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North Texas parents demanding return of newborn taken by CPS over concerns about jaundice

"We've been treated like criminals. And that's far from the truth," Rodney Jackson said. "This is a nightmare I wouldn't wish on anyone."

DALLAS — Editor's note: This story has been updated to clarify both DeSoto police's and Dallas County constables' involvement in the situation.

A husband and wife in DeSoto are demanding Child Protective Services (CPS) return their newborn daughter after the days-old infant was taken from them in a dispute over the proper treatment for jaundice. 

The couple alleges CPS used the criminal history of the wrong "mom" to help justify taking the child.

Mila Jackson was born on Tuesday, March 21 at the home of Rodney and Temecia Jackson. A licensed midwife helped deliver the baby. At six pounds nine ounces, they say the child was healthy and the home birth successful. 

Three days later, the Jacksons said they took the child to a pediatrician for a standard checkup and received a clean bill of health from the nurse practitioner. 

But later that day, Temecia Jackson said she began receiving messages from Baylor Scott & White Dr. Anand Bhatt. The doctor said Mila had jaundice with dangerously high levels of bilirubin -- which is a yellowish substance made during the body's normal process of breaking down old red blood cells. 

Mila's bilirubin level was 21.7. Dr. Bhatt wrote that "at a bilirubln over 20, a baby risks brain damage, because the bilirubin can cross the blood brain barrier." 

Dr. Bhatt suggested the parents bring Mila to the hospital for phototherapy, a standard jaundice treatment.  

According to the Mayo Clinic, infant jaundice usually occurs because a baby's liver isn't mature enough to get rid of bilirubin in the bloodstream. In some babies, an underlying disease may cause infant jaundice.

The Jacksons say they told the doctor they would, with the help of their midwife, treat Mila's jaundice themselves at home -- including the phototherapy treatment. Dr. Bhatt said he had concerns they would not have the correct lights. But the family also said they would supplement Temecia's breast milk as recommended, and provide Dr. Bhatt with the contact information for their licensed midwife, Cheryl Edinbyrd.

"Several hours later into the night, [Dr. Bhatt] texts my phone very aggressive -- take her to the hospital or he's calling CPS," Temecia Jackson said of messages she received from the doctor. 

In his letter to CPS, Dr. Bhatt stated, "I filed a case report with CPS after trying 10 attempts to appeal to the family through phone calls, text messages and leaving voicemails as they did not pick up the phone." 

"Parents are very loving and they care dearly about their baby," the doctor wrote. "Their distrust for medical care and guidance has led them to make a decision for the baby to refuse a simple treatment that can prevent brain damage."

"I authorized the support of CPS to help get this baby the care that was medically necessary and needed," the letter continued. 

CPS agreed. In its own statement, it wrote: "Due to the parents being unwilling to discuss the danger and potential consequences of this condition, it is necessary for the Department to intervene."

The CPS letter listed concerns of "possible stroke, brain damage, or other immediate dangers to child."

A CPS investigator, in court documents, details repeated attempts on March 25th to contact Rodney Jackson at the family's home "with DeSoto Police Department support." The CPS investigator also says a DeSoto ambulance and DeSoto fire truck also arrived at the home.

Dallas County Constables, armed with a court order, helped CPS take Mila from the home on March 28.

"Unlawfully, [they] entered my home to take my baby from me," Temecia Jackson said as she fought back tears at a Thursday, April 6, news conference held at the Afiya Center in Dallas. 

But the Jacksons and their legal team also point out an obvious problem with the affidavit filed with the court that allowed CPS to take Mila: The affidavit used to justify CPS taking custody of the child lists the wrong mom -- a woman with a completely different name, and with a criminal history of child neglect. 

Temecia Jackson, who has no criminal record, is not even listed as the child's mother on the affidavit. 

"Instantly, I felt like they had stolen my baby as I had had a home birth, and they were trying to say my baby belonged to this other woman," Temecia Jackson said. 

"We've been treated like criminals -- and that's far from the truth," Rodney Jackson said. "This is a nightmare I wouldn't wish on anyone."

Said Edinbyrd, the midwife who helped deliver Mila: "We are demanding that Mila be returned home today. Today. Because yesterday was too late." 

A spokesperson for CPS, unable to explain why a different woman with a criminal history is listed in the court documents, said the department could not comment on the case.

Baylor Scott & White sent WFAA a written statement. It read as follows: "In respect of patient privacy, it is inappropriate to provide comment on this matter. We do abide by reporting requirements set forth in the Texas Family Code and any other applicable laws."

Meanwhile, Mila is being cared for by a foster family. 

The Jacksons, who were allowed to visit their daughter Wednesday at a CPS office, say they have been given a court date of April 20. 

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