The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Cops, courts and fires

July 8, 2014

Mother loses appeal to regain custody after serving drug charges

ANDERSON — A mother who lost an appeal for custody of her child blamed authorities and child services officials for the termination of her parental rights.

Nakisha C. Walden, 29, of Elwood, lost the appeal for custody of her 9-year-old son on Monday in a decision handed down by Indiana Appellate Court Justices Ezra Friedlander and Paul Mathias. Custody issues started in 2011, when Walden, the boy and Walden's mother were found living in an active meth lab in squalid conditions in Elwood.

While awaiting trial, Department of Child Services removed the child from Walden but allowed visitation rights while the criminal case played out. In 2012, Walden pleaded guilty to charges of possession of a controlled substance and neglect of a dependent, and her three-year sentence was suspended and she was placed on probation. While on probation, Walden admitted to abusing opiates and had her sentence executed.

When she was released in 2013, Walden asked to regain custody of her child, which was ultimately denied by Madison County Judge George Pancol.

On Tuesday, Walden said she hadn't even heard about the appeal decision and said her lawyer was to blame for the outcome.

"I did everything they told me to do," Walden said. "I'm a very good mother. It would be best if he were with me."

Despite having pleaded guilty to the initial charges and the probation violation, Walden said the accusations weren't true and the only drugs she did were prescribed. When asked about having tested positive for methamphetamine three times while awaiting trial, Walden said she turned to drugs because the removal of her son broke her.

"And it broke him, too," she said.

According to the reports of the case, officials described the home the family was living in as "filthy" and "looked abandoned." DCS workers found trash, soiled clothes, cigarette butts and cockroaches everywhere in the home. Walden's mother, a double amputee, was said to be covered in her own feces and urine. Walden's son told detectives that people in the home regularly drank and did drugs and he had roaches crawling on him at night. He said all he had to eat on the day of Walden's arrest was a honey bun and a Pop Tart.

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