It sure sounds like dad EARL WAYNE BIGGS is custodial, but it's not specifically spelled out here. At minimum, it appears that he has joint custody and extensive visitation. Note that the babysitter was the one who took the child to the emergency room for "severe bruises and marks", and that there is no mention of the mother at all. The fact that the 2-year-old refers to the stepmonster as "mommy Amber" does suggest that he's at least aware of a real mother elsewhere, even if the reporter can't bother to locate her. I really wish these reporters would find out more about the families that abuse children, so the public could better understand the context of these crimes. The role of the family courts and their custody determinations is really hidden from the public in a lot of these abuse cases, though the evidence is often there if you look.
April 8, 2010
Abuse charges against couple sent to grand jury
By Brian Smith
Register News Writer
RICHMOND — A couple charged with first-degree criminal abuse after their 2-year-old son was taken to a local hospital with bruises will see their cases go before a grand jury.
Amber Biggs, 26, and Earl Wayne Biggs, 29, each face a single count of first-degree criminal abuse in connection with an investigation into severe bruises and marks Earl Biggs’ son had when taken to Pattie A. Clay Regional Medical Center on March 24.
Richmond Police officers Nicholas Duvall and Devin Thomas testified Wednesday in Madison District Court about their investigation during preliminary hearings for the couple.
Duvall and Thomas, his training officer, were dispatched to the hospital after the child’s babysitter took the boy to the emergency room.
Duvall said the child had “10 to 15” bruises on his lower back, buttocks and thighs, some of which appeared to be several days old.
The child told Duvall and Thomas that “mommy Amber” had caused the injuries after he misbehaved.
Both Amber and Earl Biggs were transported to the Richmond Police Department early on the morning of March 25 for interviews, Duvall testified.
Earl Biggs told police that Amber had spanked the child in the past with her hand and a wooden switch, but volunteered the information that he always maintained possession of his belt.
Amber Biggs told police she had struck the child with the belt, and said Earl Biggs had also struck the child with a flip-flop shoe.
Earl Biggs is the boy’s biological father, Duvall testified, while Amber is the child’s stepmother. Two other children belonging to Amber Biggs also live in their Villa Drive home.
On cross-examination, Amber Biggs’ attorney, Tim Despotes, asked Duvall if the babysitter could explain why it took more than 24 hours from the time she picked up the child from the Biggs’ home to report the injuries.
Duvall said the babysitter had made an offhand remark about the incident in connection to a child custody case she was involved in, but had no further explanation.
Earl Biggs’ attorney, Meena Mohanty, questioned Duvall about how much information the child provided during the interview at the hospital. The child was not able to tell police when specifically the injuries occurred.
After the hearing, Madison District Judge Brandy O. Brown found probable cause to send the charges against both defendants to a grand jury for possible indictment, and denied a request from Despotes to reduce Amber Biggs’ bond, which is $10,000 cash. She remained lodged in the Madison County Detention Center on Wednesday afternoon.