VIRGINIA — Cass County authorities said Friday that Jennifer Watkins has declined to sign a waiver after her arrest in Massachusetts that would have allowed for her extradition back to Illinois, where she is wanted for contempt of court.
Capt. Devron Ohrn of the Cass County Sheriff’s Office said Watkins is being held without bond after her arrest Thursday on the Illinois warrant in Norwood, Massachusetts, where she apparently now lives.
An extradition hearing has been set for Thursday in Massachusetts.
Watkins, formerly of Cass County, has for years defied a court order that grants her late husband Steven Watkins’ parents visitation rights with their now-9-year-old granddaughter, Sidney.
On Thursday, Watkins was arrested by the warrant unit of the Norwood Police Department. The Massachusetts department’s Facebook page says the warrant unit was acting on information that an individual with warrants out of Illinois was staying in town.
“She was taken into custody shortly after 7 a.m. (Thursday) without incident and is awaiting extradition to Illinois,” the Facebook post says.
Norwood is just outside Boston.
The 9-year-old Sidney is in the custody of child protective authorities in Massachusetts.
Andrea Grossman, spokeswoman for the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families, told the Illinois Times newspaper that her agency has taken “emergency custody” of the child.
“We are investigating in collaboration with law enforcement,” Grossman wrote in an email.
Penny and Dale Watkins of Chandlerville are the grandparents who want to see their granddaughter. They were awarded visitation rights by a Cass County court in the fall of 2010, but Jennifer Watkins took Sydney and moved to Florida.
She was arrested in Florida in 2011 for violating the court order and spent five months in the Orange County Jail in Orlando while she fought extradition to Illinois. She was released when a Florida judge ruled she didn’t have to return to Illinois to face civil contempt of court and criminal misdemeanor charges.
Dale and Penny Watkins’ son, Steven, was shot to death in November 2008 at an Ashland residence where his estranged wife, Jennifer, and other family members lived. Steven had gone to the home to pick up Sidney for a court-ordered visit.
Jennifer Watkins’ grandmother, 81-year-old Shirley Skinner, is serving a 55-year prison sentence after being convicted of killing Steven Watkins.