Troubled Boys Home Operators Charged

Austin Gary and Meghann Wiggins were the owners and operators of Joshua Home are now facing charges, over a year after their residence was raided.

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This is not the first time that the owners and operators of Joshua Home have had a brush with law enforcement.  Over the history of the home, it has operated in Robertsdale, Alabama, and Pineville, Missouri, where the non-profit was repeatedly investigated by authorities. The home finally relocated to Bertram, Texas where the latest charges originate.

 

Last year, in July, Sheriff's officials responded to the 10 acre residence in response to allegations of abuse, fraud, and human trafficking.  What they found there was enough to result in an emergency order to remove eight boys, all between the ages of 10 and 17 from the home placing them in temporary CPS care until they could be reunited with their parents, all of whom lived out of state.

 

McDonald County, Mo., Sheriff Michael Hall, who had conducted searches of the home when it was withing his jurisdiction, said when he learned in May that Wiggins had moved the home to Bertram, he notified the local authorities. “I didn’t know if there were any regulations in Texas or if the guy had to check in or register with the state,” Hall said.

 

After more than a year of investigation, charges were officially filed on August 6th, and a few days later, Gary Wiggins, 49, and his wife Meghann Wiggins, 34, were arrested in Alabama.  Their attorney, Austin Shell stated that they waived their right to an extradition hearing in Alabama to expedite the process of getting back to Texas to fight the charges.

 

Both are being held at the Burnet County Jail on charges of labor trafficking a minor.  The next scheduled court date is September 12th.  Both are held on a $100,000 bond.

 

As the investigation is continuing, authorities ask that anyone with additional information about the Joshua Home, Joshua Home Ministries, Joshua Home Lawn Care, Joshua Home Movers, or JJW Home Services to contact the investigations division of the Burnet County Sheriff's Office at 512-756-8080 or by email to cidadmin@burnetsheriff.com.

 

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