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Father Of Baby Taken By Miccosukee Tribe Files Lawsuit Against Tribe and Baptist Health

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The father of a newborn baby girl who was taken from the hospital by prominent leaders of the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians right after her birth is filing a lawsuit.

Stolen Baby Ingrid Johnson
Ingrid Ronan Johnson, was born on Friday, March 16, at Baptist Hospital. (CBS4)

The lawsuit charges the Miccosukee Tribe officials with false imprisonment, conspiracy and defamation. The tribe officials and Baptist Hospital are both accused of tort of outrage and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Baptist faces additional allegations of negligence in the discharge of their newborn baby, in the release of her medical records and in the failure to mitigate the release of her medical records to the Tribe from the hospital.

Ingrid Ronan Johnson, was born on Friday, March 16, at Baptist Hospital. (Photo credit: Emily Michot/Miami Herald/Courtesy of Rebecca Saunders)

Two days after the girl's March 16 birth, tribal detectives entered Baptist Hospital, which is outside the tribe's reservation in the Everglades, and took Ingrid Ronan Johnson from her parents, Rebecca Sanders and Justin Johnson.

"It's like waking up from a nightmare and wondering if it could happen again," said Johnson at a Friday afternoon news conference.

Johnson is filing the lawsuit to make sure it doesn't happen again.

"He's a great father especially with Ingrid and helping me cope in this situation," said Rebecca Sanders, who is a member of the Tribe.

When the incident happened, Miccosukee police were accompanied by Miami-Dade officers and carried what they claimed was a court order. They claimed Johnson is abusive.

Stolen Baby Parents
Justin Johnson and Rebecca Sanders are the parents of baby Ingrid who was taken from them in the hospital by Miccosukee Tribe officials. (CBS4)

"It's a false allegation," said Johnson.

Miami-Dade Police said its officers were misled.

The parents spent four days telling police, prosecutors and the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs that the tribal order was concocted by the baby's grandmother, Betty Osceola, to keep Johnson out of the girl's life. The Miccosukee tribal court had issued an order of protection for the newborn on allegations the father was abusive and granted custody to Osceola.

The baby was reunited with her parents a week later.

However, the mother's attorney said the one-week old baby missed critical days to initiate breast-feeding.

In the lawsuit filing, they claim Miccosukee police told Rebecca Sanders "This is not your baby anymore."

The attorney claims the Tribe had no jurisdiction over the baby.

'The hospital has a duty to protect their patients," said attorney Richard Wolfe. "We know the officer lied when he said 'I have a federal order.'"

Baptist Health issued the following statement when asked for a response to the lawsuit.

"We feel for everyone involved in this challenging circumstance. It is our policy to be in compliance with all applicable laws, rules and regulations and to work in accordance with the highest ethical and moral standards. We are unable to comment on the specifics of pending litigation."

The attorney also want members of the Tribe to be charged with Armed Kidnapping.

The State Attorneys office says, "We are involved in reviewing this entire matter to see if any of Florida's criminal statutes were violated."

"My ultimate goal is to get my other two children back and my main concern is their well being and education and that's what I'm trying to handle right now," said Sanders.

Her children from a previous marriage currently reside with her mother.


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