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Family, county at odds over custody of child with HIV

Published 11:30pm Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Local family members have been pleading their case for more than a month to regain custody of their nearly 3-month-old baby. However, county officials and doctors are hesitant, given the potential circumstances: Tests show the child is HIV positive. But they clearly have other concerns as well, specifically, an antiretroviral therapy (ART) the family spoke out against in the past.

Lindsey Nagel holds her son, Rico, who is currently in protective custody in Mower County. Rico has HIV. -- Photo provided
Lindsey Nagel holds her son, Rico, who is currently in protective custody in Mower County. Rico has HIV. — Photo provided

Mower County Human Services took the child, Rico Martinez Nagel, from Lindsey Nagel and John Martinez’s custody on Jan. 18, where they were living in Brownsdale with Lindsey’s parents, Steve and Cheryl Nagel. Steve and Cheryl adopted Lindsey from Romania 22 years ago, and she tested HIV positive in the U.S. However, after two years on ART, Lindsey showed many adverse effects, her parents say, including severe leg cramps and pain. Now she has taken no drugs for 20 years and claims to be healthy.

Clearly, Steve’s views about ART aren’t like everybody else’s, and he believes Mower County Human Services took the child from Lindsey and John’s custody because of his views.

“What are we supposed to think,” Steve said. “My kid’s 22 years old.”

Lindsey’s story has widely spread on the Internet, as well.

The request for emergency protective placement said the parents had been “resistant to HIV treatment for Rico,” and compliance was only gained after child protection was going to be involved. The court records do not show whether Rico was taken off of the ART, but Lindsey and John both state they would have continued treatment as required.

Court documents show on Jan. 15 and 16 Lindsey canceled nutritional appointments with doctors from Mayo Clinic Rochester because she wanted an attorney present, she thought the appointments were optional and she wanted a second opinion. Lindsey and John then began driving to Seattle to meet with another doctor, only to turn around in Bismarck, N.D., because they were informed the doctor was not a pediatrician. Human services then took Rico on Jan. 18.

The family has insisted Rico’s health was much better when he was in its custody and has posted numerous messages and videos on social media. Steve said a feeding tube inserted into Rico caused an infection and further caused his stomach to bloat.

However, doctors maintain that the child must stay on ART, and that is listed in the request for emergency protective care.

“There is no acceptable alternative treatment,” it states. “There is no legitimate medical controversy in this regard.”

The guardian ad litem for the child would not offer comments in the case. Lindsey and John’s attorney has not yet released a statement on their behalf.

The family has more hearings set for April 1 and 2.


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  • Save Baby Rico!!!

    So sad that parents don’t have rights as to what is given to the child or not. I see this as a slap in this family face. Facts… A person with HIV should not have given birth to a baby knowingly but since it did happened let this family take care of the child. They have lived with it for 20 plus years and know the ins and outs of the situation. This family is very knowledgeable about the situation and are out for the child’s welfare best ! Heck there are children in MOWER county who are being hurt by adults on a daily basis but still living in the homes… Please use our tax dollars differently as there are many children who need your help.. This child will get the medical care, a loving family, and town support. The mom in the picture, father is in the picture, and the grandparents, aunts and uncles… This child needs to come home to the mother!! ASAP!!!

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  • Rachel myers

    It sickens me they will take this child from the parents and not give them rights on how to treat their child yet my step child has been beat and neglected by his mom munipulated and the the county social services is trying to return him to her home. Never mind the information we have suppiled to them of all the horrible things she has done to him. This baby needs to be with his mom they need to do whats right for him from what they know!

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  • lmr

    What is wrong with mower county? This is absolutely disgusting! Give him back to his family and help the kids who NEED it! They should fire the damn judge that signed the court order I am guessing they needed to take him in the first place. This is a ridiculous waste of valuable resources that literally hundreds of kids in mower county are suffering without! It makes me sick!

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  • http://resistanceisfruitful.com Jonathan Barnett

    Another AIDS baby, in Mississippi, has been all over the news the last few days. She is being proclaimed “cured”, but only because her mother fled the hospital and doctors and stopped giving her the AZT and other ARV drugs.

    It is bewildering that doctors are insisting that there is no acceptable alternative treatment, when the evidence that there is sits right across the exam room from them: Lindsey Nagel herself!

    There are risks in every choice, including this one, and despite their protests to the contrary, there is indeed medical controversy over the use of toxic drugs in newborns of HIV-positive mothers. The decision and the responsibility belongs to the mother, but that right has now been violated.

    My heart goes out to the baby and his parents: it seems that they are damned if they do, and damned if they don’t. If baby Rico fails to survive the horrific trauma he has been subjected to by “doctors”, the parents will be blamed, regardless of what they do.

    My love and thoughts to the Nagel and Martinez family.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=729102099 Marlene Ivette

    “No legitimate medical controversy?!!!!??” DO these “doctors” live under a rock?!! There have been HUGE questions and controversies SINCE the beginning! They arej just HIDDEN and suppressed NO in fact, they haven’t lived under a rock but they live BURIED In BIG PHARMA DOLLARS!!! Those so called “HIV” tests do NOT test for a virus! That poor innocent soul is being TORTURED and the reality is they want to make an example of her since she has SURVIVED the FAULTY testing and diagnosis of a BOGUS virus! She would have died had she remained on AZT but was saved from the grip of the medical establishment and it is logical for her to want the same for her child! People, it’s time to WAKE UP! EVERYONE needs to research this faulty paradigm…STOP testing so this genocidal NIGHTMARE can end! The tests are NOT mandatory YET…so STOP the madness!!

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  • ricci1003

    Corporate ”HIV/AIDS” Ignorance – Dr. Nakawuka National Director – Uganda Cares NGO, AIDS ”Healthcare” Foundation
    /watch?v=L3DC4jUa76w

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  • ricci1003

    I met a dozen or so people on my travels through Uganda and Rwanda who were given death sentences and then thought to get second and third opinions. This girl went as far as getting a 5th opinion:

    Flavia –
    Recounting Friend’s Conflicting “HIV Test” Results
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjkofHTGXhM

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Greg-Baysans/1318751478 Greg Baysans

    Their own liability prevents doctors from ever seeing the obvious on this: the drugs are the killers, related to the the deaths of most of those taking them, not symptoms of some dread disease.

    Also, the medical “profession” is administered as part of the national military, where dissent is absolutely forbidden and where orders (in this case, definition and treatment) come from the top down. And the top has it wrong, having only the customer base in mind, not healing, not health, but business.

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  • Jess

    This is another case of medical fascism. Poor baby Rico a victim of circumstance, his mother told her story on the film house of numbers. All the babies that took arv drugs died, Rico’s mama is alive because her parents stopped the “treatment”.

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  • CouldveDoneBetter

    There are methods and drugs available that mom could have taken to virtually PREVENT the transmission of HIV to baby, but the article doesn’t mention this so one would assume it didn’t happen. In other words mom thought “I’m living fine with the virus…so my baby will too…and God forbid she ASK this at at least one of her OB appts…they also left to see a doc in Seattle…but hadn’t done enough research to find out if they were a pediatrician?? Hello, try to think before you act…

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    • SteveNagel

      1. There are durgs (AZT) that could have brought the odds down to 2% and a cesarean section would have cut that to 1%…this is a legal issue that will be presented to the docs as it was their responsibility to cover this point…we are not docs!
      2. We were really looking for a professional person to do the blood work not a pediatrician. This doctor decined at the last min. on doing anything with Ricos blood. Docs at Mayo have only performed a PCR test that was developed by Karry Mullis who we happen to know. Karry Mullis says that the PCR test should never be use to diagnose HIV.
      People interested in this should watch House of Numbers you can find it on line.

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      • http://www.facebook.com/edward.lieb Edward Lieb

        Somewhere I have Dr. Mullis on tape calling the viral load “a viral load of crap!”

        Steve, have you appealed to everyone to phone the White House and the Minnesota governor to object to this gross violation of human rights?

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      • rbesox

        Another great place to find online is Save Baby Rico- The Gary Null Show

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    • rbesox

      I have to wonder if you know the details of the situation? Before casting judgement, know the story! The lack of knowledge and the total trust in media is a huge down fall of the members our our country!

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    • CouldveDoneBetter

      As I said before, “the article didn’t mention, so one would only assume.” I didn’t mean that the assumption was correct. Some words of advice, if you want the media to hear your plea…have the media give the full story…there’s a reason they get a bad rep, and it’s because they only tell half of the story. Shame on them…but now that you got the story out, it’s not the full story, and that is not fair to us, the people…shame on you.

      Perhaps these legal matters should have been addressed before Rico was born…or perhaps they were, and the media failed to mention that.

      Also, the PCR test…if it shouldn’t be used to diagnose HIV, are you arguing that Rico may not even have the virus?

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    • CouldveDoneBetter

      And if the truth was that this Seattle doc declined at the last minute…why did the paper report that? Why didn’t they just say that he declined at the last minute? To say that they didn’t know he wasn’t a pediatrician is FAR from your story…it’s not a twist…it’s a completely different comment.

      And to your comment about the legal matter that should be taken up with the doctors concerning the transmission of the virus…are you saying that Lindsey’s doctors failed to tell her there were methods to prevent the transmission?

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  • Bob Tuskin

    I am so outraged by this story. The count is in for many law suits and tons of bad publicity! I am a syndicated talk radio host and publish on one of the largest news sites in the country. I will be sharing the story with hundreds of thousands of people who I am sure will be equally as outraged. This is a loving family not putting Rico in danger and you come in and put him in the greatest of danger. Shame on you! You may mean well.but this is just a huge injustice.

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  • Cara

    Jonathan: Neither Rico or the baby in Mississippi have AIDS. They have HIV.

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    • http://resistanceisfruitful.com Jonathan Barnett

      I understand, and agree, Cara. I choose to not put “AIDS” in quotes when posting on public sites like this, as many readers do not know the difference, so they are just perceived as a distraction. The media headlines are screaming “AIDS cure”, so I also chose to use the vernacular in this context. I’m glad you took the opportunity to help make the distinction.

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      • http://www.facebook.com/teddie.brewster Tomás Brewster

        It would be invigorating if nobody used the U.S. Center for Disease Control’s deceptive acronym ever again.. I googled “Mississippi baby AIDS Cure” and you are right the mindset in these articles is perhaps meant to confuse people on purpose.. or these journalists just lack common sense.

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  • wintzingerode

    Lindsey Nagel is the only survivor of a dozen kids her age “treated” with AZT those days in her region. Why ?
    Because Cheryl and Steve Nagel, her very wise and cautious parents took a very severe decision 20 years ago: They took her off the “medication”. Sadly enough, none of the remaining other babys survived. Does´nt this fact give the authorities of Mower County a “second thought” ?

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Elizabeth-Ely/1448711887 Elizabeth Ely

    Thanks to Matt Peterson for covering this story, which obviously the goons involved in this crime were betting would simply go away. It seems doctors are only allowed to claim “AIDS cure” when protecting themselves from malpractice, as the Mississippi baby’s case clearly was — that’s why the mother ran away with her baby; it made no sense. And they can announce it just in time to also claim that only certain very lucky people get this cure and the rest are still under court orders to abide by the rules, which researchers receiving sums of money alone make. STOP this madness. Check my site at http://www.askdeblasiowhy.com to see why this problem isn’t isolated to one or two babies. Children are being used as research guinea pigs, and the fraudulent research then obtained is used as further justification to poison more kids. It’s awful. How can anyone sleep at night?

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  • SteveNagel

    See Mower Countys finest and your tax dollars at work
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VgP03b7GBYA

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    • CouldveDoneBetter

      I don’t think it’s fair to support this argument with medical evidence that is almost 20 years old. There have been many advances since 1994, as well as much more studies and knowledge obtained on these drugs.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/teddie.brewster Tomás Brewster

    “Human services took Rico” well that’s an understatement Matt, They abducted him just like they do hundreds if not thousands of innocent children across the United States.

    There are movements rising up, people cannot fathom this type of holocaustal treatment, it’s crimes against humanity! period. I and so many others can seriously relate to Rico’s mother Lindsey in so many ways, as we have taken this death pill as adults, however, she was just 2 years old! when she was forced AZT, a toxic life threatening chemo therapy drug designed in 1964 as a treatment for cancer.

    Disgusted? Horrified? Outraged? Angry? is not even close to describing how people feel about this, a Newborn baby, Who is not allowed to decline or simply say no and barely three months old poked, needled and prodded almost to death and now a hole deliberately punctured through his stomach to forced the deadly AZT that The State of California has
    LISTED EFFECTIVE DECEMBER 18, 2009 AS KNOWN TO THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA TO CAUSE CANCER OR REPRODUCTIVE TOXICITY

    http://www.oehha.org/prop65/prop65_list/121809list.html

    Mower county and the CPS should should be absolutley ashamed! they are a menace to society and human life!

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    • http://www.facebook.com/edward.lieb Edward Lieb

      Tomas, I believe Lindsey was put on AZT as an infant and taken off by her parents (under the guidance of Dr. Peter Duesberg) when she was two. AZT was not only an experimental cancer drug, but a failed one, deemed too toxic to test on humans. I guess gays and minority babies are considered less than human.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/ashley.ingebrigtson Ashley Ingebrigtson

    Prayers for this family. This baby needs to be with his mama. Its a scary thing that your child can be ripped away from you like this.

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  • rbesox

    I am a friend of the Nagel family and my heart and prayers go out to this family. This is an unthinkable situation for any new mother or family to have to go through. My friendship with the family started about 2 years ago when the family moved back to the area so my background information on the trials and hurdles the family has been through are minimal so I won’t comment on that. I will say though that I was very educated on HIV, the testing of it, and treatments of it in a radio interview hosted by Gary Null. Before forming an opionion on the situation I urge you to educate yourself. This battle is over the right of a parent to make decisions in the interest of their child.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/edward.lieb Edward Lieb

    There is absolutely no valid science to support putting infants on deadly anti-retroviral drugs. Rico’s mother is living proof of this. Perhaps that is why the system is trying to punish her by kidnapping and killing her baby. A grave error has been committed: an error in medical science compounded by an error in governmental response. The killing and torture of innocent children must stop.

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  • jenmurph

    Mower County should be charged with child abuse. Since this baby has been taken from its mother’s breast it has been stabbed (g-tube) in the stomach, stabbed numerous times for IV access, drugged with narcotics, and now has an infection. Lets not forget taken from the loving hands of his family. So much for protection!!!!! People need to rise up and stand against this. They take children away from their parents for doing these same things. This baby has been abused by Mower County.

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  • Pamela Quinn

    I can only imagine how confusing all of this sounds to anyone whose only knowledge of HIV has come from the media. As Lindsey’s aunt, I would like to dispel any suggestion that Lindsey, John, or any other family members were in any way non-compliant with the prescribed medical treatment. Lindsey was understandably reluctant to expose her baby to the ARV regimen that is at least similar to the one that had harmed her as a young child, but she consented within minutes after she became aware that her baby would be taken from her. Mothers are famously like that – they are known to do whatever it takes to keep their young. All of that happened on Rico’s first day of life. And from that moment, there was not even a speck of deviation from the protocol. That is what makes the seizure of Rico Nagel so particularly egregious. There was no cause. Nothing. Nada. If rescheduling a medical appointment and cancelling a nutrition class are considered cause for removing a breastfed baby from his mother, then our society has lost its moral footings and entered a very dark place indeed. The good folks of Mower County are not ready for that.

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    • Laurel

      Pamela or others connected to the family and the actual facts, are there specific ways that HIV organizations or advocates outside the state could help?

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      • Pamela Quinn

        Laurel, I think sending emails to the names listed on the website SaveRico.com is the most effective thing you can do. I would emphasize how over-reaching the county has been.

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      • Pamela Quinn

        Also go to the SaveRico group on Facebook.

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  • Just a Comment…

    I’m a CPS worker in a DIFFERENT agency. I cannot speak for Mower County or defend their work. I can share that when/if medical professionals make a report and document their concerns with evidence, the county may not have another choice but to react. They must present that information to the Court, who then makes the decision. CPS does not have the authority to simply “take” children; only the court and police can make a decision to hold a child into custody. CPS also cannot provide any documentation to the media or others due to confidentiality laws; so right now, the only info people are hearing is based from a marginally written article and emotional pleas by the family. With that said, I very much empathize with the mother and grandparents and extended family. I cannot say that, as a CPS worker, I would support continued custody of the child with the county. BUT I also do not have all the details and information that is gathered/obtained in the files, so cannot offer a fully informed comment. And neither can any of you. No doubt this is highly emotional and a little baby is hurting right now. I feel for the baby and his parents. I hope that some resolution can happen sooner rather than later.

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  • Tiffany

    Everyone worded it so well. It just doesn’t make sense that county and court officials allow or are so quick to send children who are in abusive homes with drug addicted parents back to their homes but can’t see the obvious in this case. Loving, caring parents with a huge supportive family that would never endanger their child. I pray for all the Nagel and Martinez family that they get their adorable baby Rico back soon.

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  • Candace

    I am absolutely shocked at the paranoia relating to this story. HIV transmission from mother to child can be prevented with prenatal treatment. I can’t imagine how a mother would be willing to take such chances with her child’s health. Paranoia and scientific illiteracy can be a deadly problem.

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