Baby Ta'Jon recovers after surgery to reattach nose

FAIRFIELD, Calif. – The baby who police say was brutally attacked by his father is recovering in foster care.

Doctors had to surgically reattach one-third of 2-month-old Ta'Jon's nose after, Fairfield police say, Joshua Cooper, 18, allegedly bit it off out of frustration last month. He has pleaded not guilty to charges of child abuse and aggravated mayhem.

MORE: Fairfield police: Dad bites off infant's nose

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"All this was gone," Ta'Jon's mother Ankelika Riggins, 17, said as she motioned around her nose.

Most of Ta'Jon's replantation surgery was successful, but the tip of his nose fell off. Riggins is trying to decide how doctors should reconstruct the tip.

"(They're) either going to take a piece from his hairline -- behind his ear -- or they can pump fat, " Riggins explained. "I haven't decided which one."

Ta'Jon has been through unimaginable horror just in his young two months. After his dad allegedly bit his nose off, doctors discovered more injuries. They said Ta'Jon had a brain hemorrhage and a skull fracture. X-rays showed he had 11 broken ribs and a fractured collarbone. It's unclear how he sustained the other injuries.

MORE: Mother of baby with nose bitten off: I never saw signs of abuse

Riggins said she didn't know how it happened.

"Only Josh, Ta'Jon and God know because I don't," Riggins said

Riggins said there were no visual signs her son was being abused.

Because of these unexplained injuries, Ta'Jon is now in the custody of child protective services. Riggins gets two supervised visits with him a week, each lasting one hour.

Riggins said she's trying to get her life on track -- going back to school, taking court ordered parenting classes and substance abuse classes in order to regain custody of her son. She admits she's been smoking marijuana to help with her depression.

When asked how she would respond to critics who say she is a bad mom and shouldn't get her baby back, Riggins said she couldn't have stopped it.

"Me being looked at as a bad mom is straight discrimination because I'm being judged for being a teen having a child in the same household with an incident I couldn't have prevented," she added.

Riggins has a CPS hearing coming on April 22. She said that's when a judge could decide to let Ta'Jon return home with her or possibly place him in the care of a family member.


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