Monday, September 14, 2009

Teen stabbed to death in adoptive home after DHS removed from natural parents

Faith Baden of Iosco County, Michigan had no idea that when she last talked to her son Justin Pribbernow, while he was on a Marines recruitment trip, that it would be the last time she would speak to him. “The hardest part is when I said goodbye to him, I didn't know I was saying goodbye for good.", says Faith. This is not a story about another soldiers death in a foreign land though. Justin died during an attack, allegedly by his brother, 15 year old Steve Pribbernow, which also left two brothers and their adoptive father seriously injured.

Faith Baden had five sons. While married to Paul McBride Jr the first three, Mitchel J McBride, the oldest, Paul (McBride) Pribbernow, and Justin (McBride) Pribbernow were born. The relationship between Faith and Paul deteriorated and they eventually divorced. Paul McBride Jr now lives in Flint, Michigan. Faith describes their relationship as "not good".

Faith is now married to Kevin Baden whom she had two more sons with. They are Kevin (Baden) Pribbernow, age 15, and Kody (Baden) Pribbernow, age 13. However, the youngest four boys were removed from the care of Faith and Kevin after Paul McBride, Jr made an allegation that both Justin and Paul were being sexually abused by Faith. However Social Services found that this allegation was not true. This followed the previous conviction of Doug Bemis for molesting the boys. He is now serving a 43 year term for that abuse.

On May 19, 2004 the Standish Court in Arenac County determined that Faith and Kevin had failed to protect the boys from the abuse and had also allowed Kody to be medically neglected. The boys were adopted by Jessica (Pribbernow) Saylor who is married to Joshua Saylor who was also injured in the attack. In 2006 Jessica divorced from Steve Jeffery Pribbernow and the three youngest boys remained with her. Faith says that is when Jessica went to child welfare officials and ask that they take the children back but was told that she had adopted them and was to provide for their care until they reached the age of 18 years.

Also in the home, prior to the arrival of Faith's sons, was Steve Pribbernow, age 15, whose father had been found stabbed to death in a river. Steve and his mother lived with his grandparents for awhile before they died. Steven then went into the system where he was eventually adopted by the Pribbernows. Jessica (Pribbernow) Saylor and Joshua Saylor had four boys living in the home at the time of the attack.

Jessica Pribbernow may not have been a model parent herself and there is some question as to whether she was fit to parent these children. As Faith tells it Jessica had a criminal record and her application to be a foster parent was denied. But with the help of a state senator, Family Lutheran Adoption Agency of Bay City, Michigan arranged for the adoption of the children.

Jessica had three biological children of her own. Along with Faith's four boys and Steve that made eight children living in the three bedroom home. At the time of Justin's death there were seven children living in the home.

Faith says that Jessica made it difficult for her to have communication with her children, not allowing them to have a telephone and maintaining rigid controls over their lives. She also says that her oldest son Paul had once told her that Justin told him that Jessica had been fondling him.

Although there were no outward indications that this may have been coming, Faith's son Paul had told her that the other children needed to be removed from the Saylor house. There has been no information provided to me that Steven Pribbernow was on any medications but I have been told that his back was recently covered in bruises.

Faith and Kevin Baden had hoped for the return of their children. Although they were hoping to start a custody action some time back the estimated legal costs prevented them from going forward at the time. Faith wants all parents to know that CPS is not interested in doing what is best for children but getting the money for the state. Under Title IV-E of the Social Security Act states get incentive payments to have children taken from their natural parents and placed into an adoptive family.

Kevin and Kody suffered serious injuries in the attack including Kody's loss of some fingers and damage to Kevin's internal organs. Both boys have been released from the hospital and returned to the care of Jessica (Pribbernow) Saylor who apparently failed to protect the children in her care from being killed or seriously injured.

The Badens saw their son Paul, who is age 19, on Sunday 06 September. He told them that he had witnessed Jessica sexually molesting Justin and that she had also molested him with the assistance of Joshua who held him down. In 2006 Jessica accused Paul of molesting her biological daughter and he is currently serving a 56 month prison sentence.

I contacted Jessica Cokar of Midland County DHS and asked her what many are wondering; Why were children removed from their parents based on an allegation that they failed to protect them from sexual abuse and then adopted by someone who then alleges that her child was sexually abused and now has failed to protect one of the children from being stabbed to death and two others seriously injured. To be blunt, do you actually care about children or are you just in it for the federal incentive money?

Ms Cokar was asked for comment on September 4, 2009 but had no comment for this article. Midland County DHS did say this, "The Michigan Department of Human Services appreciates the time you have taken to share your thoughts."

The Baden's were not allowed to attend the funeral of their son and do not even know where he is buried. An officer of the Midland County Sheriff's Department allegedly called the Baden's and told them that they could not attend the funeral. Although the call appeared as "Midland County" on their caller ID, upon returning the call the Baden's were told that the Department knows nothing of it.

The Badens would like for anyone who knows their children to let them know about the condition of their children and to also let their boys know that they want them home and are continuing to fight to bring them home.

Justin Pribbernow was a good student who played football, basketball and was in track. His plans were to enlist in the Marines upon completing high school. His 18th birthday would have been the day the Badens went to visit Paul in prison.

Steven Pribbernow's next court date is scheduled for October.

Stuart Showalter

Indiana Custodial Rights Advocates

©2009 Stuart Showalter, LLC. Permission is granted to all non-commercial entities to reproduce this article in it's entirety with credit given.

1 comment:

faith baden said...

Between November 7, 2003 and May 19,2004 the kids remained in foster care, and their parental rights were terminated. The boys were separated, and were in three different foster homes. Their last foster home was the home of Jessica and Steven Pribbernow Sr.
The Pribbernows adopted the boys in 2005. Steven Jeffery Lewis was also a foster child in Jessica and Steven Prbbernow’s home for approximately five months before he was adopted and became Steven Pribbernow Jr. Steven is not biologically related to Paul, Justin, Kevin and Kody Prbbernow.

It had been four years since Faith had seen or had any contact with her sons Paul, Justin, Kevin and Kody, when Faith received a letter from Paul in September of 2007. Where she learned Paul was in the Midland County Jail on charges of CSC against his adopted mothers two daughters. Paul had contacted his grandmother to find out how to contact his mother. In the letter Faith received from her son Paul, he told his mother about the abuse that was happening in their adopted home. Paul went on to tell Faith that his youngest brother Kody, was being abused by Jessica the adopted mother. Kody has congenital scoliosis, and has had back surgery for his scoliosis. Kody also has asthma. Paul wrote that he and his siblings were not allowed to eat when they were hungry, and that Kody was stealing food out of the cupboards and taking it to the doghouse at the back of the property to eat. Paul writes his adopted mother would not allow him to get his drivers license because she feared Paul would go home to his biological mother Faith. Paul writes that Jessica told him that she was a paid mom.

After Faith received the letter from Paul, she and Kevin went to the Midland County Jail to see Paul in the fall of 2007. It was the first time she had seen her son in four years. Faith and Kevin visited Paul every month. On Feb 21,2008 Faith and Kevin attended Paul’s sentencing. Paul’s adopted mother Jessica spoke at the sentencing and said that Paul was an animal, that he deserved to die and that she wouldn’t have anymore-foster children in her home. Jessica brought Justin and Steven to the sentencing to see their brother go off to prison. While Kevin was trying to comfort Faith, over Paul going to prison. Faith and Kevin were walking out of the courtroom, Jessica, Joshua, Justin, and Steven came out. Justin and Faith made eye contact, he was crying as well as Faith. Justin had his fists clenched, tears in his eyes, his lower lip was quivering and Jessica screamed out at him not to look at Faith, to keep his eyes on her and to go down the staircase. Faith spoke out and said hi and I love you to Justin. Faith and Kevin got into the elevator; Jessica met them at the lobby doors, and refused to let Justin come out into the lobby until Faith and Kevin had left the courthouse. It would be the last time that Faith would see her son Justin alive.