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Cecillia Arnold was released from jail on Sunday after 12 days. Her offense? She talked to her daughter in foster care.
Wichita. Cecillia Arnold bonded out of jail on Sunday after serving 12 days in jails in Texas and Wichita.
Kansas Watchdog contacted Arnold by phone in Wichita late Sunday after learning about her current legal battle from a Wichita source.
Arnold said she was arrested in Arlington, Texas on March 29 on an outstanding arrest warrant and extradited to Kansas.
What was the offense?
As reported last year by Kansas Watchdog, Sedgwick County officials issued an arrest warrant for Arnold in Feb. 2010 after she talked to her older daughter while traveling through Wichita on her way back to Texas on Dec. 1, 2009.
Arnold’s trip back to Texas was after she testified before a Joint Committee on Children’s Issues at the capitol in Topeka about losing her daughters to foster care when she was an abused mom herself.
Arnold’s older daughter was in foster care in Wichita and Arnold violated a court order by talking with her. For talking with her daughter Arnold became one of the “Featured Felons” in Sedgwick County in Feb. 2010.
Arnold said “they came to my job” on March 29 and she stayed in Texas jails in Arlington and Ft. Worth until April 7 waiting for “Kansas to come and get me.” Arnold said she was transferred by plane to Wichita on Thursday evening.
Arnold said some Texas officials told her “we never see an extradition for something like this.”
The Wichita Eagle‘s daily bookings from the Sedgwick County Jail show Arnold was charged on April 7 with “Interference with parental custody; other than joint custody.”
The Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office web site still shows Arnold as a wanted person.
On Monday officials from the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s office declined to verify anything about the extradition and declined to comment about the case since Arnold had been released.
The Sedgwick County District Attorney’s office on Monday said they could not verify anything about the extradition and declined any comments until after Arnold makes her first appearance in District Court.
Terry Grisham, Executive Director at the Tarrant County, TX Sheriff’s office on Monday confirmed Arnold was arraigned in Ft. Worth on March 31 and released to Sedgwick County officials on April 7. A senior clerk with the Arlington Police Department confirmed Arnold’s arrest there on March 29.
Arnold said she was in Sedgwick County jail until Sunday when her dad posted bond for her.
According to Arnold she was given documents that her daughter and her parents will be witnesses against her at her preliminary hearing in Wichita on April 21.
In previous conversations Arnold said her 9-year-old daughter was upset and scared and had asked “Mom, are you going to jail?” Arnold asked, “who does this do a kid” in making a child testify again her mom? Arnold is 25.
Arnold said “I lost my job” after being arrested and is concerned that she will go to jail if she only has a court-appointed attorney.
In an interview in Topeka in 2009 after testifying to the Joint Committee on Children’s Issues, Arnold said she thought she could have done a better job representing her case than the court-appointed attorney representing her. [See first video below, or listen to audio of her testimony below.]
Arnold plans to see if she has enough money in her 401(K) retirement account to obtain better legal counsel than she received in the past.
Monica and Albert Arnold are trying to help their daughter. They do not understand why they cannot have custody of their grandchildren if their daughter is denied custody.
Her dad explained “We don’t have money” and are limited on what legal help they can afford to give their daughter or to fight for their granddaughters. [See second video below.]
Arnold’s parents, Albert and Monica Arnold from Wichita, traveled to Topeka in 2009 and 2010 trying to testify to the legislature on their daughter’s behalf about the treatment she has received from the legal system in Sedgwick County.
Albert and Monica Arnold are frustrated that as grandparents they have been denied custody of their own grandchildren.
Abused Mom Lost Children; Appealed to Kansas Legislators
Grandparents try to appeal to Kansas legislature to help “felon” daughter with child custody
- Warrant out for mom who testified at hearing about losing custody of children, Kansas Watchdog, Feb. 28, 2010.
- Compelling stories from parents and grandparents about problems with placement and removal of children, Kansas Watchdog, Dec. 4, 2009.
- Parents, grandparents ask why children removed from homes, Kansas Watchdog, Dec. 1, 2009.
Excerpts from testimony on Nov. 30, 2009 to Joint Committee on Children’s Issues:
Cecillia Arnold: “I did all court orders and my girls were placed back home with me”
“The case workers changed many times. I couldn’t get through to them sometimes.”
“The reintegration itself … was going well”
“I had stability. I had a home. I had a job. I had everything that they would ask someone to do for reintegration to occur.”
“My abuser … was going to jail at the time at the time the girls were removed from home. He was incarcerated for, I think, it was two years for the crime he committed against me.”
“The girls were removed from home for the second time.”
“The assistant [Sedgwick County] DA … filed a petition for termination [of parental rights], and after … the trial termination was granted.”
“As of now I have not seen my children since March of this year”
“During the trial I had testimony from different people — the foster care parents … — their testimony was overlooked.”
“… bad experiences with DCCA …”
“They said the reason for termination was … me not following the reintegration plan. That was not true.”
“… the ball got dropped on me from the Agency that was contracted through the courts … They didn’t do the job that they were supposed to do, which resulted in my girls being removed from home”
Senator Oletha Faust-Goudeau: “Her parents are in the audience … They have been denied custody of their grandchildren, too, and told there were too old; they were too sick.”
State Rep Bill Otto (R-LeRoy): “Your rights are severed?”
Arnold: “My rights have been terminated … I have no rights to my children. I have not seen them since March. I filed an appeal that didn’t go anywhere. I’m here today because I want my children back.” …
Otto: “Where was your lawyer?” …
Arnold: “I had court-appointed attorneys … I feel I could have done a better job representing myself” ..
Otto: “This should not happen to anybody … I’m so sorry.” …
Chair Kiegerl: “Your problem mainly is with the courts, although, I’m sure, the agency’s testimony was instrumental in the decision. … My heart goes out to you …I wish there were a magic wand that … we could use to solve your problem.”
Arnold left in tears.
Listen to Cecillia Arnold’s testimony:
Contact: Earl F Glynn, firstname.lastname@example.org, KansasWatchdog.org