Sunday, July 19, 2009

13 Adopted Kids, One Adoption Fraud, Murder and a reunion


Byrd, 66, and Melanie, 43, Billings of Pensacola, FL.had 17 kids, 13 of them adopted. Three of their children have died - not sure if they were adopted, some of which reportedly has autism and Downs syndrome.

Byrd's love for adopting children began while he was married to his second wife, Cindy Reeve.

That love for obtaining children didn't always care about doing so legally, apparently. In 1989 he served two years probation for violation of adoption, committing fraud to obtain a birth certificate, and forgery of a birth certificate regarding the adoption of a boy named Justin.

Note how...hmmm...stiff are the penalties for forging one's life's history and identity!

Court records show that 20 years ago a debt-ridden and pregnant Pensacola woman named Vickie Taylor checked into Sacred Heart Hospital under the name Cindy Reeve. She delivered a baby boy June 4 and listed the father's name as Byrd Billings. Taylor told deputies she had agreed to the fraud in exchange for a $2,100 loan, so the Billingses could claim the baby as their own.

Sheriff's deputies learned of the plot when someone with knowledge of it called authorities, the documents say. A deputy found the baby, named Justin, when he went to interview Reeve and Billings. All three pleaded nolo contendere, which means they did not admit guilt but agreed to a punishment.

Within a couple of years, however, Byrd "Bud" Billings - a former strip club owner-turned used car dealer - and his third wife, Melanie, were able to arrange to adopt Justin legally.

Now fast forward. Byrd and Melanie Billings have been killed in what police believe to be a home invasion by masked men who removed a safe and guns from the house. Eight people were arrested — including a teenager, an Air Force Sergeant and an antique mall owner — there remain almost as many questions as answers and the safe was alleged to contain papers such as adoption finalizations and birth certificates. The safe was reportedly found in the backyard of one of the suspects.

This is a case to follow as police round up the likely suspects. Could it have been someone who knew there was a safe and guns in the house? Could it have been an "inside job" by one of the children they so "lovingly" took and cared for as their own...through broken marriages, a home that was as crowded as a group home, and some who may have bee ill-begotten?

A very unlikely setting for a reunion

And, yes...there's more to this sad story. The report above about the illegal adoption later (shutter) allowed to be legalized negelcted to include the fact that the mother, Vickie Taylor, who desperately allowed the illegal adoption - already had four children.

One of those four children, Regina Spence, 21, and just a year older than Justin was also subsequently adopted with her three other siblings. Their adoptive parents knew of Justin and told them, even sharing news clippings of adoption fraud case.

Regina Spence met and hugged her long lost brother for the first time at the fineral for Byrd and Melanie Billings. They hope to continue a relationship.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's illegal to hoard animals but not children?

Anonymous said...

You get income tax credits, and deductions, and adoption assistance payments (esp for special needs children), but don't tell anybody that I said anything because there is no justification for murder. Lights out was at 7, and Byrd worked 6 am to 8 pm six days a week, according to 43-year-old Melanie's 26-yr-old daughter.

Michelle said...

Interesting that it comes out today the Billings and the mastermind of their murder had a business relationship. Apparently Billings set his murderer up in a martial arts school business, so there's our link. Other information coming out is that Byrd Billings supposedly copyrighted all his children's names and billed the govt 10 million in silver bullion for infringement when family services would send him documents that listed his children's names. He's either a nutjob or a sheister. I'm gonna vote on the latter. I just hope those children had good care. Heartbreaking to think they might have been little more than income-generators.

silenceofnostics said...

This article is severely wrong and misinformed. Byrd loved those children and MY BROTHER. he took care of each and everyone of them. there is no way you could write something like this when you dont know them. they did not hoard children like some of you assume. im very sad i had to run across this article. get the facts straight.

-Regina Spence

AdoptAuthor said...

Regina,

I am sorry for your loss. The "article" stats facts as reported elsewhere and it is very ODD what you father (?) tried to do re copyrighting names. Can you see how that would raise suspicion about motivation?

This is a platform for ALl to express their opinions, as you have done. I am not responsible for comments.
There are many in the adoption community who have strong feelings on issues and that it is their right to express them her as well.

Anonymous said...

Regina,

I'm sure that the 100 grand in cash was just Bryd's Obama Contingency Fund, but maybe he should have kept it in a SAFE deposit box at a bank. His family would have been SAFER that way.

As a taxpayer I'm just a little concerned when I read every day about the money changing hands in the alleged adoption business. It's not like your alleged brother was ever CONVICTED of adoption fraud, or anything, right? If the two of them truly cared for these children, and if they didn't receive 100 grand or more a year in adoption assistance, medical assistance, adoption income tax credits, or SSI payments, I'll be the first to praise them. Right now, I don't believe that the money wasn't a big reason.

Not Adam Herrman said...

This case interested me BECAUSE of the Adam Herrman story. I had no idea that adoptive parents could receive tax money prior to the news of his story, and it INFURIATES ME, as a TAXPAYER to know that the State of Kansas paid 70 grand to Adam's alleged parents, Valerie Herrman and Doug Herrman, during the 7 years in which they did not even verify his existence. No, I'm not a taxpayer in Kansas, but a lot of that money comes from federal funds.

Since then I learned that a child with disabilities, under the proper Trust arrangements, WILL RECEIVE SSI FOR LIFE.

Then I heard the story about the Billings. I tried to look into Byrd's eyes, but they're hardly there. I hear over and over that they never took any of that state or federal money, but I don't believe it. Nobody can know the truth, right, because the gov't can't tell, right? FL sent letters, after the death by scalding, and Byrd's backed-up, opposititional, defiant response was to copyright the names of the children about whom the state was writing.

I'm allowed to express my opinion, as a person who's been involved in taxation for 30 years, and I suspect that they collected $100-150 grand a year from the youngest nine children.

That's a lot of money for somebody who was worth $1400 just 16 years ago. That's a lot of taxpayer money.

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