Over a year after eight juvenile males were removed from a home for "troubled boys" in Burnet County while state and local agencies conducted an investigation into allegations of abuse, neglect, labor violations, fraud, licensing violations, and human trafficking, the owners have been arrested.
Gary Wiggins and Meghann Wiggins are both in Burnet County jail facing human trafficking charges.
Court documents accuse the Wiggins of forcing four underage boys to work for a lawn care company they owned.
Last July, a search warrant was granted for Joshua Home, which is affiliated with The Joshua Home Ministries, by the 33rd District Court of Burnet County, in July of 2018.
The warrant specifies a search of lawn care equipment and any banking transactions from businesses owned by Gary Wiggins, including: Joshua Home, Joshua Home Moving, and Joshua Home Lawn Care, or Lawn Mowing service.
Evidence and information uncovered during the search led to emergency orders to remove the eight boys, ages 10 to 17, from the Joshua Home and place them into temporary CPS custody.
"I can't go into exactly what was going on," Burnet County Sheriff Calvin Boyd told CBS Austin Monday.
The boys, all from out of state, were eventually reunited with their families and Joshua Home in Bertram was closed down.
After a lengthy investigation involving multiple state agencies, the Wiggins were indicted on August 6, 2019 and arrested in Alabama days later. This week, they were extradited to Burnet County Jail.
Their attorney, Austin Shell, tells CBS Austin Gary and Meghann Wiggins both waived their extradition hearing in order to come back to Texas to fight the charges. "Before anyone jumps to conclusions they ought to wait to see what evidence the District Attorney has," says Shell.
Shell says he plans to take the case to trial.
CBS Austin reached out to the Burnet County District Attorney but did not hear back.
This is not the home's first run-in with the law. Investigators said this home was most recently being investigated in Missouri, before moving to Bertram in Burnet County.
Gary and Meghann Wiggins are each being held on $100,000 bonds. As this investigation proceeds, the investigators ask that anyone with additional information about the Joshua Home, Joshua Home Ministries, Joshua Home Lawn Care, Joshua Home Movers, or JJW Home Services to contact the investigations division of the Burnet County Sheriff's Office at 512-756-8080 or by email to email@example.com.