NEW JERSEY — A couple from New Jersey lost custody of their 9-month-old baby boy after what started as a routine traffic stop in North Carolina.
Kaila Boulware and Raymond Sykes were pulled over at around 3 a.m. back on Dec. 3 as they drove through North Carolina on their way to visit family in Florida.
But the routine traffic stop took a turn, and ended with their son Truth being taken away from them and put into foster care.
The couple has been documenting their ordeal on social media.
Over the phone, they told PIX11 they were initially pulled over because their van had a white taillight.
Then, when Montgomery County sheriffs deputies wanted to search their vehicle, they asked why, and say they were then forcibly removed.
Sykes said he was battered and bruised by an officer who at one point pointed a gun at him.
The sheriff’s department didn’t respond to PIX11’s request for comment, but told NJ.com that the car was stopped because it was “being driven in a manner, place and time that was suspicious.”
They also claimed the deputies smelled marijuana, and that “when deputies were attempting to remove Sykes from the vehicle, he assaulted a deputy.”
According to court documents obtained by NJ.com, the department of social services in North Carolina claimed the couple appeared to have mental health issues and were homeless, despite the couple having a residence in New Jersey.
The sheriff’s department for Montgomery County in North Carolina is small: the county has only 30,000 residents.
The deputies weren’t wearing body cameras, and there’s no dash cam video of the incident.
The parents got to see their baby during a visit on Monday, and the case has been handed over to the New Jersey Department of Children and Families.
Late Monday night, PIX11 learned the child was transferred from foster care and placed with his paternal grandmother.
The family has hired an attorney and is working to get custody back.
A GoFundMe page has raised about $30,000 for the couple’s legal fees.