Steffen Rivenburg, Sr., looked forward to his visit with his daughter Annalise. It was the first visit since Baby Steffen's funeral more than 3 weeks ago. This would truly be a special visit - at Chuck E. Cheese, where Annalise should have been able to enjoy time playing with her Daddy. Instead, she watched him be escorted out of the restaurant by police. Her grandmother, Lisa Rivenburg, said that she felt like it was a set-up. There was no way that her son was going to miss his scheduled visit with Annalise. "I cannot believe that they used my granddaughter as BAIT to get him here to arrest him!" There was no warrant for his arrest. They asked, and were told by police that they didn't have to show one. Lisa told Health Impact News that her son was not read his Miranda rights. She later learned that the charge was "contempt," presumably over the demand, without a court order, for a hair follicle drug test. The entire family is very concerned about Annalise, a little girl who was taken from her family, placed in a home with strangers, and watched her baby brother get sick, die, and be buried. She had surely looked forward to visiting her parents and playing with them at Chuck E. Cheese. It was a 2 hour drive from her foster house to meet them. Now, the place that is supposed to be associated with fun and being a kid will forever be associated with the traumatic memory of seeing her daddy arrested.
Baby Steffen was buried on Friday, July 7, almost a month after his death when DCS, Vanderbilt hospital, and a judge decided to overrule his parents' rights to make decisions for their baby. The Tennessee family was thankful that Steffen's big sister was allowed to leave the foster home to attend her brother's funeral. Even so, social workers kept a tight reign on Annalise, and threatened to take her away if the family continued to take photos. The children's grandmother Lisa Rivenburg said it was their last time together as a family with Baby Steffen, and she felt that the social workers' threats were a cruel addition to an already difficult day. Their fight continues to try to bring Annalise home and to find answers to what happened to Baby Steffen in DCS custody.
The Rivenburg family was back in court on Monday morning, June 19. This time, it was to fight for Annalise, the big sister of Baby Steffen, the baby who was taken off of life support on June 8. The family, including aunts, uncles, and cousins, were hopeful that the court would send little Annalise back home to be with her family, but that did not happen. Instead, they learned that the Department of Children's Services (DCS) now plans to terminate her parents' parental rights and place her for adoption, presumably with the foster family with whom she and Baby Steffen were placed 4 months ago, just before the baby got sick. They are devastated. Patricia's heart-wrenching sobs could be heard in the background as a family member told the news to Health Impact News. The thought of losing Annalise seems an unbearably cruel blow to the family that is still reeling from what they call Baby Steffen's "potentially preventable" death.