Longform

Photos of a Baby With Confederate Flags and Guns Couldn't Persuade a Court to Prevent a Kidnapping

The clock reads 20 to 6 as Robert Baumann wheels his Ford Escape north. The 26-year-old is beat-tired, his wide shoulders slumped like a bent clothes hanger from another day installing air conditioners in South Florida megamansions. His nerves, though, are on red-alert. Today, he's going to pick up his daughter, Lilly.

It's taken a full year of courtroom battles with his ex, Megan Everett, to hash out this arrangement, and even though a judge finally ruled that the beaming, curly-headed 2-year-old would split time with her parents, Baumann is anxious. Concerns constantly roll around the back of his head: Megan's YouTube-ranting, gun-toting new boyfriend; her sudden obsession with the Confederacy and antigovernment activism; and worst of all, the photos Baumann found on Facebook of his daughter playing in piles of bullets.

Just thinking about those images sets him stewing again. How could a judge see his kid surrounded by a heavy-duty arsenal yet still let Lilly stay part-time with her mom and her boyfriend? He shoves the thought aside.

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Kyle Swenson