November 1, 2014

Teens stabbed in Coleman were removed from Arenac County parents

Midland Daily News
15-year-old Steven J. Pribbernow (second from left) sits in the Midland County Courthouse during his arraignment on Aug. 4. He is being tried as an adult.
By Tim Barnum|News Editor
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ARENAC COUNTY - Three teenagers stabbed Tuesday morning in Coleman, including one who died from the attack, were taken out the custody of their biological parents, who lived in Turner at the time, in May 2004, per an order from the Family Division of Circuit Court in Arenac County, with recommendations by the Arenac County Family Independence Agency (FIA).

An official statement faxed to the Independent from the Midland County Sheriff's Office on Aug. 5 says, “15-year-old Steven Pribbernow was taken into custody for fatally stabbing his brother Justin Pribbernow aged 17. In addition, Steven Pribbernow has been charged with three counts of assault with intent to murder after he stabbed three additional family members. Injured in the assault was the suspect's stepfather Joshua Saylor aged 32, his brother Kevin Pribbernow aged 15, and his brother Kody Pribbernow aged 13. … All three are recovering from their injuries at this time, however their exact condition is unknown.”

Faith Baden, who currently lives with her husband Kevin in Iosco County, says her three biological sons living under the same roof - Justin (McBride), Kevin (Baden) and Kody (Baden) - were removed from Kevin's and her custody by the FIA because the agency and court felt the Badens had failed to protect their children from abuse, according to a copy of the court decision provided by Faith, that was issued May 19, 2004. It was this court decision that green lighted the removal of Faith and Kevin's children.

Faith says she was rarely able to speak to her biological children that she claims had bounced around to several foster homes before landing in the Coleman one together, but recalled her last conversation with Justin, who she says had graduated from high school in May.

“He wanted to let me know he was going in the Marines,” she said, adding he was on a recruitment trip at the time of the call, staying in a hotel. “The hardest part is when I said goodbye to him, I didn't know I was saying goodbye for good.

“I already lost my kids,” she said. “I'm paying the price twice, maybe three times [at the time of the interview, Kody and Kevin were still hospitalized].”

In Coleman, the three teenagers were living with Joshua and Jessica Saylor, according to Midland County Prosecutor Michael Carpenter.

How the children taken from their parents' custody wound up in the Saylor household, however, is a mystery still under investigation.

A voicemail from Mark Stevens, director of Midland County Department of Human Services revealed that the Saylors' home wasn't a foster care home.

"This was not a foster home and it had nothing to do with the state," Stevens said.

Carpenter says Jessica Saylor was formerly Jessica Pribbernow, until a divorce in 2006, and that the kids seem to have been in her custody prior to the divorce.

He added that there are many things to consider, such as if these parents were relatives fostering to help the biological parents and if the Saylors were taking in kids who didn't live in Midland County.

Midland County's Prosecuting Attorney did acknowledge, however, that Justin, Kevin and Kody were listed in the divorce decree filed in 2006.

“There's a lot of people and a lot of evidence that we have to focus on,” Carpenter said. “We're trying to find out what the relationship is between all the children and parents.”

When it comes to Faith's relationship with her children that were removed from her custody, signs of a rocky relationship were alleged in the court decision signed by Judge Jack Scully.

Stated in the Arenac County court documents were allegations of neglect and abuse by Faith and Kevin, such as an allegation that they knew their children were being sexually abused, but not doing anything to stop it. The Arenac County Circuit Court Family Division decision also says there were instances of physical abuse against the children while they were in the custody of Faith and Kevin.

An appeal of Scully's decision was filed, but the Michigan Court of Appeals sided with FIA.

Faith says funeral visitation is planned for Justin next Monday.

Steven Pribbernow was arraigned Tuesday.

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