HAMILTON, Ohio — A man believed to be the father of Rebekah Kinner’s newborn baby boy is seeking custody of the infant, his attorney Kyle Rapier said.
Rapier, who is also representing Kinner in her criminal case, said he is helping the young man -- who he only referred to as “Jason” -- file petitions for custody of Wyatt Matthew Kinner. Wyatt was born Feb. 1 at Atrium Medical Center in Middletown, spending about 10 hours with his mother before she was sent back to the Butler County Jail.
"Her biggest priority right now, that she was speaking of today, is to reunite with Wyatt," Rapier said Wednesday.
Butler County Children Services is currently in search of suitable caretakers for the child.
Rebekah Kinner is in jail awaiting trial for involuntary manslaughter for the beating death of her 2-year-old daughter, Kinsley. Kinsley’s father, Scott Senft, had thought he was Wyatt’s father, but DNA testing last week showed that he was not, according to Senft and his family.
Rapier described Jason (no last name provided) not only as the possible father, but as a “friend of the Kinner family," WCPO news partner, the Journal-News reports. The attorney said Rebekah Kinner was ending her relationship with Senft when she had a relationship with Jason.
"He seems to be very level-headed," Rapier said. "He has two children from a prior marriage. He works. He is very concerned over Wyatt being in foster care and wants to show that he is the father and wants to petition for custody."
Rapier said the process of establishing custody for the infant could move faster if Jason pays for a private DNA test to determine paternity.
“He wants this to move quickly,” Rapier said.
A shelter care hearing was held Monday before Magistrate John Bruewer to determine who might take custody of baby Wyatt. Bruewer scheduled another hearing for March 16, according to Rob Clevenger, juvenile court administrator.
Gmoser, the county prosecutor, confirmed that Wyatt is in foster care “for now.” He said Rebekah Kinner gave several names to Children Services for consideration as suitable caretakers for the baby.
Douglas Kinner, Rebekah’s father, told the Journal-News he and his mother were contacted by Children Services on Monday afternoon, and case workers are supposed to call them back to schedule a visit.
It stands to reason that Rebekah Kinner won't be allowed to have the baby unless she is acquitted. Kinner is accused of allowing her boyfriend, Bradley Young, to beat Kinsley to death. Prosecutors say Kinner did nothing to stop the abuse, something Rapier disputes.
Kinner pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter, endangering children and permitting child abuse.
Young pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, two counts of endangering children and involuntary manslaughter.
The trial date for Kinner is set for April 4, while Young will stand trial on April 25 in Butler County Common Pleas Court.