• Michelle Parker's mom pushes for 'grandparent visitation rights' law


    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The mother of missing mom Michelle Parker is heading to Tallahassee in hopes of getting lawmakers to pass a bill for visitation rights for grandparents.

    The law would allow grandparents to petition a judge for the right to see their grandchildren. Parker's mom, Yvonne Stewart, told WFTV she hasn't seen her grandchildren in several months.

    Under the proposed law, grandparents would have to prove that their grandchildren are being harmed by not seeing them.

    "I am absolutely speaking for Michelle here," Stewart said.

    Stewart said she wants to turn grief into action. When her daughter disappeared nearly a year and a half ago, she mobilized hundreds to search for her. She has now packed her bags and is headed to the state capital to push for the bill's passage.

    She said the only suspect in Michelle's disappearance is keeping her from seeing her grandchildren.

    "She would want those kids to have a relationship with us," Stewart said.

    Stewart began petitioning lawmakers for the 'grandparent visitation rights' bill in 2012. The 13-page bill would require grandparents to prove that their grandchildren are being harmed mentally or emotionally by not seeing them.

    "I want these lawmakers to understand that it is so important for families, that have been together since almost day one, to not be torn apart like this," Stewart said.

    Stewart told Eyewitness News that before her daughter disappeared, she saw her grandchildren every day. Now Parker's ex-fiance has custody of the children and is living in another state.

    "I'm not going to stop until I've done everything I can do to see my grandchildren," said Stewart.

    But getting more rights for grandparents will not be easy. Courts focus heavily on the constitutional rights of parents and have placed significant restrictions on lawmakers in this area.

    The 'grandparent visitation rights' bill is up for its first vote Monday afternoon.

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    Michelle Parker's mom pushes for 'grandparent visitation rights' law