Teen mom speaks out after infant son's nose bitten off

A teenage mother is sharing her side of the story for the first time since police say her boyfriend bit off their baby's nose.
March 16, 2014 12:00:00 AM PDT
A mother is sharing her side of the story for the first time since police say her boyfriend bit off their baby's nose. The 1-month-old baby is still in a Bay Area hospital. Doctors say along with his severed nose, the infant is also suffering from other major injuries.

In just days, Angelika Riggins' world shattered.

"Waking up and seeing that my baby's right next to me in the hospital, it hurts. It hurts my feelings a lot like my heart is broken," said Riggins.

Riggins says Ta'jon's father, 18-year-old Joshua Cooper, confessed to her about biting their son's nose off out of frustration when he couldn't get the baby to stop crying. But she doesn't buy that excuse.

"I didn't see no anger that morning," said Riggins. "I didn't see no stress that morning. He was up playing with the baby."

It was Thursday morning, inside their Fairfield apartment where they lived with Cooper's family. Riggins, just 16 years old, was getting ready for school. She went to the bathroom, leaving the two of them alone. She says she never heard Ta'jon cry.

"And two minutes later I come into a disgusting scene," said Riggins.

A third of Ta'jon's nose was severed. Doctors at Oakland Children's Hospital reattached it Thursday night, but they're still waiting to see if the surgery was successful. And they're trying to figure out how he got a skull fracture and a brain hemorrhage. Riggins can only think of one possible reason.

"That my son has been being hit the whole time or something happened behind my back before," said Riggins.

But there's still a disconnect. She says she's never seen Cooper get violent. She doesn't know why he snapped.

"I had no signs or I would have left of course," said Riggins. "I'm not going to put an infant through that."

But there were signs. A week and a half ago, Ta'jon had swelling and bruising to his face, which Riggins thought was an allergic reaction. Doctors suspected child abuse and notified Child Protective Services. Now, Ta'jon is in CPS custody, and Riggins has to fight to prove that she deserves her son back.

"I'm willing to fight because I'm not in the wrong. I'm willing to fight to bring home my baby," said Riggins.

Riggins will head to family court for a CPS hearing on Tuesday. She says doctors have told her the baby's skull fracture will heal on its own, but he faces a long road to recovery from his other injuries.


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