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Mom may lose custody of fourth child

Holding her sleeping infant son, Crystal Jones was told Wednesday that she'll learn next month whether she'll have to give up the baby, as she did three earlier children.

But a child-advocacy group that accuses the woman of "breeding children to abuse them" and wants her sterilized was told by Circuit Judge William A. Wilkes that it may not have a say in the case, to be heard Nov. 13.

The state has taken three other children from the 36-year-old Middleburg woman after complaints of abuse and neglect. A fourth child drowned in 1978.

Wilkes will decide if month-old Steven Shawn Jones should be taken from his mother and whether Mrs. Jones' estranged husband, Norman, should be given custody.

Her court-appointed attorney, Terrance Jones, said he expects a psychological exam to show she is a fit mother.

Mrs. Jones has said she would fight to keep her baby and regain custody of her other children.

Dean Tong, president of the Jacksonville chapter of Valuing Our Children and Laws, was denied permission to file a friend-of-the-court brief because the group didn't have an attorney. Tong's brief asked that Mrs. Jones undergo psychiatric treatment and a court-ordered sterilization.

"Temporary, reversible birth control is not the answer here. We want permanent birth control," Tong said.