Tribal court returns baby taken from parents at Florida hospital

A baby was returned to her parents March 22, four days after detectives from the Miccosukee police force, acting on an order signed by a tribal court judge, took the baby from Baptist Hospital in Kendall, Fla., according to the Miami Herald.

The baby was born March 16 to a Miccosukee mother and a white father. On March 17, the baby's maternal grandmother, Betty Osceola, persuaded the tribal court to issue an order granting her temporary custody of the newborn. The baby's parents said the order was a sham initiated by Ms. Osceola, who they claim does not want a white father to be involved in the baby's life.

The tribal court said giving Ms. Osceola temporary custody was "in the best interest" of the child. The order cast the baby's farther as a domestic violence threat, but it did not say he posed a danger to the newborn baby, according to the report.

After the baby was seized from the hospital March 18, the parents filed complaints with Miami-Dade police, state prosecutors and the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs. State authorities are reviewing the incident and determining whether the tribal police acted lawfully in executing the tribal court order. Miami-Dade detectives are also investigating the incident.

The Miccosukee reservation is about 30 miles away from Baptist Hospital, and the tribal police force's jurisdiction mainly covers the reservation and properties owned by the tribe.

In a tweet on March 21, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said, "Miccosukee tribe police used tribal court order to kidnap newborn baby from parents in Miami hospital. They don't have any jurisdiction outside reservation. I'm in contact with fed officials & this won't end well for tribe if they don't return child ASAP."

On March 22, after an hours-long hearing, the tribal court agreed to return the baby to her parents.

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