Mother in visitation fight with child's grandparents after husband's murder
An Orlando mother is in a fight over her daughter that could land her in jail.
The battle for visitation has been going on for years. It started when Jennifer Watkins' husband, Steve Watkins, was murdered by her grandmother, Shirley Skinner, in 2008.
Ever since his death, her deceased husband's parents have fought to see their granddaughter in Illinois, but Jennifer Watkins refuses.
Watkins has already spent close to six months in Florida jails, fighting a judge's order that her 5-year-old daughter be sent to Illinois to visit her grandparents.
"She has seen them a handful of times because it was court appointed and it affected her very very bad," said Watkins.
The death and legal proceedings have been tough for everyone involved, Watkins said.
"They have been through a lot and I cannot imagine losing a child, but people forget I lost a husband," said Watkins.
Watkins told Local 6 her daughter has visited her grandparents in the past. According to Watkins, her daughter always returned home in a very quiet and scared mood, as though she had become a completely different child.
"She's not safe, she doesn't know them. It could be like you having a child and sending that child with them," said Watkins.
A Florida court released Watkins from jail after finding the Illinois charge wasn't serious enough to extradite. Now she's in danger of being arrested a third time for a different and more serious charge, which may force jennifer back to Illinois.
"No one can do anything because it's not here in Florida, it's in Illinois, and Illinois can't do anything. It's like I've fallen through the cracks."
Watkins believes the grandparents are more concerned with revenge than their granddaughter.
"Come visit. You can come visit however often, however much. I have always told them that, I have never denied them visitation rights," said Watkins.