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Miranda Wilkerson: Court Documents Detail Why Sex Offender Got Custody of Child

9:21 AM, Jul 16, 2011   |    comments
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BAKER COUNTY, Fla. -- Friends and family of Miranda Wilkerson protested in front of the Baker County courthouse Friday afternoon demanding justice for Miranda.

State law allowed the soon-to-be 4-year-old to be turned over to a registered sex offender, Donald Coleman.

The custody transfer was Wednesday after the child's maternal grandmother petitioned for adoption of Miranda.

Coleman was married to Trista Crews, Miranda's mom, when she was born in 2007. Coleman and Crews were in the middle of a divorce at the time. A divorce petition filed by the sex offender notes he was aware that his estranged wife was pregnant with another man's child.

One month after her birth, Crews was killed in a car wreck and while Coleman may not be Miranda's biological dad, he is considered her legal father.

Court documents released Friday afternoon detail how, after First Coast News started asking questions about why Coleman was fighting to get custody of another man's child, his attorney filed a motion to get Miranda.

The motion said the woman who has been caring for Miranda since birth, her grandmother Rita Manning, was keeping him from the child and that Miranda was in danger.

The motion said Manning has a history of arrests: In 1995, she was charged with contributing to the delinquency of a child, but the case was later dropped.

In 1997, Manning was charged with child neglect. Around the same time, Manning's then 14-year-old daughter, who is Miranda's mother, got pregnant by Coleman who was 38-years-old. Manning got probation.  

Coleman was sentenced to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

A number of local attorney's have weighed in on the case over the past few days.

Many of them said Manning should appeal the Judge's ruling, or report the case to the Department of Child and Family Services.

"Could his rights be terminated? Yes. And if he runs afoul, or DCF says this person should never have been given parental rights then it would be undone," said Attorney Janet Johnson.

First Coast News

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