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Miranda Wilkerson Court Battle Heats Up; Sex Offender Wants Rights of Biological Dad Terminated

7:52 AM, Aug 10, 2011   |    comments
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  • Miranda Wilkerson at the Home of Donald Coleman
  • James Wilkerson
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  • BAKER COUNTY, Fla. -- The family of a 4-year-old who was sent to live with her legal father, a sex offender, is continuing its quest to get her back.

    Miranda Wilkerson's grandmother, Rita Manning, has officially filed an appeal to a judge's decision that gave Donald Coleman, a sex offender, custody of Miranda. So far, there has been no response.

    PICTURES: At Home with Donald Coleman and Miranda

    Last week, Miranda's biological dad, James Wilkerson, filed a motion to establish his rights as the child's father, which is step one in trying to get custody of the little girl.

    After that motion was filed, the attorney for Coleman filed a motion to strip Wilkerson of his parental rights.

    "We were surprised to get it in the mail, yes," said Wilkerson's attorney, Tom Gurrola.

    Gurrola said Wilkerson at one point agreed to terminate his rights but it was contingent upon Rita Manning getting custody of his daughter.  When that didn't happen, Wilkerson changed his mind.

    Coleman was not available for comment Tuesday afternoon.  His attorney also did not respond to a request for a comment in the case.

    No hearing for either motion has been set yet. Gurrola said today he and his client will challenge the motion to terminate his parental rights.

    About a month ago, Baker County Judge Phyllis Rosier sent Miranda to live with registered sex offender 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.

    Wilkerson is hoping he has his day in court soon but his attorney said the process could be a long one.

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