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State takes infant, spurs protest
By SHAWNE K. WICKHAM
New Hampshire Sunday News Staff
Johnathon Irish embraces Stephanie Taylor Friday afternoon in front of Concord Hospital at a rally in support of the return of the couple’s newborn baby Cheyenne.
A baby girl was taken into state custody at Concord Hospital by child welfare officials on Thursday, just hours after she was born, according to her parents. And now the parents are at the center of an Internet-fueled fire storm over government intervention and parental rights.
In court paperwork, the state alleges the health and safety of the infant, named Cheyenne, was in “imminent danger” if she was left with her parents because of “a lengthy history of domestic violence” between them.
Johnathon Irish, 24, calls the allegations of domestic violence lies.
“They’re using their false claims to take my daughter away,” he said.
Irish said he and the baby’s mother, Stephanie Taylor, have been flooded with messages of support and requests for interviews since an interview he did with a self-described “independent journalist” was posted on the oathkeepers.org website. By 5 p.m. yesterday, the audio recording of that interview had gotten more than 17,000 hits on YouTube and sparked a protest outside Concord Hospital.
Irish and Taylor stood at the hospital entrance yesterday, talking with about a half-dozen supporters who were alerted to their case by media and social media reports. Irish wore a “Don’t Tread on Me” hat; both were still wearing their hospital wristbands from the baby’s birth.
“It’s not coming off until she’s home,” Taylor, who is 22, said tearfully.
Her baby girl was born shortly before midnight on Wednesday at Concord Hospital. And that’s where the infant’s parents say they were served the next afternoon with an “abuse and neglect petition” filed by the state Division of Children, Youth and Families.
Taylor said she doesn’t know why the agency states in court documents that she twice last year reported to a state social worker that Irish had hurt her and that she feared for her life because he had a gun. “The only time he would put his hands on me was to give me a hug,” she said.
In an affidavit supporting its actions, the DCYF also notes Irish’s affiliation with Oath Keepers, which it describes as “a militia,” and his purchase of “several different types of weapons including a rifle, handgun and Taser.”