The Case of Shirley Riggs

Shirley Riggs

Shirley Riggs

Shirley Riggs is accused of unlawfully taking her children and leaving the state triggering an Amber Alert, which is detailed in KCTV5’s “Special Report: Riggs Explains Why She Took Her Kids.

The report says in part, “On Sept. 20, during an unsupervised visit with her children at her mother’s house, Riggs piled her four children into a van and took off in the middle of the night. They drove to Washington state and spent two weeks in hiding.”

According to the report, Riggs alleges she originally left her husband in 2004 due to abusive behavior and does believe her husband acted inappropriately in the presence of the children. It appears she also believes there was inappropriate behavior between husband and child(ren). Whether this is true or not — the allegations have neither been confirmed nor have they been dismissed as unsubstantiated — why is the father accused and the mother in jail?

KCTV5 reports, “On April 24, 2007, Jackson County Judge Stephen Nixon ordered Shirley Riggs to appear in court in person to discuss her husband’s divorce filing.

“But I was in Oregon. I had no way to get to Missouri,” Riggs said.

Not only didn’t Riggs show up, but her attorney quit that same day, so she had no representation. At that meeting, Nixon ordered the children be placed in the temporary custody of their paternal grandparents.”

It appears that Nixon also continued to allow the husband unsupervised visitation.

What is wrong with this picture?

It is easy for a court to order a person to appear, but it isn’t always reasonable to expect the person to be able to do so, especially when that person is in an entirely different state. Is that what happened here?

Did the judge put Riggs in a no-win situation? Did he tell her, or make it clear, that the hearing was in regard to custody? Did he take into consideration that her attorney quit and she had no representation, before he turned custody of her children over to others and permitted unsupervised visits with someone accused of acting inappropriately with, and around, the children?

KCTV5 further reports, “Despite the sexual misconduct allegations against Raymond Riggs, Nixon continued to allow him unsupervised overnight visits with his kids, which is why Shirley said she took them this summer.

“‘It seemed like all the abuse was being covered up and ignored,’ Riggs said.”

Was it? Is it? Is this still another case of the system not working? Another case where there are little or no “fail-safes” in place to prevent injustice in the name of justice?

“I didn’t really have an exact plan. I just thought someone would listen to me outside the state of Missouri,” Riggs said to KCTV5.

Any action being taken by law enforcement authorities with regards to the allegations against Raymond are unclear.  The Independence Police Department did release this statement to KCTV5. 

Perhaps Riggs wasn’t right to take the law into her own hands, but she does deserve to be listened to and her concerns earnestly investigated and addressed. The system must perform to the highest degree of standards and be held to even higher standards of accountability. This is, after all, a family at risk of injustice.

This is the case of Shirley Riggs, but more importantly — this is the case of the children she took flight with. May justice be theirs.

Carrie Hutchens is a former law enforcement officer and a freelance writer who is active in fighting against the death culture movement and the injustices within the judicial and law enforcement systems.  

2 Responses to “The Case of Shirley Riggs”

  1. Another victim of DFS. I know all to well what Shirley is experiencing. As much as I would like to take a vacation with my child…I will not break the law. My childs offender plead out on his charges. Since I lived in IL and my x is Missouri…I hotlined the abuse & contacted the PD in Missouri. My x filed an OP against me and told the judge that I had a drug problem and was mentally unstable. I was ordered to return her to my x. I passed the hair follicle test & the physc evaluation. A weel later the perp was picked up on a warrant. Yet state laws would not let me bring my child to IL. Almost three years later I am still fighting for custody & recently moved to Stl., MO. The system does not help families. Furthermore the system seperates families. I know when they didn't need my testimony anymore they sure did cut me loose. When they went after my x for neglect they were my best friends. Now that I am assuring that the perp gets therapy & so does my daughter …the same ppl that supported me now support my former step son. Irony my x filed for custody of the two boys that molested my child! My child still resides with him of all people. Anyone know of a ten year old with four victims? From what the DJO told me my former step son is the worst offender she has ever seen. Did I mention that my x husband grew up in a home where the step father spent 7 years in jail for molesting his sister? This system is amazing! Seriously I wish I never contacted the police or DFS. Before I did my child was living with me in my home. All because of laws that don't protect children! Anyone who knows of an attorney who will fight and not steal my money…contact me. [email protected]

  2. Another victim of DFS. I know all to well what Shirley is experiencing. As much as I would like to take a vacation with my child…I will not break the law. My childs offender plead out on his charges. Since I lived in IL and my x is Missouri…I hotlined the abuse & contacted the PD in Missouri. My x filed an OP against me and told the judge that I had a drug problem and was mentally unstable. I was ordered to return her to my x. I passed the hair follicle test & the physc evaluation. A weel later the perp was picked up on a warrant. Yet state laws would not let me bring my child to IL. Almost three years later I am still fighting for custody & recently moved to Stl., MO. The system does not help families. Furthermore the system seperates families. I know when they didn't need my testimony anymore they sure did cut me loose. When they went after my x for neglect they were my best friends. Now that I am assuring that the perp gets therapy & so does my daughter …the same ppl that supported me now support my former step son. Irony my x filed for custody of the two boys that molested my child! My child still resides with him of all people. Anyone know of a ten year old with four victims? From what the DJO told me my former step son is the worst offender she has ever seen. Did I mention that my x husband grew up in a home where the step father spent 7 years in jail for molesting his sister? This system is amazing! Seriously I wish I never contacted the police or DFS. Before I did my child was living with me in my home. All because of laws that don't protect children! Anyone who knows of an attorney who will fight and not steal my money…contact me. [email protected]