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Archive for Friday, January 13, 2006

Grandma granted visitation of child cut from womb

January 13, 2006

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— A woman who found her eight-months pregnant daughter lying in a pool of blood, her womb slashed open and the baby gone, has been given the right to spend more time with the child.

But Becky Harper will not be able to tell the toddler, Victoria Jo, about the day she was born.

Lisa Montgomery, 37, of Melvern, Kan., faces trial in April on a federal charge of kidnapping resulting in death.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Montgomery, who is accused of strangling 23-year-old Bobbie Jo Stinnett with a rope on Dec. 16, 2004, at her Skidmore home and using a kitchen knife to perform a crude Caesarean section.

Victoria Jo was recovered a day later after authorities tracked down Montgomery through e-mails she had sent Stinnett about buying a dog.

Victoria Jo now lives with her father, Zeb Stinnett, in Maitland, six miles south of Skidmore.

Harper said Stinnett reduced the amount of time she could spend with the child because of a falling-out between the two adults. In late July, Harper filed a petition in Holt County Circuit Court demanding more time with the girl.

Stinnett responded to the petition in August, stating that he only temporarily cut Harper's time because her behavior had become "bizarre," and that she had broken into his house to get some items. Harper has said she did not break in, but had a key and was entitled to her daughter's things.

Under the four-page visitation plan, Harper will be able to visit Victoria Jo one full weekend each month, on various holidays and on extra days in the summer. The court also said Victoria Jo will learn what happened to her mother and the person telling her should be her father.

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