Duggar Family: Lawsuit Filed Today In Arkansas

The Duggar family records are the subject of a lawsuit filed today in Washington County, Arkansas, demanding the release of police records. The suit is against the Tontitown Police Department for its failure to release records under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), relating to a 911 call originating from the Duggar family home on May 27.

According to today’s report in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the police refused to honor a FOI request and the suit asks for a court order to obtain the records. The suit was filed by Victra Fewell, the former Arkansas Deputy Attorney General and the present Security Specialist for the Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock.

Fans of the Duggar family reality TV show, the now canceled 19 Kids and Counting, will remember the hospital as the place where the premature Josie Duggar was born to Michelle Duggar on December 10, 2009. She is Michelle and husband Jim Bob’s nineteenth child. The baby was born at 25 weeks gestation and weighed just one pound and six ounces. The birth was televised on the TLC series episode “Special Duggar Delivery.”

The tape recording of one 911 call received by the police was obtained by In Touch Weekly magazine under the FOIA and was published on June 11. That call was placed by an agent of the Department of Human Services and requested police assistance because the Duggar family refused to allow access to one of the children.

“We have an investigation and I guess they’re not being cooperative. We have to see the child to make sure the child is all right. So we just need police assistance.”

Now, the Fewell case is asking for all police records relating to that call to be released. Although the child in question has not been identified, Josie Duggar was hospitalized in Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock for four months after her birth. The Duggar family remained in Little Rock when Josie was released from the hospital on April 10, 2010. Two days later, when Michelle was alone with her baby, the infant developed difficulty breathing and her heart rate plummeted. Josie was again admitted to the hospital’s Neonatal Intensive-Care Unit (NICU), where she remained for two more months.

Josie Brooklyn Duggar Josie Brooklyn Duggar at birth and in 2013 [Photo credit: TLC screen captures]Josie has returned to the facility to be treated several times over the years. On a 19 Kids and Counting episode which aired on April 28 this year, TLC cameras filmed Josie having a seizure in the Duggar family home while her parents Jim Bob and Michelle were on a promotional tour in Chicago. Many viewers felt this was exploitation of the child, but the Duggar’s allowed the clip to be shown on the reality TV show. That was just a month before the 911 call to police from DHS.

Circuit Judge Stacey Zimmerman ruled on May 21 that all records pertaining to the Duggar family scandal involving incestual child molestation and the police investigation in 2006–2007 be destroyed. On August 20, Zimmerman stated that the 911 call in May and the police reports from that call were “outside the scope of any orders she issued related to a 2007 Families in Need of Services case involving the Duggar family.” The present lawsuit involving the Duggar family records will be heard by Judge Beth Storey Bryan.

With news this week that eldest son, Josh Duggar, admitted to unprotected sex with a prostitute and to an addiction to pornography, this has been an eventful week for the Duggar family.

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[Intro photo credit: Washington County Courthouse in Fayetteville, Arkansas, by Brandon Rush via CC BY-SA 3.0]