Timmons all family members from FB

Timmons family collage. Source: Justice for the Timmons – Proverbs 18:5 Facebook page.

by Health Impact News/MedicalKidnap.com Staff

January 24, 2016 will forever be a day seared in the heads and hearts of the Timmons family from Indiana, when a trip to the emergency room turned into their worst nightmare.  Now, Austin and Andrea Timmons are fighting to get their boys, Foster and Cooper, home.  Despite having medical expert testimony to support their innocence, their children remain in custody.

Cooper was seven weeks old, and Foster would be turning two in another week. The Timmons were preparing to go to the circus in celebration of Foster’s birthday.  Andrea was in the bedroom getting ready, and Austin was in the living room watching the boys.  Foster, being a typical two year old, was crushing his fruit snacks into the carpet.  Austin picked Cooper up and sat him in his bouncy seat while he went to throw the crushed fruit snacks away.

Timmons big brother taking care of little brother

Big brother often wants to help with his little brother. Source: Timmons family.

At about fifteen steps away, Austin turned around to find Cooper on the floor.  His first thought was that Foster was jealous of his new brother and pulled him out of the seat.  Austin put Foster in timeout, thinking that would be it.  He had no clue that it would be the beginning of the biggest battle of his life.

When Austin checked Cooper to make sure his head was OK, it seemed fine.  However, his right arm wasn’t moving.  Austin then went to tell Andrea, and they rushed Cooper to the emergency room at Adams Memorial Hospital.

At the hospital, x-rays were taken and doctors discovered a humerus fracture.  Already distraught, the family was then informed that the Department of Children’s Services (DCS) had been called.  The family was nervous, but they knew that once they explained what had happened, DCS would see that they were innocent.

DCS arrived with a police officer. After Andrea and Austin explained what had happened, social worker Danielle Reed told them that Cooper’s injury was assessed as non-accidental and that the boys would have to be placed with family.  DCS said that Austin and Andrea’s explanation of the injury was unconvincing.

The family’s world shattered, and with heavy hearts, the Timmons put their boys in their grandmother’s car and watched them drive away.

The boys were placed at Austin’s parents’ home, and DCS told them that they could see the boys whenever they wanted, as long as the grandparents were present.  Longing to be close, Austin and Andrea saw the boys often, and even spent the night.

Not long after the boys were taken, DCS made an appointment for Cooper at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana to see Child Abuse Specialist Dr. Shannon Thompson.  The Timmons wanted to go to the appointment, but caseworker Desiree Miller told them that they were forbidden. Further, Andrea and Austin were not allowed to obtain any medical information about their children—Riley Hospital informed them that it would only be released to the grandparents.

Timmons Child Abuse Specialist Thompson

Dr. Shannon L. Thompson, Child Abuse Specialist. Source.

At that visit, Dr. Thompson concluded that Cooper had three healing rib fractures, in addition to the humerus fracture, though no other doctor has ever been able to find them.

One of the doctors who examined Cooper was orthopedic surgeon, Dr. David A. Coats.  According to a family member who was present at the appointment, Dr. Coats said that he could not be certain that this was a case of child abuse, because he had seen similar cases before where there was a medical explanation.  However, DCS allegedly disregarded his medical opinion.

At that visit, Austin began asking questions about the case, trying to understand why he and his family were going through this nightmare.  Not long after that, he and Andrea were told that they could no longer attend doctor visits with their children.

The Timmons Seek Medical Explanation

The Timmons knew that there had to be a medical explanation.  As they researched, they found a number of people with similar experiences.  They also discovered medical experts and traveled long distances to see them.

Timmons walking with daddy

Timmons family wants answers. Source: Timmons family.

Along the way, Dr. Michael F. Holick, who specializes in bone disorders, diagnosed Andrea with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) Type 3, a genetic disorder in which children have a 50% chance of acquiring from their parents.  He states in his report that, based on Cooper’s medical records, including x-rays, he believes “with a high degree of medical certainty that he also has the genetic disorder,” and “Cooper’s clinical symptoms are all associated with this genetic disorder.”

He went on to say that, from his experience, Cooper’s fracture “can be explained by the underlying genetic disorder of the collagen elastin matrix,” as “patients with EDS/hypermobility syndrome have lower bone density and are at a higher risk for fracture.”  Further, he has seen “more than 1000 children and adults with this disorder, some of whom have had multiple fractures with minimum or no trauma.”

He asserts that the “genetic disorder…would’ve resulted in a skeleton that was extremely fragile and could have fractured with normal handling or minimum trauma,” which “could explain the cause for the severity of his right humeral fracture. “

In his practice, Dr. Holick has seen numerous children with “a history of multiple fractures of unknown cause and whose parents were accused of child abuse, and found that these children have a strong family history for Ehlers-Danlos/hypermobility syndrome, and have a medical history of symptoms and physical clinical signs for this genetic disorder.”  However, he says that as a result of his clinical findings, many of those children were returned to their parents with instructions on how to better care for their children with the condition.

Another expert, Dr. Marvin E. Miller, who specializes in genetics, concurred with Dr. Holick’s findings, stating that Cooper showed signs of metabolic bone disease.

DCS, again, allegedly disregarded both doctors’ expert testimony.

Guardian ad Litem (GAL) Overreach Hinders Reunification

The role of a GAL, sometimes called a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), is to represent the best interests of the child.  The GAL “meets with the child” and is encouraged to create relationships with the parties involved, as well as observe interaction with the children and their parents to gain a better understanding of the case.

According to a family member, the GAL in the Timmons case has never seen the children. According to an official in the GAL program who asked not to be identified, that is a clear violation of federal law. GALs are required to meet with the children on a regular basis.

According to the GAL/CASA Indiana Program Standards, the GAL is to have “regular, in-person contact with the children, sufficient to have in-depth knowledge of the case and make fact-based recommendations to the court.”  Further, it goes on to state that the GAL/CASA should “resist influences and pressures that interfere with impartial judgment and will report honestly and impartially to the court” as to what is in the child’s best interests.

Timmons boys adore daddy

The Timmons boys clearly adore their daddy. The best interest of all children is to be surrounded by the love and care of their parents. Source: Timmons family.

The GAL is not to engage in matters that are to be handled by law enforcement.  For example, it is outside the scope of practice of the GAL to make accusations or charge parties with guilt.

The Timmons family believes that the GAL is unnecessarily prolonging the case by strongly contending that this is a case of “either abuse or neglect.”  Further, Austin and Andrea were told by a social worker that, regardless of their proving their innocence, the GAL will continue to insist that “Austin’s walking ten steps away was neglectful.”

The Timmons were told by the DCS case manager that reunification was going to move “very slow” because the GAL does not think that “anybody is taking responsibility for this.”

Both Parents were Adopted when they were Children: Does this Make Them a Target?

Both of the parents, Andrea and Austin, were adopted as babies. Andrea spend her first months of life in foster care before she was adopted.

Health Impact News has noted a pattern of adopted and former foster children having their own children seized by Child Protective Services. Several former foster children have expressed to us that they believe that they are targeted because they are already in the system, including:

  • Angelia Borths (Mad Angel), whose children were taken by Oregon CPS because her daughter was “too short.” See story.
  • Brenda Maney, who was forced to surrender her baby daughter for adoption in Kentucky in order to keep her son. See story.
  • Jason and Mattie Wells, whose daughter has a metabolic bone disorder. She was taken by South Carolina CPS and her parents accused of abuse. Their story is very similar to the Timmons family story. See story.
  • Haly Booth, whose children were taken because of the fact that she was in foster care herself when 2 of them were born. Her third child was seized because Alabama DHR already had the other two. See story.

These are just a few of the many stories of former foster children and adopted children whose children were seized by Child Protective Services. Some of these parents tell us that they feel like CPS has reduced them to “breeders” for their system, like something out of a twisted sci-fi futuristic movie.

The Timmons Seek to Be Heard

In their search for answers, the Timmons reached out to others for help.  Andrea had her vitamin D levels tested in April of 2016, four months after Cooper’s birth.  The results indicated that her levels were 25.5 ng/ml, which is considered insufficient.

Andrea had preeclampsia while she was pregnant and had a preterm birth, which are both linked to low vitamin D.  Additionally, if the mother is vitamin D deficient, so is the baby because it is “actively soliciting maternal vitamin D for its own development.”  “Vitamin D travels to the fetus by passive transfer, and the fetus is entirely dependent on maternal stores,” therefore, making the maternal status “a direct reflection of fetal nutritional status.”

Andrea also had heavy antacid use, specifically the Tums brand, which “interrupts and even stops the gut from absorbing much-needed calcium,” and during her birth, she was treated with magnesium sulfate, which is often used in cases of preeclampsia to reduce the risk of seizures.  Both antacids and magnesium sulfate are known to cause bone fragility in infants when given to the mother.

The active ingredient in Tums, calcium carbonate, has been shown to produce rickets in mice, and “is a rickets-causing chemical due to its phosphate-binding properties.”

Both boys were fully vaccinated according to the recommended schedule. There is evidence of a link between vaccines and infantile rickets and shaken baby syndrome.

See:

Is Shaken Baby Syndrome Often Misdiagnosed and Caused by Vaccine-Induced Rickets?

The Timmons wondered if Cooper suffered from rickets, which is a result of a vitamin D deficiency. The family begged DCS for blood tests, including Cooper’s vitamin D and phosphorus levels, but DCS adamantly refused.  The Timmons family said that proper protocol is to check vitamin D levels when there is a fracture without trauma.

To this date, no blood tests have been done since the children were taken into custody. According to the mother, a heel prick was done at birth to collect a blood sample, but the Timmons have been denied access to it.

Austin and Andrea, desperate to be heard, contacted Governor Mike Pence for help.  Afterwards, DCS informed them that, instead of unsupervised visits, they could only see the boys with their caseworker present.

When the Timmons presented the findings from the expert doctors to DCS, they were told, “It doesn’t matter how many opinions you get from doctors, because our minds are made up.”

Timmons boys from Andreas FB

Foster and Cooper smiling up at their mommy. They want to be with their parents. Source: Timmons family.

Additionally, according to the Timmons family, all of the service providers involved in the case have expressed their support for a speedy reunification.  One in particular said that the children should come home “sooner than later” and that overnight visitation should begin “ASAP.”  Moreover, an attachment assessment that was done by a service provider that indicated support for the children being returned was ignored—it was never brought up in court.

This has been the Timmons family’s hardest fight of their lives,  and they are pouring all of their time, hearts, and resources into proving their innocence and bringing their boys home.  It is their hope that their statements from the expert doctors will eventually have their case dismissed, and they can start healing as a family.

Boys Thrive with Mother during Recent Visit

Recently, the babysitter canceled last minute at the grandparents’ home where the children are living.  Andrea was the day sitter for Austin’s mom for that week, and during that time with their mother, both boys were thriving. Andrea was overjoyed to find Foster, who is two, using the potty several times, and Cooper, who is now nine months old, learning to crawl.

Timmons family

A visit at the park. Source: Timmons family.

Afterwards, the Timmons asked DCS to make this a permanent arrangement.  The caseworker told Austin that she would do her best.  However, later she said that there was “no way” because the GAL was “really mad about it.”

After spending a week with their mother, then watching her leave, the Timmons fear that their children feel abandoned, again.  The boys thought they were finally home.

DCS Grants Second Opinion

In August, after eight months of begging for a second opinion—from a doctor that DCS would accept—Cooper was granted an appointment with a physician approved by DCS.  The doctor saw Cooper this week and has ordered some blood tests, though a vitamin D test was not one of them.  The doctor also ordered a DNA test that the Timmons will have to pay $2,400.00 out of pocket.

How You Can Help

Supporters have set up a Facebook group that other supporters are welcome to join called Justice for the Timmons – Proverbs 18:5

Timmons FB page

The Governor of Indiana is Mike Pence at 317-232-4567.  He can be contacted here.  His Facebook page is here.

Here are the senators for the Timmons’ district:

Senator Joe Donnelly is at 260-420-4955.  He may be contacted here.

Senator Daniel Coats is at 317-554-0750.  He may be contacted here.

Representative Marlin Stutzman is at 260-424-3041. He may be contacted here.

Adams County Department Child Services Director Melissa Hayden is at 260-724-9169. She may be contacted here.

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