Custody battle for kids causes children to stay at home for year and half

Custody battle for kids causes children to stay at home for year and half

POSEY CO., IN (WFIE) - Bridget Black and her husband Robert Black have worked to keep her children away from her ex-husband, Toby Payne, for several years.

“I’m keeping three children safe from somebody that I think would potentially harm them," Bridget said. "So I’m going to do whatever I can to protect them.”

Bridget says her son told her Toby abused him. But no paperwork or charges were ever filed and Toby denies the allegations.

“We were shocked because it was out of the blue," Payne said.

So in order to keep her children away from Toby after he was granted full custody in August of 2017, she has kept the kids home.

“We’re not leaving," Bridget said. "We’re not going anywhere right now.”

But Toby worries for his children that he hasn't seen for 6 years.

“I don’t know if they’re getting the proper education," Toby said. "I don’t know if they’re getting vaccinated. I don’t know what’s going on inside the home.”

Both Bridget and Robert have been served warrants for contempt of court. But since it’s a civil case, law enforcement can’t do much to arrest them.

“Without it being a criminal warrant, it limits our ability to enter the home," Posey County Sheriff Tom Latham said.

Two weeks ago, sheriff's deputies arrested Robert in the front yard

“We don’t want to put the children in harms way," Latham said, "and create an environment that could potentially cause harm to them.”

And now the home is set to be foreclosed later this month, which could mean an end to all of this.

“Not only can we, but we will go into the home," Latham said. "I have an obligation as the sheriff.”

And Toby is hoping then he will finally bring his children into his home.

“I’ve never given up," Toby said. "I never will. I love you. And I’ll fight with every penny I have to make sure we’re back together.”

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