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Miranda Wilkerson: All Night Vigil for Child In Custody of Sex Offender

10:53 PM, Jul 22, 2011   |    comments
  • Miranda Wilkerson at the Home of Donald Coleman
  • Sex offender Donald Coleman has custody of 4-year-old Miranda Wilkerson
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MACCLENNY, Fla. --  Family and friends of Miranda Wilkerson plan to spend the entire night in front of the Baker County courthouse holding vigil for the child.

Family members said they are holding the vigil to pray for her safety.

Miranda, who turns 4, on Sunday, is living with sex offender Donald Coleman. Baker County Judge Phyllis Rosier gave him custody of the child earlier this month because he is considered her legal father.

PICTURES: At Home with Miranda and Donald Coleman

Miranda has lived with her maternal grandmother, Rita Manning, since her birth in July 2007. Manning was seeking to adopt the child when Coleman petitioned for her custody.

"She was like my child and now having her ripped away... it's awful," said Rebecca Graves, Miranda's aunt.

Coleman is not Miranda's biological father but because he was married to Miranda's mother at the time of her birth he is her legal father.

Miranda's mother was killed in a car accident one month after she was born.

Miranda's biological father, James Wilkerson, is working with an attorney to establish his parental rights and to get his child out of the sex offender's home.

First Coast News asked James Wilkerson's father, James Larkey, why his son has not petitioned for custody prior to this.

"He thought that everything was going to be fine," James Wilkerson said. "That the baby was going to go to Rita that nothing wouldn't happen and the baby would be with his grandmother, the only mother she's every known and he would still be part of the baby's life."

First Coast News

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