EDITOR DANIEL CLIFTON
A Burnet County grand jury indicted an Alabama couple accused of trafficking boys in association with a Bertram-area residential facility.
Gary Wiggins, 49, and Meghann Wiggins, 34, face human trafficking charges related to a July 2018 investigation. According to the grand jury indictment, the two knowingly trafficked four boys and made them do forced labor and services.
In July 2018, the Burnet County Sheriff’s Office as well as other state and local law enforcement agencies conducted a search warrant on The Joshua Home, located in the 2500 block of FM 243 West near Bertram. They removed eight males ages 10-17 years from the facility.
At the time of the search, authorities said they had begun investigating The Joshua Home, which was an affiliate of The Joshua Home Ministries, after numerous allegations arose regarding the facility.
The two are being held in the Burnet County Jail in lieu of $100,000 bonds. If convicted, they could each face up to 99 years in prison.
This isn’t the first time the Wigginses have caught the eye of law enforcement. In 2016, Alabama officials raided Blessed Hope Boys Academy in Seminole and removed 22 children. The boarding school was operated by the couple. They apparently moved their operation to McDonald County in Missouri and changed its name to The Joshua Home.
In 2018, Missouri officials began looking into the operation, but the facility closed and moved out of town, according to published reports. It later reopened in Bertram.
The Joshua Home is not affiliated with His Joshua House in Kingsland. His Joshua House is a faith-based drug and alcohol recovery house for men.