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Braddy v. Jenkins

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

November 26, 2013

Heidi Wilkinson BRADDY, Appellant
Jeremy P. JENKINS, Appellee.

Nathan S. Farmer, Picayune, attorney for appellant.

Kevin R. Roberts, Nance Fitzpatrick Stokes, Poplarville, attorneys for appellee.

Before IRVING, P.J., ISHEE and FAIR, JJ.


¶ 1. In 2012, the Pearl River County Chancery Court issued a final judgment regarding the custody of Jeremy P. Jenkins's and Heidi Wilkinson-Braddy's minor child, Isaiah Jenkins. The chancery court awarded primary physical custody of Isaiah to Jeremy, with the parties sharing joint legal custody. Heidi was granted visitation rights. Heidi now appeals, arguing: (1) the chancellor committed reversible error by failing to make specific written findings on the statutory presumption set forth in Mississippi Code Annotated section 93-5-24(9) (Rev.2004); and (2) the chancellor erred in awarding physical custody of Isaiah to Jeremy pursuant to an Albright [1] analysis. Finding no error, we affirm.

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¶ 2. Jeremy and Heidi began their relationship in 2003 and resided together in Carriere, Mississippi. Although they were never married, the couple had two children together, Jeremy Jenkins Jr. and Isaiah Jenkins. Jeremy Jr., born September 4, 2003, is in the custody of Heidi's mother, Sherry Wilkinson, and is not at issue in this case.

¶ 3. In 2005, the couple separated. Upon their separation, Heidi moved into her father's home in Carriere and was residing there when Isaiah was born on September 6, 2006. The record is unclear as to the exact date, but a few months after Isaiah's birth, Jeremy gained custody of Isaiah.

¶ 4. According to Heidi, Jeremy, accompanied by his brother, entered her father's home uninvited and asked to take Isaiah. She testified that, when she refused, Jeremy held her down and threatened to break her arm if she did not release Isaiah. Heidi ultimately relented, and Jeremy took Isaiah with him. Jeremy contends that, while Heidi did not fully agree with him removing Isaiah from her care, he did not threaten her. Also, he contends that she had informed him that she could no longer care for Isaiah. There was no custody order in place at this time.

¶ 5. Following this change in custody, Jeremy began to control the time, place, and manner of Heidi's visitations. Heidi attempted to take Isaiah several times and, according to Heidi, she was stopped violently by Jeremy and his family each time. On one occasion, Heidi stated, she was pushed by Jeremy's sister, Crimpson, when Heidi went to Jeremy's mother's house on Mother's Day in 2008 to visit Isaiah. Heidi was ultimately forced to leave the property. Jeremy testified that Heidi was allowed to visit Isaiah freely, but the agreement between the two parties was that Heidi was unable to care for Isaiah permanently. Jeremy also stated that Heidi would often miss scheduled visitations with Isaiah.

¶ 6. Jeremy maintained full custody of Isaiah from November 2006 to July 2009, providing complete financial and physical care to him. At some point in 2009, Heidi moved to New Orleans, Louisiana. On July 9, 2009, Heidi visited Isaiah at Jeremy's home while Jeremy was at work. Jeremy's wife, Teresa, testified that Isaiah was swimming in the pool in the backyard when Heidi arrived. Heidi asked for Isaiah's basketball, and Teresa went to look for it. At that time, Heidi grabbed Isaiah, threw him in her truck, unrestrained by a seat belt, and took him back to her residence in New Orleans. Heidi testified that Jeremy and his family followed her back to Louisiana, threatened her, and demanded she give Isaiah to them.

¶ 7. On July 15, 2009, after filing for a temporary restraining order, Heidi was granted an order of protection in the state of Louisiana for Isaiah and herself against Jeremy. On July 21, 2009, Jeremy filed a complaint for child custody and other relief in the Pearl River Chancery Court seeking custody of Isaiah. On July 29, 2009, the order of protection was dismissed in Louisiana, and Heidi was ordered to return to Mississippi with Isaiah.

¶ 8. Heidi returned to Mississippi on July 29, 2009, with her boyfriend, Darrell, and Isaiah to stay with her mother, Sherry. That same day, Jeremy showed up at Sherry's home attempting to regain custody of Isaiah. Heidi testified that Jeremy, Teresa, Crimpson, and another friend entered Sherry's property with the intent of taking Isaiah by force. A violent altercation ensued in Sherry's ...

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