Miranda Wilkerson with her biological father, James Wilkerson
Miranda Wilkerson at the Home of Donald Coleman
BAKER COUNTY, Fla. -- Little Miranda Wilkerson hasn't seen her dad in weeks, but James Wilkerson is ready to change that.
"Get my baby back; that's all I really want to do, just have her back here with me," Wilkerson said.
On Tuesday, Wilkerson's attorney filed a petition at the Baker County Courthouse to establish that Wilkerson is Miranda's biological dad.
It's just the first step in the process to try and get the four-year-old out of a sex offender's home and back with her biological father.
"A DNA test was performed in 2009 that is 99.995 percent accurate. It says he is the father of the child," said Tom Gurrola, Wilkerson's attorney.
Last month, Baker County Judge Phyllis Rosier sent Miranda to live with registered sex offender Donald Coleman.
Coleman is considered Miranda's legal father because he was married to her mom at the time of her birth. Miranda's mom died one month after she was born.
Gurrola said he can argue why the sex offender should not be considered Miranda's legal father. "The marriage was not intact. They were in the process of a divorce at the time of the mother's death."
Wilkerson is hoping he has his day in court soon and can see his daughter again. "It gives me chill bumps now just thinking about it," he said.
But his attorney said the process could be a long one. "I anticipate it will be hotly contested, hotly debated, and we'll see where this goes. It's not an easy road, a lot of legal challenges ahead of us," said Gurrola.
Even with all the legal challenges, Wilkerson said he is not giving up hope. "I'll be glad when she just gets back to the house, and I can hold her in my arms once more, ya know. I want to let her know I love her and we'll see her soon."
The next step in the process is the petition to be served to Coleman. His attorney then has 20 days to respond. A judge will then decide if the case moves forward.
First Coast News