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

OAKLAND – The mother of a Fairfield baby whose nose was bitten off allegedly by his own father said she never saw any signs of abuse.

The baby, Ta'Jon Riggins-Cooper, is recovering at Oakland Children's Hospital after being admitted Thursday. A third of his nose was severed. Doctors reattached it Thursday night during a five-hour surgical procedure, but they are waiting to see if the surgery was successful.

"It hasn't hit reality yet," mother Anjelika Riggins said.

In just days, Riggins' world shattered. She hasn't left baby Ta'Jon's side.

"Waking up and seeing my baby in the hospital. It hurts.It hurts my feelings a lot. My heart is broken," Riggins said.

She said she's confused, hurt, lost and wonders how his own father could hurt him.

Riggins said Ta'Jon's father, Joshua Cooper, called her Thursday from Solano County Jail and confessed to her about biting their son's nose off out of frustration when he couldn't get the baby to stop crying.

Riggins does not buy that excuse.

"I didn't see no anger that morning. I didn't see no stress that morning," Riggins recalled. "He was up playing with the baby."

It happened Thursday morning inside the Fairfield apartment where they lived with Cooper's family.

Riggins, 16, was getting ready for school.

She went to the bathroom and left the two of them alone. She said she never heard Ta'Jon cry.

"Two minutes later I come into a disgusting scene," Riggins explained.

Fairfield Police responded to the home after Riggins called 911. Officers did not know what they were dealing with until the found the baby's nose on the floor.

Cooper was arrested for child cruelty and aggravated mayhem and booked into the Solano County Jail.

Officers are trying to determine how baby Ta'Jon got a skull fracture and a brain hemorrhage.

Riggins can only think of one possible reason.

"That my son has been hit the whole time," she said. "Or something happened behind my back before."

She also said she did not know why he snapped.

"I seen no signs or I would have left," Riggins stated. "Of course. I'm not going to put an infant through that."

But there were signs. A week and a half ago, Ta'Jon had swelling and bruising to his face, which Riggins thought was an allergic reaction. Doctors suspected child abuse and notified CPS. Now, Ta'Jon is in CPS custody and Riggins has to fight to prove that she deserves her son back.

"I'm willing to fight. Because I'm not in the wrong," Riggins said. "I'm willing to fight to bring home my baby."

Ta'Jon still has a long road ahead of him. He could be in the hospital for another two months.

Riggins said she is most concerned about Ta'Jon's brain hemorrhage. The amount of bleeding, Riggins said, has stayed the same since he's been admitted. But she worries about permanent brain damage if there is no improvement. According to Riggins, doctors told her the skull fracture will heal on its own.

Riggins said Ta'Jon does not have medical insurance. She has started an online fundraising page for donations to help pay for the baby's medical care.

She is also planning a fundraiser on April 5 at Oakland Children's Hospital to help with his medical expenses.

Riggins heads to Family Court for a CPS hearing Tuesday, March 18.

Cooper is slated to make his first court appearance Monday, March 17. Bail is set for $765,000.


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