St. Francis Children’s Hospital in Peoria, Illinois.
Little did Dontia know that this seemingly unassuming trip to the E.R., seeking help for her baby’s infection, would reportedly end up completely destroying her life by removing both her 11 year-old son and her newborn baby from her custody, violating what she claims is her constitutional right to religious freedom, and later, while still in the midst of fighting CPS for her medically kidnapped children, sending her into a life of hiding and secrecy to protect the life of her third unborn child.
Deon is now 14, Asaliah is now 3, and her third child (un-named to conceal her identity and protect her from being seized), is now 2. Dontia has not seen or spoken to Deon in three years, nor has she had visitations with Asaliah since she fled Illinois, unable to bear the loss of another child.
Dontia and her third child remain in hiding today. This is her story.
This is injustice at its height and it has to stop!!! I see what’s been done to me as an assault on my life and my children’s. This type of trauma could literally kill a woman, to snatch away a newborn baby for her to never see again. No mother or father deserves this type of abuse for simply going to the hospital for medical treatment and having a voice about what type of treatment is rendered to our own children! – Dontia
Choosing to Home-birth According to Religious Beliefs
Dontia chose to have a midwife-assisted home-birth, water-birth and lotus birth, in keeping with her religious and spiritual beliefs of having a safe, non-medically intrusive birth to welcome her daughter.
In a lotus birth (or whole birth), the umbilical cord is not clamped and cut, but rather, the placenta is left intact until it naturally falls off at the navel, leaving a perfectly formed belly button without the need for medical procedure of any kind. Many families believe there are great benefits to this non-invasive birthing practice, including complete cord blood transfer, stem cell transfer, and reducing the risk of infection by not creating a wound where the umbilical cord is typically cut.
Dontia became concerned when Asaliah’s navel area became red and infected-looking, and was not responding to the herbal remedies suggested by the midwife. Dontia, a Moorish American Moslem, prayed over her child and asked for wisdom.
When the dried umbilical cord fell off on June 6th 2012 and a small amount of puss oozed out, Dontia again prayed. Since they had just moved to Peoria, Illinois from St. Louis, MO, shortly after Asaliah’s birth, they did not know of any holistic doctors in the area. On June 8th, 2012 she decided to take Asaliah to the Emergency Room at OSF St. Francis Children’s Hospital, to have the baby examined by a doctor at a conventional hospital.
When questioned by nurses and doctors I explained to them that for about the past 5 days that the area around her navel had been red, and I consulted with my midwife and did some research on natural remedies that could heal the infection.
I explained to the staff that it is my religious, spiritual and cultural beliefs to use natural herbal forms of medication that prior to that day appeared to be working.
I constantly prayed over my baby and applied herbal medications to her belly daily while I myself took Echinacea, an herbal immune system enhancer. The redness was going down, my baby was up and alert, eating and being herself.
So the day I saw the pus I was shocked, and after praying it was revealed to me to go to the doctor for immediate care, being that I am not from Peoria I knew of no homeopathic or natural holistic doctors in the area so due to the urgency that I felt in the matter I settled on taking her into the emergency room of a traditional hospital.
Instead of helping this concerned mother, and respecting her religious beliefs, the hospital staff became increasingly more controlling as Dontia questioned them regarding the medical treatments being given to her newborn daughter.
Mother Wanted Right to Refuse some Medical Procedures such as Vaccines
The hospital staff continually pressured Dontia regarding vaccinations for her newborn, but Dontia refused each time, emphasizing that her birthing decisions and practices were based on her spiritual and cultural beliefs.
Dontia wanted to seek the safest, most natural treatment for her child, something she would soon learn would bring down the wrath of the medical system upon her, accusing her and Armondo of being “part of a religious group that does not believe in medical care,” and using this as a grounds to medically kidnap her children. Of course the mere fact that they brought the baby to the hospital proved that they were not opposed to all medical care.
Initially, she was told that Asaliah would only need 3 days of antibiotics and then could go home, but when the prognosis changed on the 4th day, and they wanted to keep Asaliah longer, Dontia became concerned for the health and safety of her newborn daughter.
On June 11, 2012, Dontia was told that she couldn’t take her daughter home yet, and that she would need to remain on IV medications now for 10 days.
On June 12, 2012, Dontia says that she “got into altercation with a nurse and doctors about what kind of treatment to give my newborn baby.”
In the hospital I thoroughly questioned the physicians as to what they were giving my daughter and why. Initially they told me that she would only be in there for 3 days and then I should be able to take her home and give her the medicine orally.
On the 3rd day when her results came back they said that they would need to put her on a very strong antibiotic named Clindamycin for 10 days and that she could not take it orally.
I told the doctors that I needed to think about it and if they can give me some info on the antibiotic – turns out that it would break down her natural immune system. So I showed my contempt at them experimenting and practicing on my baby and said I would like to leave as soon as possible.
When I said I wanted to take her for a second opinion, one of the resident doctors told me I couldn’t leave. I told them that this is my child and if I decide to leave it is my right to do so.
The next day they told me they just got some more test results in and that they didn’t need to use such a strong antibiotic because her infection was not as bad as they assumed. If I had not questioned them, they would have given her the very strong antibiotic that wasn’t necessary!
On this same day, June 12, 2012, a Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) investigator, Raelyn Galassi, questioned Donita’s 11 year old son Deon about the birth of his sister, Asaliah, without the knowledge or consent of his mother. DCFS waited to question Deon, a minor, while his mother was in a sonogram with Asaliah, which Donita believes is a violation of the 5th Amendment.
Family Kicked out of Hospital and Prevented from Seeing their Newborn Baby During the Rest of Her 2-Week Stay
On June 14, 2012, Dontia was approached in Asaliah’s room by Lisa Roscamp, a social worker for OSF Children’s Hospital and Raelyn Galassi, the DCFS investigator. Raelyn Galassi began to interrogate Dontia, and Dontia asked Galassi why she was there and why she was being questioned.
According to Dontia, Galassi stated that a nurse reported her to DCFS. When Dontia stated that she needed to seek legal counsel before answering her questions; Galassi then stated that if Dontia did not answer her questions that she would take Asaliah into protective custody immediately.
Again, Dontia insisted on seeking legal counsel, and Galassi then stormed out of the room, threatening that she was “going to go call her supervisor” as she exited the room. Galassi later returned with two security guards and two police officers and stated that she was taking Asaliah into protective custody and that Dontia would have a court date within two days.
Galassi asked Dontia for a phone number so that she could call Dontia and inform her of the date and time of the court hearing. Dontia gave Galassi her phone number, and then Galassi had the police officers escort Dontia, Armando, and her son Deon out of the hospital.
After being in the hospital for six days straight, I decided that my baby needed some fresh air and sunlight for her vitamin D so I asked one of the nurses to take the security device off of her ankle so that I could take her outside; about 20 min. later the hospital social worker and a DCFS social worker entered my room and began aggressively questioning me.
I felt very threatened and uncomfortable at the tone and the questioning of the social worker so I began to ask her why was she there and why was I being questioned. She just told me that the hospital reported me and that if I didn’t answer her questions that my child would be taken into protective custody.
I asked her what were my rights in the matter and she handed me a piece of paper describing the rights DCFS had over me. I told her to give me a minute to seek council before I would speak to her and she stormed out the room saying that she was going to call her supervisor.
She later came back with two police officers and two security officers and said that they would escort me and my family out and that the state was taking protective custody over my then 3 week daughter.
Dontia relates the heartache of that day,
They literally grabbed her off my breast as she was nursing. There is total disregard for the biological parent. They should be charged with assault. This is an assault on your life. A mother wants to die when her newborn baby is taken away, snatched out of her arms.
Weekend CPS Seizures Leaves Family with No Time to Prepare for Hearing on Monday
On June 15, 2012, Galassi called and spoke to Armando. She stated to him that the court date would be on Monday, June 18, 2012 and asked him if he could take a drug test the following day. Dontia Edwards El says she never even spoke to Raelyn prior to the court date.
Since this took place over a weekend Dontia had no time to seek any counsel and no means of providing a defense for herself at the hearing. Dontia was unaware that the hearing would determine whether or not her children would be taken into foster care.
According to Dontia, at the Shelter Care hearing, Judge Chris L. Frederickson ruled that Dontia’s children were in imminent danger and ordered that the state take temporary custody of them. Dontia was instructed that she had to turn her son Deon over to DCFS as well, which she did the following day on June 19, 2012.
Since this day DCFS has had custody and possession of both of Dontia’s children, Asaliah and Deon.
Dontia Allegedly a Danger to Her Children, Yet Foster Family Allegedly Evicted for Not Paying Rent or Utilities
Dontia recalls that when the children were first taken into State custody, they were placed with Armando’s sister, a family she barely knew and that did not share her and Armando’s religious or cultural beliefs. Dontia was granted visitations of one day a week for 4 hours each time, which did not adequately allow her to care for a newborn breastfeeding baby.
Dontia explained that on July 31, 2012, after her second visit with her children, she informed the caseworker, Audry Turner, that the foster family would be getting evicted soon due to failure to pay rent for two months, and that the electricity would be getting cut off soon due to failure to pay her electric bill.
On August 3, 2012, the foster parent received a 5 day eviction notice, and on August 6, 2012, Dontia again notified the caseworker that lights would be getting cut off in the next few days and gave a reference for another relative who could better care for the children.
On August 9, 2012, the foster parents’ electricity was cut off at 7 am. The foster parent informed Audry that the electricity got cut off and left a message with Faye Law, Audry’s supervisor. The children allegedly spent a whole day and night with no electricity in foster care.
According to Dontia, the foster parents even called and spoke to Faye Law to complain and get an explanation why the children were not picked up the day before. According to Dontia, Faye responded that, “they could not predict the outcome of what was going to happen,” and “that they couldn’t get the children because she [the foster parent] hadn’t written a letter explaining why she couldn’t care for them [the children].”
And yet, Dontia was the one who would allegedly be found “unfit” to care for her children. As Dontia declares,
There is clearly a different standard for foster families than for birth families. If I had not paid my rent or had my electricity cut off, they would have used that against me as a reason to take my children, yet they allowed the children to remain in this home, even when they were warned that this was about to happen!
State Violates Mother’s Religious Beliefs Regarding Vaccines for Her Children
Dontia voiced many times in the hospital that vaccinations were against her religious beliefs, and yet Asaliah was vaccinated without her permission, and Deon was scheduled for vaccinations. Dontia alleged that the state used a fraudulent consent form dated a month before Asaliah’s birth in order to obtain these vaccinations for Asaliah.
On July 12, 2012 Asaliah was immunized by OSF Children’s Hospital without the knowledge or consent of her parents though OSF medical records clearly show that Dontia Edwards refused vaccinations several times during her stay at the hospital. A court order for Asaliah Edwards’ medical records was not filed until September 6, 2012. Pl. Ex.3
On June 26, 2012 Healthworks of Illinois Peoria / Marshall County Lead Agency TASC, Inc. “requested all previous medical records from birth to present on: Asaliah Edwards.” A fraudulent consent for the “Release of Information” and “Consent for Ordinary and Routine Medical and Dental Care” forms were signed by D. Jean Ortega-Piron, as custodian or authorized agent were dated April 14 and April 15, 2012 more than a month before the child, Asaliah Edwards El was born. Pl. Ex.1-2.
On July 23, 2012, Deon was taken to the doctor for vaccinations, but wasn’t given them because I submitted Vaccination Exemption form.
Dontia Judged Unfit and Children put Into Foster Care
On June 19, 2012, the day after the Shelter Care Hearing, Dontia was ordered to turn over her 11 year-old son, Deon, to foster care.
Dontia alleges that prejudice about her religious beliefs were used by DCFS to remove custody of her children.
In the records, you will see conversations where Levon and Galassi are discussing Dontia’s religion based on assumptions and bias. Pl. Ex.4, p. 72-73. Not for the health and safety of these children.
July 3, 2012 Galassi sent a message to Kathleen L. Wilson at OSF Children’s Hospital stating that Dontia Edwards and partner Armondo Aguirre “are a part of a religious group that does not believe in medical care… it is actually a cult and called the Hebrew Israelites.” Galassi’s final statement was that, “It appears that Deon may have been brainwashed by this ‘religion.’ He is in need of counseling right away.” Pl. Ex.6, p. 116.
Dontia says that she was found “unfit” based on these religious prejudices against her.
DCFS “Services” Biased, Compelling Dontia to Flee & Hide to Prevent CPS from Snatching Unborn Child
Dontia shares how she was forced to attend biased therapy for ‘Spiritual Problems’ with a DCFS Lutheran therapist.
On July 12, 2012, I was assigned a caseworker with Lutheran Social Services, Audrey Turner.
On July 16, 2012, I was interviewed in a DCFS Integrated Assessment by Julia Gray and Audrey Turner. I then informed both workers of my nationality as a Moorish-American and of my religion of Islamism, and clearly identified myself as not being black, African American, or colored. I also voiced that my constitutional and religious rights were being violated by my children being taken from me for following my religious customs.
They also tried to allude to me being “crazy” for practicing my religious beliefs by making me go thru counseling and therapy, to acknowledge that my religious beliefs are wrong and a threat to the well-being of my children.
I also have evidence of conversations from Levon, the DCFS investigator, Raelyn Galassi and hospital employees discriminating against my religion and saying that my son has been “brainwashed” by his religion, alluding that he needed to be removed from my care and custody because my religious beliefs are brainwashing my children!
I absolutely refused to agree with that in therapy and refused to answer questions as they wanted me to do in psychoanalysis, which is to answer stereotypical questions in ONLY “yes” or ‘no” form, which could be read any number of ways by a psychologist to further incriminate me, so I answered my questions clearly with explanations and skipped questions that were biased and stereotypical.
Unable to bear the heartache of losing another child, Dontia fled town when she found out she would be having another child.
On May 2013 I left town and was last time I saw Asaliah and when I stopped participating with DCFS’s program. This is also when a warrant was placed on me and newborn daughter.
In the midst of Asaliah’s case I became pregnant again and Social Worker, Audrey Turner, informed me that as soon as I gave birth DCFS would take my baby.
I could not allow this to happen a second time so I fled town.
DCFS put a warrant on me and my baby and have since been trying to obtain custody and possession of her. My newest daughter is currently safe with people I trust. They never found me or my youngest daughter, she is now 2 years old.
I have had no more dealings with DCFS since I had my new baby. I have no trust in the CPS system or the judicial system after such a horrendous violations of my families’ liberties and rights, as well as how they have and continue to violate others in the same manner.
I feel my only recourse is to get the public and media involved, so these corporate culprits cannot continue to violate me and my children in the privacy of court rooms.
And now based on these things they are attempting to terminate my parental rights, when one allegation is void and the other is medical kidnapping.
Alienated from her Children, Dontia Files Lawsuit
On June 8, 2014, Dontia filed a Filed Lawsuit in District Court for the Central District of Illinois, Peoria Division, against all parties involved in the kidnapping of her children: Case No.14-cv-01325-JES-JEH, Chief Judge James E. Shadid and Magistrate Judge, Jonathan E. Hawley.
Dontia does not have an attorney and is representing herself. The lawsuit is still pending.
I sued State of IL, DCFS, OSF Children’s Hospital, Levon, judges, everyone involved for RICO, constitutional violations, kidnapping, fraud, slander libel, religious discrimination etc. Total of 24 counts.
Note: RICO, or the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, is a U.S. law enacted in 1970, which allows victims of organized crime to sue those responsible for punitive damages.
DCFS Threatens to Terminate Parental Rights but Dontia Continues to Fight and Hide
Dontia contacted MedicalKidnap.com because she wanted to share her story, and like so many families in her situation, needs concerned citizens to listen and share her story, in hopes that someone will listen and stop this egregious violation of constitutional rights and the utter destruction of innocent families!
At this time the state of Illinois and DCFS are attempting to petition the court to Terminate my Parental Rights. I really need help and to get this story out to protect myself and others who may being going through a similar trauma.
Dontia says she was so happy to find the MedicalKidnap website, and hopes that her story will help expose the evil and corrupt system of DCFS, and Child Protective Services nationwide.
I have contacted news stations, talk shows, and media who might listen to me to try to help others understand what’s going on and to make people aware. I never understood what CPS could do until it happened to me. I never knew they could come in an destroy innocent families. They can take your children – no court orders, no verification of facts! Who gives them this type of power? It’s too much power! They are not there for the parent. You think they would be for the natural parent, but you soon realize that they are completely against you!
I was happy to find MedicalKidnap. It was like a ray of light! Like there is some hope! I want to do whatever I can to help other families in this type of situation.
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