TAMPA — Kentucky authorities took into custody an endangered 3-year-old boy on Monday, hours after Hillsborough deputies said his parents refused to provide him with the medical treatment he needs and instead fled Florida with the child.
Joshua “Noah” McAdams was found in Georgetown, Ky., and underwent medical treatment in that state, according to the Hilsborough County Sheriff's Office. The parents are also in custody and will face charges of child neglect.
Georgetown is about 20 minutes north of Lexington. But no information about how the Tampa family was located or captured in Kentucky was released by Florida authorities.
During the search, father Joshua McAdams, 28, was described as armed and dangerous by the Sheriff’s Office. He may have had several rifles with him, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. He was arrested for misdemeanor domestic battery in Hernando County in 2016, but the charge was later dropped.
The exact medical diagnosis and condition for Noah, which is the name the child goes by, was not released by deputies due to health privacy laws. They also did not say why the family refused to seek medical treatment.
But posts on a Facebook page in his mother’s name tell the story of her son’s cancer — and credit his recovery to vitamins, diet and other alternative treatment options.
Child protective investigators obtained a court order to take the boy into custody, the Sheriff’s Office said. But when they went to serve the order, the family had disappeared.
On April 22, according to deputies, mother Taylor Bland-Ball, 22, and the father failed to bring their son in for a “medically necessary” procedure. They also refused to come to a follow-up medical appointment to obtain the “lifesaving medical care” the child needs, according to the Sheriff's Office.
Noah may also have a peripherally inserted central catheter, or PICC line, in his body.
In early April, posts on the Facebook page noted Bland-Ball’s “baby boy” was at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital and had been diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Then on April 16, six days before the couple missed their medical appointment, a celebratory post on the Facebook page appears to show Bland-Ball and her son smiling, noting that they “busted on out of that hospital — with no cancer cells left to spare.”
“We did two rounds of chemotherapy, specifically vincristine because they can get a medical court order to force you to do it,” the post reads, before crediting other remedies, from rosemary to grapefruit peel.
Posts on the Facebook page, which was active as of late Monday afternoon, became home to small arguments between people angry at the parents’ actions and others defending them.
The page links to the websites of two businesses: Trinity Caim Birth Services and Herbal Education & Training. Both list “Taylor Bland” as employees. A number for Trinity Caim Birth Services is also listed on separate records for Joshua McAdams. A call from the Tampa Bay Times to the number went unanswered Monday afternoon.
The most recent address for the family was on the 12200 block of Bruce B. Downs Boulevard in Tampa, near University Mall. The Sheriff’s Office said the parents are also known to sleep in state parks overnight.
In August 2016, McAdams was arrested on a charge of misdemeanor domestic battery by Brooksville police. The victim in the case was Bland-Ball, the report said, and it took place while they lived in Brooksville and had been dating for three years. The incident started with McAdams arguing with Bland-Ball, who was holding their son, then just a year old, according to the arrest report.
The father threw a plastic toy bucket at the mother but accidentally hit the baby, cutting his face. McAdams then shoved his girlfriend into a wall “multiple times,” causing a head contusion, the report said. He spent three days in jail, records show, and the case was dropped in March 2017. The mother also filed for a protective injunction against the father, according to Hernando court records, but it was later dismissed.
Times senior news researcher Caryn Baird and staff writers Jack Evans and Tony Marrero contributed to this report. Contact Langston Taylor at email@example.com or 727-893-8659.