*WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SENSITIVE MATERIAL SURROUNDING CHILD ABUSE, INJURY, VULGAR LANGUAGE, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND RACISM: IDENTITY OF SOME PERSONS HAVE BEEN CHANGED
The termination or limiting of a parent’s rights to their child is one of the most drastic decisions the State is called upon to make, yet it does so at an alarming rate with little or no public scrutiny of the legal violations that often take place under the guise of child protection. Many times, the Oklahoma Department of Human Service (DHS) is introduced into what would normally, what should be, simple divorce proceedings. The days of using an Agency Service as a weapon are coming to an end. Most States don’t weaponize children in family courts any longer. That doesn’t mean the ignorant and profiteers aren’t going to fight to the end to continue fraud upon the Oklahoma public.
The system is almost always shrouded by attorneys omitting information, coercing people, drafting confidentiality agreements and ignoring privacy laws; it’s an industry of the perceived elite and the crime of child stealing happens all across the country. “Parenting Twice As Hard For Half A Chance” follows a sampling of eight (8) family law cases in which we interact with the families and others in the family law system and have to confront some excruciating dilemmas and choices. We want the reader to dig further and decide on their own the answers to the larger community questions of family court corruption. Who decides when a child should be removed from his/her parents? What is institutional racism? What is equal protection? When should parents lose the right to raise their own children? How much damage might the government and self-proclaimed non-profits do to children and parents in the name of helping them? Finally, who pays for all this damage?
Our series ends with a story of a somewhat famous Oklahoma politician, who himself has gone through a divorce with minor children, but had a much different experience. His children, health, and time were off limits from attack by state agencies, Attorneys, and Judges.
Leaving Oklahoma For North Carolina, Home
The case, on its face, is one involving the forced removal of a child from an out-of-state family to the Oklahoma foster care system and, now, the father is battling the court’s refusal to release a child back to his biological father. There is more to the story to be told. A set of decisions made by Oklahoma Judges, The Saville Center, and the Stillwater Police Department, in the name of control, will need a closer inspection.
Todd Kiagu of Stillwater, originally from North Carolina, is asking for the State’s thoughts and prayers following an alleged assault on his civil liberties at the hands of Stillwater and State of Oklahoma officials. Todd is amongst a growing number of parents who have fought to keep Oklahoma family courts and bitter actors from destroying his family a second time.
Most family court Judges and Oklahoma DHS employees, want to be of service to their community and want to follow the law in doing so. Most fall somewhere along the wide spectrum between ideologies and, where they fall, will be influenced more by their local inter-and-intra-agency culture than any statute. Most are morally good people. Todd Kiagu didn’t pick a bad bunch to involve themselves in his family business, a bad bunch picked Alicia and Todd Kiagu.
Several disturbing events occurred in Todd and Alicia Kiagu’s case then and now. Now, after grieving the loss of his wife, Todd finds himself in a non-published court case; forced into a legal battle to recover his eight-month-old son from the custody of the State of Oklahoma.
Self-proclaimed aboriginals of America in the United States, Alicia and Todd did things differently, but they were successful at being different and raising their kids. They are different and that’s ok. They believe in organic foods, breast feeding, independent education for their Black children, Gun rights, sovereignty, Constitution rights, and peace; sound familiar?
Alicia Nechelle Kiagu, formally known as Alicia Vick, was a victim of severe domestic violence. Injuries ranged from a broken jaw and a broken hand, to her most recent injury from domestic violence, and child withholding. A choreographed string of events that eventually ended her life.
Her abuser was from Stillwater, Oklahoma and his name was E. Vick, the father to five (5) of Alicia’s eight (8) children. In March of 2020, Alicia finally managed to escape Elija and vowed never to return after he had slammed her hand in the door. Heartbroken and with an injury, Alicia took the children out of the home and kept going back to what she knew as a once safe place, North Carolina.
Alicia was from North Carolina originally and had met Eliga Vick, the Ex, while he was visiting North Carolina.
March of 2020 was also when Todd and Alicia met, but Todd was living in New York. Todd had posted on Instagram advertising for like-minded individuals to gather, speak, and be entertained in a concert “Our Unity Is Needed” in New York where Todd was living. There were no charges or pending legal matters preventing Alicia from seeking safety and shelter out of state.
While talking, the pair quickly fell in love. Todd traveled to Oklahoma to be of assistance and for the pair to finally be together. The oldest two children, of a previous marriage, were residing in North Carolina with Alicia’s allegedly narcissistic mother, Juanita Lee. The youngest five children were in Oklahoma with Alicia. Alicia’s troubles with her mother began years ago and, according to Todd, “Alicia had been traveling back and forth to North Carolina from Oklahoma, dealing with Attorneys and courts in both places.” Alicia was handling her business to the best of her abilities.
Alicia was a hip-hop festival creator in Raliegh. She was preparing to throw the next one in 2020. Alicia’s real home and work were in North Carolina, not Oklahoma.
Being upset about recent court rulings, the grandmother, Juanita, had taken out a trespassing charge against Alicia that had been in effect since 2018. Since her mother had begun a legal situation involving her children, and she was still engaged in abuse, Alicia was only able to focus on severing the abuse and retrieving her children.
Alicia had filed legal paperwork in 2019, in Oklahoma County Court to protect her family unit from Jaunita Lee, the grandmother in North Carolina who was withholding one of her children.
On December 01, 2020, Alicia and Todd retrieved Alicia’s second oldest child M.V. back from the grandmother, Juanita. Alicia called The Wake County Sherriff Department which and finally honored the fact that the grandmother didn’t have any legal custody right to hold the children.
Alicia had five (5) minor children by Stillwater resident Eliga Vick, who were all now finally residing in North Carolina with Alicia and Todd. All seven (7) children had finally been reunited and were together and living on property they had purchased, but not for long.
The very next evening, Juanita the grandmother, called Moore County DHS out of spite and claimed that the family was just living on the land with no proper shelter. The family was homesteading. Camping on their land and also leasing two hotel rooms to accommodate the family, they had also just gotten a 10 x 28 temporary unit, while building a kitchen house and preparing their land until a permanent home could be built and a double wide could be brought out to the property. Just like any white family would do in Oklahoma. In fact, most Oklahomans come from a heritage of mud homes, so the effort to provide shelter was certainly more advanced than most large cities such as Flint, Michigan or historical Oklahoma shelters.
Before DHS arrived on the property, the family had engaged the Moore County Children’s Service’s Tina Thompson, on the phone, but she refused to have a meeting with them in person or discuss the matters. Moore County supervisor Michelle Bartes was informed that they wanted to have a meeting to get an understanding of exactly “what was going on” before the agency would be allowed to enter the property. Instead, that night, Moore County DHS Rep Tina Thompson came to the property with approximately ten (10) law enforcement agents and wanted to inspect the property. There was an hourlong standoff in which the family told them, “they are not allowed to trespass and to leave the property.”
The next morning the police arrived in force with twenty (20) officers and, according to Todd, at least three of them were carrying semi-automatic rifles, with two (2) child protective service agents. Todd states that law enforcement then breached the property, ignoring the no trespassing sign, and took the children without a warrant, including Todd’s son from a previous relationship. The State now had 8 children in their custody in North Carolina.
The initial confrontation between Alicia Kiagu and the Moore County Sheriff’s Office, North Carolina Department of Human Services, and the Vass City Police Department on December 02, 2020 was videotaped. You can see the video below.
When the State took the children, Alicia and Todd only had seven (7) days to prepare for the hearing scheduled for December 10, 2020. The family beat the case. The State of North Carolina wanted to place the children in foster care, but Todd and Alicia fought to keep their children on their new homestead; however, DHS did not return the children as the Judge had ordered. The kids had been placed at grandma Jaunita’s while procedures took place. Mind you, it was Jaunita who was the person that originally called North Carolina DHS, although North Carolina DHS had claimed it was an anonymous tip. There were clearly ongoing family disputes from many sides keeping Alicia from having the peace she desired.
According to Todd, and corroborated with court documents, Elija was quickly encouraged by Juanita to return to North Carolina from Oklahoma for the upcoming hearing to address the failure of DHS and Jaunita to return the children. Working in concert with Elija, Juanita gives five (5) of the eight (8) children to him to take back to Oklahoma City, leaving three of the children with her.
At this point, Alicia had not yet filed for divorce from Elija. Many people go through long separations, and laws protect those needing to leave to protect their children from documented spousal abuse.
Forced Back To Oklahoma
After Alicia first won back the three (3) kids from Juanita, she immediately traveled to Oklahoma County to find Elija Vick, her husband. Elija Vick had been living in the Oklahoma City area for some time, so Alicia filed an emergency order in that jurisdiction and the court, under Judge Martha Oaks, ordered the five (5) kids who had been with Elija to go back to Alicia, honoring other courts and the children’s wishes. However, at a February of 2022 Show Cause Hearing for the Emergency Order, Judge Oaks then ordered that the children were to go back to Elija and Oklahoma CPS was to perform an investigation. Alicia was only able to keep the traumatized kids for a week before they were once again removed from her care. Todd alleges that during this time, Elija came to the hotel where the family was staying and flattened all the tires on the family truck, while being escorted off the property by the local police.
Todd claims the court was biased because 1) Alicia was discriminated against by Judge Oaks because she wore a Hajib in the courtroom. Judge Oaks made her take it off; 2) The investigation didn’t take into account them having to travel back to Oklahoma only for the sole purpose of re-retrieving the children; 3) the 30 day investigation from DHS in which the children were ordered to be in the custody of Stillwater resisdent Elija Vick, the alleged physical abuser, was solely based on a lie that he was at one time given custody at the Moore County, North Carolina hearing; and 4) that Todd and Alicia were temporarily in a hotel before returning to their homestead.
According to Todd, Elija Vick never filed any paperwork and the Judge in Oklahoma City had aided Elija in the initial stages of answering litigation, showing initial bias against a woman who had escaped documented historical and, now, current domestic violence. Elija then returns to Stillwater, Oklahoma while the case in Oklahoma County is closing and retains the counsel of Melissa Delcacerda and Jimmy Oliver.
Attempts to file protection orders in OKC were made as well as in Stillwater, where an eventual divorce was filed by Alicia on February 09 of 2021. Quickly, a Guardian Ad Litem was assigned and a report was made available for the new Payne County Court on March 12, 2022.
Todd states that Alicia had filed a police report in Stillwater with Captain Stevens that went nowhere. Mary Jurcurski allegedly completed a report and delivered it to Assistant District Attorney Brenda Nipp who did not pursue any charges. Alicia and Todd requested that Stillwater Police Department perform a standby routine while they picked up the children from an aunt’s home, where Elija had last left the children. According to Todd, Chief Watts and Captain Stevens told the pair that if they went to the home of the aunt, that the pair could be arrested for burglary, while denying the full faith and credit of the North Carolina custody order. The pair, with the police, were to speak with Judge Kulling to request an emergency order in Payne County. Kulling instead ordered a DHS investigation into Alicia, knowing she was only there from out of town to attend court. Alicia stated that Elija told her that if she just gave him a divorce, that he would ensure she received her children back to her care.
However, Alicia had already been given custody of her children by a North Carolina Court just months prior on December 31, 2020 and at a North Carolina hearing in March of 2021 where they provided the information required to assist in obtaining possession of her kidnapped children. The Stillwater court chose not to honor, acknowledge nor enforce the prior orders and law in their court.
Those journal entries are listed below. The Oklahoma Post had to redact for the court and attorneys several minor children’s names from the entries as well as withhold the posting of PDFs until a proper privacy redaction can be completed. The posting of those documents by the court and attorney should lead to disbarment under state law. The Oklahoma Post will make those documents available in this post soon.
PETITION FOR EMERGENCY CUSTODYDocument Available at Court Clerk’s Office
ORDER ON NEED FOR CONTINUED NONSECURE CUSTODY – STATE OF NORTH CAROLINADocument Available (#1048778376) TIFFPDF
PETITIONER ALICIA VICK APPEARS IN PERSON AND PRO-SE. RESPONDENT DOES NOT APPEAR AND HAS NOT BEEN PROVIDED NOTICE OF THESE PROCEEDINGS. PETITIONER SUBMITS A PROPOSED EMERGENCY ORDER FORM OBTAINED FROM THE DISTRICT COURT OF OKLAHOMA COUNTY BUT MODIFIED FOR PAYNE COUNTY. PETITIONER REQUESTS THAT THE COURT ENTER AN EX-PARTE ORDER PLACING EMERGENCY CUSTODY OF THE CHILDREN M. Vick. E. VICK, P. VICK, M. VICK AND M.VICK WITH HER. THE CHILDREN ARE CURRENTLY IN THE CUSTODY OF ELIJAH VICK AND CRYSTAL VICK. THE COURT HEREBY FINDS THAT THE INFORMATION PRESENTED BY PETITIONER FAILS TO DEMONSTRATE THAT THE CHILDREN ARE IN SURROUNDINGS WHICH ENDANGER THEIR SAFETY OR SUBJECT THEM TO IRREPARABLE HARM AS IS REQUIRED IN TITLE 43 O.S. 107.4.
THE COURT HEREBY DENIES THE PETITIONER’S REQUEST FOR AN EX-PARTE ORDER OF EMERGENCY CUSTODY AT THIS TIME. (MAK)
Alicia filed for a change of venue on April 21, 2021 because she couldn’t get a hearing in court. Mind you, she was a victim of domestic violence to include a broken jaw from the man she is trying to recover her life from. According to sources close to the case, at the follow up hearing for the emergency order, Judge Kulling gave Elija Vick legal advice, instructing him to file an answer to the record or he would lose the case by default. Alicia and Todd filed for Kullings recusal due to this court error. Under conflict of interest, Kulling withdrew himself from future oversite.
A letter was written from Adriana Laws on the behalf of Alicia to the court. Adriana is an abolitionist Black woman, and the Membership Director at Oklahoma Progress Now. She is also Executive Director of the Collegiate Freedom and Justice Coalition, CEO of Laws and Tactics, and the Project Manager of Population Reduction Focus Group, a subcommittee of the Oklahoma County Jail Trust. She means business.
Alicia then had to file an order enforcing her visitation rights with her children under Section 111.43 for Elija Vick withholding the five (5) minor children for 167 days in June of 2021, alleging only one (1) visit since this debacle began in December of 2020. After all that Alicia had been through, Judge Kistler, ruled in her favor to ensure that she could have contact with her own children but still denied Alicia’s plea to modify the orders that were causing her family continued harm.
JUDGE KISTLER/LB: THE PETITIONER APPEARS PRO SE. THE RESPONDENT APPEARS WITH ATTORNEY, MELISSA DELACERDA. THIS CASE COMES ON FOR THE PETITIONER’S MOTION FOR ENFORCMENT OF NON-CUSTODIAL PARENTAL VISITATION RIGHTS. AFTER HEARING TESTIMONY OF THE WITNESSES, THE COURT FOUND THAT THE VISITATION RIGHTS OF THE PETITIONER HAD BEEN INTERFERRED WITH ON THREE OCCASIONS AND THAT THE PETITIONER IS ENTITLED TO COMPENSATORY VISITATION FOR EACH OF THE LOST VISITATION PERIODS. IT WAS AGREED BY THE PARTIES AND ORDERED BY THE COURT THAT THE PETITIONER SHALL HAVE COMPENSATORY VISITATION WITH THE PARTIES CHILDREN ON JULY 12, 2021, JULY 14, 2021 AND JULY 16, 2021 FROM 5:00PM TO 7:00PM, AT THE PETITIONER’S PLACE OF RESIDENCE WITH THE RESPONDENT PROVIDING TRANSPORATION TO FACILITATE SAID PERIODS OF VISITATION. THE PARTIES AGREED AND THE COURT ORDERS THAT THE TEMPORARY ORDER CONCERNING THE PETITIONER’S WEEKLY VISITATION BE CHANGED FROM SATURDAYS TO SUNDAYS FROM 5:00PM TO 7:00PM. THE PETITIONER SHALL HAVE THE RIGHT TO TALK TO THE PARTIES CHILDREN TELEPHONICALLY AT ALL REASONABLE TIMES EXCEPT SUCH TELEPHONE CALLS SHALL COMMENCE BY 7:00PM AND CONCLUDE BY 8:00PM. THE RESPONDENT IS ORDERED TO PROVIDE THE PETITIONER THE TELEPHONE NUMBERS OF EACH OF THE PARTIES CHILDREN THAT HAVE A CELL PHONE. SAID CHILDREN WITHOUT THEIR OWN CELL PHONE SHALL BE MADE AVAILABLE AT REASONABLE TIMES TO RECIEVE TELEPHONE CALLS FROM THE PETITIONER SUBJECT TO THE TIME RESTRICTION SET FORTH ABOVE. THE RESPONDENT ENTERED A PLEA OF NOT GUILTY AND WAIVES HIS RIGHT TO A JURY TRIAL CONCERNING THE PETITIONER’S APPLICATION FOR CONTEMPT SERVED ON HIM THIS DATE IN OPEN COURT. THE COURT SETS THE CASE FOR TRIAL ON THE MERITS ON OCTOBER 6, 2021 AT 9:00AM.
Shortly after, Judge Kistler ordered Todd Kiagu jailed for contempt of court for exercising his rights of next of friend while Alicia was falling in poor health.
JUDGE KISTLER/RECORDED: THE PETITIONER APPEARS IN PERSON, PRO SE. THE RESPONDENT APPEARS WITH ATTORNEY, MELISSA DEACERDA. THIS COMES ON FOR HEARING ON PETITIONER’S MOTION FOR EMERGENCY CUSTODY. THE COURT HEARS SWORN TESTIMONY FROM WITNESSES INCLUDING THE PETITIONER. THE COURT FINDS THERE IS NOT AN EMERGENCY. THE PETITIONER MOTION FOR EMERGENCY CUSTODY IS DENIED. THE TEMPORARY ORDER IS TO REMAIN IN EFFECT. RESPONDENT COUNSEL’S MOTION TO WITHDRAW IS SERVED ON THE PETITIONER AND THE RESPONDENT AND IT IS SET FOR HEARING SEPTEMBER 20, 2021 AT 4:00. THE COURT SUSTAINS THE RESPONDENT’S PETITIONS FOR APPEARANCES OF WITNESSES. TODD HUNTER IS FOUND IN CONTEMPT OF COURT AND SENTENCED TO 30 DAYS IN THE PAYNE COUNTY JAIL. THIS MATTER HAS BEEN SET FOR TRIAL ON OCTOBER 6, 2021 AT 9:00.
This story matters. It seems there is always some sort of story in the media regarding one form of child abuse or neglect or another. Rarely is parental alienation or governmental kidnapping discussed by the media as a form of abuse.
Alicia told her story on the Megan Fox show on November 03, 2021.
Alicia passed away on April 6th, 2022 just three (3) months after the birth of their child. Todd alleges she was under extreme pressure and stress from the Payne County legal system and OKDHS which led to her eventual poor health. Todd states that she succumbed to a blood clot and then cancer, carcanoma of the omentum. Alleging that the fluid was not being drained from his wife’s gall bladder, “it took a month for the staff at Mercy Hospital to perform a tap, which she had four liters of fluid eventually drained.” It is believed the side effects of emergency prescribed norco, Dilaudid and morphine also contributed to Alicia’s death.
Alicia’s case ended in tragedy, much to the delight of the local court, who ensured they placed her death certificate as the final filing in her simple divorce case.
JUDGE KISTLER: THE RESPONDENT APPEARS BY ATTORNEY, PRO SE. THE RESPONDENT STATES THAT THE PETITIONER IS RECENTLY DECEASED AND HE WILL FILE A MOTION TO DISMISS THIS CASE. THERE ARE NO OBJECTIONS.
DEATH CERTIFICATE OF ALICIA VICK Document Available at Court Clerk’s Office
We asked Todd what were some of his favorite characteristics of Alicia, “She was a great and loving mother. She focused on educating the children, using every resource medium available to teach chemistry, cultures of countries, camping, farming, and the constitution. She was a listener, helping them [the kids] to express how they felt and why etc.”
However, there is a silver lining. Near the end of her life, a young child was born in January 21, 2022 to Todd and Alicia, in OKC, Oklahoma. Jacob [identity changed], Kiagu is now 8 months old. Alicia had reached out to reporters across the world to tell her story. News of her mistreatment was about to make publication in the New York Times just before her untimely death; although she would have been glad for her story to be told in the local Stillwater Newspress, a story in which she would never have read in her hometown in North Carolina. May Alicia rest in peace.
Attempts To Move Forward Delayed By The State
Alicia was a woman running from continued physical abuse at the hands of her estranged husband. The State amplified her nightmare. Todd stood by her side. She fought, and won many battles in her mind, without due process and dealing with a court in disregard of state law. Yet the war for her family continues past her untimely death.
Let’s start with a look back before we look forward in this case. The 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause mandated that all individuals be treated equally by the law, albeit with separate treatment. It took effect in 1868, but many in Oklahoma are arguing that they are still waiting for true equality under the law. At what point did the State or the Court help this family?
Despite the 14th amendment, there are still major injustices occurring in the dark rooms of our smallest communities that no one would consider equal protection under the law. There is little to no recourse for most Oklahomans when the system violates a family; it takes guts, money, and great health to even begin to fight back. Alicia fought with a vengeance for her children, to her death in fact. In many cases, as the one described in this article, we see clearly that the question of equal application of the law is flawed, so what’s the use? One might ask.
Finally the State of Oklahoma is doubling down on their madness by taking her newest son into custody following her death, alleging Todd is not fit. When it is in fact, the State DHS which is charged with ensuring Todd can care for his newborn son. Right now the plan is to return the child back to Todd in December. Todd has not been so excited about any hearings with Kistler, as Todd states Judge Kistler has never been objective and had stated at a hearing that he did not have intentions of ever overturning another judge’s ruling. Kistler is retiring from the bench in December of 2022 and has a full calendar leading up to his bar association ceremony.
The death of Alicia prompted no public outrage.
The Road Map Home
It is what happens next that I strongly question. Apparently, the best answer for the State of Oklahoma to settle this case was to remove the newest child from his father’s custody, put him in foster care, and ignore everything going on in the historical background.
Todd has no real criminal record. He was represented by Stillwater attorney Royce Hobbs on a set of misdemeanors that are not relevant to the case, with exception of a “JUDGMENT AND SENTENCE FOR DIRECT CONTEMPT OF COURT” by Judge Kistler on September 10, 2021
The young child’s father is now fighting for the state to return the child to his care and custody. On April 20th, 2022 Stillwater Police Department in conjunction with the Payne County Department of Human Services seized Todd and his son at gunpoint. The police were ordered to take Todd and his son into custody for a medical assesment.
Todd now has supervised visitation with his 8-month-old child Jacob on Thursdays since April 20th, 2022. “It’s always been supervised since they stole him. They [DHS] are alleging Failure to Thrive, yet this is not a criminal case.”
Later, Todd was mysteriously brought before Judge Kulling and then Judge Thomas for a combined obstruction ruling and sentencing on July 28, 2022.
“JUDGE THOMAS: THE DEFENDANT APPEARS IN PERSON, FROM THE PAYNE COUNTY JAIL AND WITH ATTORNEY ROYCE HOBBS. THE STATE APPEARS BY ATTORNEY SEAN WEBB. THE STATE MAKES ORAL MOTION TO DISMISS CT 2 IN CM-2022-707 UNLAWFUL CARRYING WEAPON AT STATE’S COST. THE COURT SUSTAINS THE STATE’S MOTION TO DISMISS CT 2 OF CM-2022-707 AT STATE’S COST. THE DEFENDANT ENTERS A PLEA OF GUILTY IN CM-2021-1208 TO OBSTRUCTING AND IN CM-2021-707 CT 1 TO OBSTRUCTING. THE COURT FINDS THE DEFENDANT COMPETENT AND ACCEPTS THE DEFENDANT’S PLEA. THE COURT SENTENCES THE DEFENDANT IN CM-2021-1208 TO 30 DAYS IN THE PAYNE COUNT JAIL WITH CREDIT FOR TIME SERVED AND ORDERS THE DEFENDANT TO PAY INCARCERATION AND COURT COST. THE COURT SENTENCES THE DEFENDANT IN CM-2022-707 CT 1 TO 30 DAYS IN THE PAYNE COUNTY JAIL WITH CREDIT FOR TIME SERVED ORDERS THE DEFENDANT IS TO PAY $100 FINE, INCARCERATION AND COURT COST. THESE CASES ARE TO RUN CONCURRENT ONE WITH THE OTHER. THE DEFENDANT IS ADVISED OF HIS APPEAL RIGHTS. THE COURT EXONERATES THE DEFENDANT’S BOND.”
The father filed a federal suit on June 03, 2022, (CIV-22-457-J), yet had it dismissed by Federal U.S. District Court Judge Bernard M. Jones who said, “The Court is not required to imagine or assume facts in order to permit a complaint to survive.” Todd never had the opportunity to present his information because of a lack of adequate legal counsel.
On April 20, 2022, a case was filed against Todd, JD-2022-22, originally under Kulling’s docket, which is not on the normal civil docket seen by the public on OSCN. Previously, under conflict of interest, Kulling withdrew himself, leaving the chief judge Phillip Corley to preside over this secret court. So, it’s a private court in which Todd is having to represent himself without the assistance of an attorney. Kulling used to work for DHS as an attorney and had also withdrawn from the original divorce case. Sarah Kennady was originally appointed attorney, but she withdrew from the case under the approval of Judge Corley leaving Todd to proceed pro-se. According to Todd, Amanda Lahue, DHS worker, perjured herself on the witness stand (see video below); Phillip Corley, judge, overruled the motion for dismissal.
The father is alleging that in the Payne County case JD 2022-20 Judge Corley has not read any of his counter-claims and writs. He seeks a default Judgement since the “State” has not responded. Todd’s next court hearing is on November 20, 2022.
They have ignored the right to a jury trial claiming “this lawsuit is not a criminal matter.”, Todd stated.
“In a court proceeding where one party holds all the cards and the other party is struggling to get by, and with no right to counsel in traditional family court proceedings, the probability of injustice rises,” ACLU of Nevada director Athar Haseebullah was quoted in a recent Journal Review news article. The same holds true in Stillwater Oklahoma.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada filed a lawsuit against the District Court on June 29 on behalf of Alexander Falconi, who created the Our Nevada Judges website. If reports are true of secret adoptive court hearings taking place in Oklahoma, the Oklahoma chapter of the ACLU is surely to follow (law)suit.
A Valuable Service To Whom?
The discussion of mental health is taboo in Oklahoma. Now touted as a service by Governor Stitt’s recent push for it to be provided more readily as a government service. Recently, I came across two families who need help, and are in family court, which brought up the fact that they didn’t complain about DHS treatment and their mental health, due to fears of having their children immediately removed from their homes as mental health is, allegedly, grounds for removal of children in Oklahoma. What if it is the officers of the court and DHS causing the mental health problems? Does the State, through DHS, still plan on using Mental Health as a bullet to end family unity?
The State should begin with finding the proper balance between saving a child and destroying a family. The OKDHS Mission Statement is to Put the HUMAN in DHS and to build stronger families, “We improve the quality of life of vulnerable Oklahomans by increasing people’s ability to lead safer, healthier, more independent and productive lives. DHS provides help and offers hope to vulnerable Oklahomans through stronger practices, involved communities, and a caring and engaged workforce.” Mr. Kiagu is stating that OKDHS is not living up to its Mission Statement, instead, he argues that they have intentionally disrupted and destroyed his family to death as the only end. Do the ends justify the means? At this point Oklahoma DHS wants Todd to complete a mental health assessment and create a home in Oklahoma before he can have his child returned. Any normal person would be driven crazy and mad after dealing with what this family has endured.
In our research of the current Oklahoma Department of Human Services, its legislative supporters and the Payne County court in which they operate, we found a system that stopped trying following a previous federal court settlement to improve on its own. We found a system that ignores the Family First Act. We found an OKDHS fraught with unruly caseworkers, many of whom are relatively inexperienced, and some using and selling illegal drugs with the people they were charged to help. We found instances of judges struggling under heavy caseloads as an ever-increasing number of children are placed in the local foster care industry; we found a Payne County Bar and State attorney associations that blackball the full legal assistance to indigent clients; we also found alarming acts of corruption involving law enforcement. Likewise, and rightfully so, we also found angry and resentful parents who feel that their children are being taken away from them before they’ve been given a fair chance to improve things. Many times the State made advances despite not having a reason to intervene in these private citizens’ lives.
Todd’s complaints are valid. His wife just died of illness and he cares for the natural upbringing of his child. The state of Oklahoma has ignored Alicia and Todd’s wishes by feeding his newborn formula, despite his objections. One of their lifestyle choices, and religious choices was to not use baby formula. The State of Oklahoma is feeding his son baby formula while in state custody, against the wishes of his deceased wife. She had prepared the formula in advance for precisely these moments in her husband and child life. “They have shown their unfaithful disloyalty for the family autonomy. The family does not consent, endorse, or condone using formulas consisting of toxins that are known for causing harm to humans especially children, especially those born prematurely as the label warns “Contents are not sterile as needed for a premature baby.”
Vengence was never on the mind of Mr. Kiagu. When asked why he was trying so hard when it would have been easy to just quit on his son and return home to North Carolina empty-handed he said, “Continuing her wishes in raising our child is important to me. We want the same thing for our children, to be healthy, intelligent, loved.”
We asked Todd, what are some of the things you look forward to in the raising of your son? “Everything, Honor, Dignity Self respect. All of him, watching him as he grows and discovers the world.” These are values he has learned and his values have taught him, not values absorbed through the current experience with the State of Oklahoma DHS.
The Oklahoma Post believes that an investigation to ensure any Oklahoma child is being cared for can be accomplished without removing the child from his/her home. Yet even when an investigation is opened, if a parent says that they have no access to care, guess who can help? The Oklahoma Department of Human Services, can help, that is their funding purpose. Did we forget that they are, in fact, services?
Nearly 160 years after a clearly sought constitutional guarantee of the 14th Amendment, here we are. Oklahoma clearly has built-in cultural and implicit biases, and it’s hard to set aside biases that you may not even know you have. We are thankful for the leadership in Oklahoma standing up and doing the right thing. Family values have always mattered to Oklahomans and it is time to show support for those leaders that come forward to promote families over profit.
The Oklahoma Post reached out to Oklahoma DHS and others involved to see if they had any comments on their involvement in the Alicia and Todd Kiagu case; however, only Mr. Kiagu has replied.
The Kiagu family has not hired an attorney, but needs one and is in the process of collecting funds and making notice of the pending litigation. The incident left Todd’s family with severe injuries. He said, “Community problems cannot be fixed if they are not brought to light and discussed.” Please click on this link to donate to his legal fund.
As a Christian community, as a church, we are called by Christ to pour out his love by honoring and serving the weak, rather than holding onto any privileges or prestige that set us apart.
Now, Todd Hunter Kiagu is seemingly trapped in a twilight zone of Gilligan’s Island-type characters going after the life of a family, and its children. He just wants his child back and to be able go back home to North Carolina.
(Writing by Moses Montefiore Cortizi; Editing by Robbie Robertson)
Copyright 2022 The Oklahoma Post
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