The Aftermath

October 31st, 2009

It has taken me some times to update this blog because the Sate of Nevada has single handedly decimated my family and that was not something I could write about easily. They think they have won but I have yet to begin to fight. My family is gone.  I am all that is left.  On April 9 2008 I was a happy loving doting mother of 2 beautiful girls and a proud military wife. Now as I sit here today I am neither a wife nor a mother. God took one of my girls but the state of Nevada took my other. When she needed her mommy the most, after her baby sister died, the ripped her away didnt even let us say goodbye and sent her to be with strangers. They say it was to protect her. Why? Because my house was messy! The only thing my daughter was in danger of was being loved too much and since there is no such thing as too much love I’d say she was in no danger at all. This has rocked me to my very core  and left me forever changed.  My marriage was never particularly strong, we had many problems but this was too much for it.  We are now divorcing.  So now I am all that is left.  They lied and twisted facts and played dirty and got my rights terminated and denied me contact to my daughter. Not only that but they have informed her that “mommy and daddy did bad things and so for your safety you can’t see them anymore”. We are appealing our case.  Now my daughter has been told it isnt safe to be with mom and dad. What if we win our appeal? What is that going to do to her mental  state? How can that be good for her?  But to them that is ok.  It is ok because THEY  arent the ones that have to look at her tear stained face every time she passes mommy and daddys house and tell her “no  we cannot stop by”  THEY  are not the ones that have to explain to her why when mommy calls her grandma to check on her that mommy isn’t allowed to talk to her.  They are not the ones who have to tell her through her sobs  “no sweetheart mommy and daddy CAN’T  come to your birthday party”  No, they let her grandma so that.  THAT isn’t their job description. They wouldn’t even allow me and her father one last visit to give her a hug and tell her that we DO love her very very much. DCFS thinks it has won. But I a not going to take it laying down.  Not only am I appealing my case to the supreme court and hope to expose them for the lying snakes they are but I have gone back to college.  I am now a SOCIAL WORK  major. I am going to start a foundation to combat these tyrants and to HELP families in crisis. Not threaten them or hurt them HELP them. Which forgive me if I’m wrong but isnt that SUPPOSED to be THIER job? Bt they wold rather resort to force and trickery so I will step up and be a help to families who need it. And there is nothing that DCFS can do about it.

The Trial

October 27th, 2009

In August we went for our Termination of Parental Rights trial. The matter is pending appeal so I will not go into detail just yet. However suffice it to say that the sate played dirty and twisted the fact and we had our rights terminated. Not only that but even though the judge recognized the strong bond between my daughter and I and her father too and issued nothing limiting our contact with her DCFS has since said that we are to have no contact with her what so ever. HOW IS THAT IN HER BEST INTERESTS mommy and daddy are there twice a week without fail and now suddenly POOF nothing. how can the state claim to care about what is best for Jessy and make such a restriction?

The “NO SURPRISES” Court Hearing

May 20th, 2009

By April 2009, a year later, things were finnaly looking up for us. We had good jobs, we had thouroughly impressed everyone that has come in contact with us including parenting class teachers, counselors, and even our case workers. We traveled down to Las Vegas for the “Year review” of our case with high hopes. Our attorneys had told us they were going to argue for our daughter to be returned to us and our case worker even said ” there wont be any surprises at this hearing, you guys are doing great!”

We had sincerally hoped that this would be it. That this nightmare would finnaly end. We were very VERY wrong. Little did we know our nightmare was only going to get worse from this point on. Once I arrived to the court house, I quickly discovered that what my case worker had told me about “no surprises” was most assuredly UNTRUE. Within minutes of my arrival a court processor found her way to me and served me with paper work. Despite our progress, despite our hard work and despite all of our best efforts the DA is filing for a Termination of our Parental Rights! My case worker is either a liar or stupid, if that is her idea of NO SURPRISES!!!!!!!

The injustice of it all is what really gets to me. In court the DA stated that the goal of our case being REUNIFICATION was a mistake on the part of DCFS, that TERMINATION had been the goal from the beggining. THAT IS NOT AN OOPS!!!!!!!! I am fighting my heart out for my precious little girl how can they tell me “oops….we made a mistake….you dont have a chance” ?!?!?!?!? SOMEONE NEEDS TO BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE!!!!!!!! We have FULLY cooperated, we’ve done everything they asked of us. Why is this not good enough for them????

A life was lost, and I understand more than most about the need to punnish someone. It was after all MY little girl who is no longer with us. I wish there was someone I could burn at the stake. I am angry. It isnt fair that my Abby is gone. I long for her every day and I know without a doubt that I alays will; but, after a year and some therapy, I understand now that sometimes terrible accidents happen and there is no one to blame. However the State of Nevada doesnt seem to agree. They couldn’t find anyone to hold accountable so they decided to punnish my husband and I. This is a terrible abuse of power and a travesty to American Families everywhere. What is the message we are sending??? “Dont report accidents or we will come after you!” THAT is the message DCFS is sending and no one is hearing it louder than my Jessy who has been ripped away from her loving parents for NO GOOD REASON!!!!!!!

The Visitation Farce

May 6th, 2009

After we moved to Elko, as I previously mentioned in one of my other blogs, our case worker in Vegas imposed a visitation schedule. 3 hours a week. We moved from our home to be near our daughter for 3 hours a week! It is worth it to spend ANY time with our daughter but it just isnt enough.

Ever since I have been trying to get or visits increased and I always ALWAYS get the  run around.  The first time I approached the topic with my case worker she said ” Well……I’d like to see you finish your parenting classes and then we will talk.” SO WE DID! and then our worker said “Well………..I’d like to see you get into counseling and then we’ll talk.” SO WE DID! Then it was “Well…….I need a progress report from your counselor and then we’ll talk” So I called him and had him giver her one. NOW we have ANOTHER situation at hand.  I called my case worker and again asked for increased visitation and she said ” well there are some problems with that…..”

Apparently while at day care my daughter started crying and said ” I want my mommy but I hate her!” and now DCFS is making this HUGE deal about it. They want her to go see a child psychologist and make sure that contact with my husband and I isn’t “traumatizing” her. They refuse to increase our visitation with her until then. FOR CRYIN OUT LOUD!!!!!!! My daughter is THREE!!!!!! HATE is not a word she understands!! They automatically jump to the worst case scenario and assume that our being with her isnt HEALTHY for her??? COULD IT BE THAT SHE WANTED TO BE WITH ME AND WAS MAD BECAUSE SHE CANT BE?!?!? A three year old isn’t supposed to have such serious dilemmas so it is natural that she can’t find the right words to use to express her feelings. They are holding my daughter hostage and then cant understand why she is exhibiting signs of distress?? Have they considered that her “acting out” as they call it is the result of THEM ripping her away from us rather than US being BAD for her? No. I’m sure they haven’t.

So now our contact with our daughter hinges on what some psychologist has to say. A psychologist that we have no control over choosing ( they chose for us) , whom we dont even get to meet ( so that the Dr only has ONE side of the story) and whose report we will not see ( so DCFS can tell us anything they want!)   We have done EVERYTHING asked of us, jumped through all of the required hoops to increase our visitation and still they refuse to let us have any QUALTIY time with our child!  Forget unjust, this is flat out LUDACRIS!

The Uphill Battle

May 5th, 2009

After we were released from jail was when the REAL fight began. During our stay in jail my husband, who as I mentioned earlier proudly served in the US Air Force, was discharged. Since we lived on base we were now homeless. Determined to fight for Jessy we hit the ground running and started to paper Las Vegas with resumes. My husband was very determined to make it in the construction industry and I, well I was just trying to find anyone who would hire me since now, thank you very much CPS, I was a felon. The doors were shut in our face left and right. No one would hire us. We didn’t even get ONE interview.

As I said before, our daughter was only in foster care for 3 weeks. My mother-in-law got custody of her then and Jessy was allowed to go and live with her and has ever since. So when we decided Las Vegas was not going to give us the time of day we decided to move to Elko NV a nearyby town where my in-laws lived with our daughter. We got lucky. A couple of weeks in Elko and we both landed jobs.  We now work and live at a storage facility as the on-site managers. We are very blessed. Our apartment here is much nicer than anywhere else we have lived. One of the first things we did was prepare a room for Jessy to come home to. We painted the walls lavender and decorated it with Tinker Bell wall appliques.  It sits empty waiting on the slim chance that she will some day live in it.

At first we were allowed to visit with Jessy whenever my in-laws were willing to supervise and they would frequently invite us over for dinner. Then for no apparent reason our case worker decided that we should have “scheduled” visitation with Jessica and limited us to 1 1/2 hours on Friday and 1 1/2 hours on Sunday. No explanation was given nor was there any just cause that I can see for this decree except to wieled their ultimate power over us to ake sure we knew who was in control. We resisted at first and saw that it was getting us no where so we resigned ourselves to the new arrangement.

We then attacked our case plan with wild abandon. We did everything asked of us and even more. While we remain adamant that we never neglected our children and most CERTAINLY never abused them we do understand that we have our issues that we need to work on. Nothing on our case plan really could HURT us. I mean who in this world today CAN’T use some counseling? And since there has never been a perfect parent on this earth we figured that the parenting classes wouldn’t be a waste of time. We are always looking to improve ourselves.

We were facing insurmountable odds, but my husband and I had each other and our love for our daughter and that was enough to keep fighting. And fight we have done. Our case worker has praised us on multiple occasions for our “amazing progress” as she calls it. We, in the 5 months we’ve been outof jail, have almost completedour 4 page case plan.  Which, trust me, has been no small feat. It has taken a near obsession-like commitment. But it is a challange we readilly accept beacuse, to us, there is nothing in this world more important than or daughter.

Never the less, at our one year case review do you think we got any credit at all for the “amazing progress” we’ve made? NOPE! In regards to our progress our case worker simply said “Dustin and Jill are case plan compliant” . That’s it! In regards to our supervised visits with Jessica our worker stated ” The visits are appropriate.” I would have thought that our case worker simply does not have a way with words except for that when remarking on her visits to our in-laws home with Jessy she went into great detail about what Jessica said and did and what was going on. Talk about bias. And then, to make matters worse, it was as if she could not be satisfied with having NOTHING bad to sayso she added ” on an unscheduled visit this worker stopped by the home of Dustin and Jill at 10 AM on Thursday as it was their day off. Jill was in her pajamas and looked unkempt and like she had not showered very recently.This case worker feels this may be a symptom of depression. ”  WOW, ok, first of all IT WAS MY DAY OFF! It was 10 AM on my day off and the door bell woke me up. I got out of bed and answered my door. I did not know that I was expected to wear a dress and my pearls at all times in case she was to stop by. If I had of delayed answering the door to get dressed she would have assumed that I was trying to quickly clean up a mess.  Second of all, being in my pjs at 10 am is not a symptom of depression it is a symptom of JUST WAKING UP!!! And no. I hadn’t showered in 24 hours because as I have previously stated , I HAD JUST WOKEN UP! Leave it to these people to paint the worst possible picture of a very innocent situation. They are trying to fit me into a mold of what they want me to be rather than presenting the facts. They minimized the good things and over emphasized the not-so-bad to make them seem like very bad things. Talk about an uphill battle!

Three months later……….

May 4th, 2009

After Abby died, nothing was the same. My husband and I walked around like zombies, not sure what to think, do or feel. All we knew was that our other daughter needed us to stay strong and fight for her.  Jessy is the only reason I could get out of bed during this time, I knew if I gave into my depression and let it take over there would never be any hope for us being a family again. SO I did the only thing I could, I fought. I was so angry at CPS and everyone involved but I, being in my mind a reasonably intelligent human being, decided no good would come from resistance. I cooperated. I was the absolute VISION of cooperation, despite the fact that I had done nothing to deserve their involvement in my life. Once our case plan was given to it I attacked it with wild abandon. Working my case plan became all that mattered to me because my daughter was ( and still is) all that mattered to me.

We were making some real progress, and things were finally starting to look up. We started to get our hope back  and mayb e even a little happiness. Until July 1 2008. The SECOND worst day of my life. I had returned home after running a few errands and lo and behold who should appear but the detectives that had questioned me the night of my daughters death. I rolled my eyes inwardly and thought ” WHAT do they want to know NOW!?!? I have already told them EVERYTHING!” Little did I know they hadn’t come to question me. They had come to arrest me. No one knows the fear and panic that goes through your mind and such a time unless you have been falsely arrested too.

I was taken to jail and charged with Child Abuse with Substantial Bodily Harm Resulting in death and 1 count of neglect : A 20 YEAR PRISON SENTENCE! I was charged with this DESPITE the fact that a coroner examined Abby and a county sponsored Dr examined Jessy and both concluded that neither had any sign of abuse, both were a healthy weight and size and both very well nourished. STILL I get charged with Abuse and Neglect. What a system we live in! So again I complied, hoping that the truth would be known. It wasn’t. I spent 5 long months in Clark County Detention Center on a 23 lock-down. For those of you not familiar with the jail systems let me explain what that means. I was in a 5×10 cell ALONE for 23 hours a day. I got ONE hour out of my day to be with other humans. During that hour, I had to shower, call home, try to get some exercise and try to socialize with others to keep from going completely crazy. The guards would call us “baby killers” or other such horrible names and sometimes “forgot” to let us out for our hour out of our cell. Prisoners in DEATH ROW get more humane treatment than I did during those 5 months.

I tried to have faith that the truth would prevail. In keeping with the theme of our situation, the truth did NOT prevail. We never saw a jury. Fortunately the over-zealous DA prosecuting us couldn’t get a murder charge to stick, but that didn’t stop her from trying. No grand jury would indict us. Obviously, because no such thing occurred. However one day I received a visit from my lawyer, he came with news that the DA had offered a plea bargain and my lawyer recommended I take it. Not because he thought I was guilty. He knew the truth, but he also knew my DA. She played dirty. Tugged at heart strings, spun the worst possible case stories and sensationalized everything.  He told me that she would show the jury photos of my daughter at autopsy. After a jury saw that, they would be so disturbed and upset by the images that they wouldn’t care if I was innocent or not. They would convict. So I took the deal. I hated doing it. This is our criminal justice system at work. No one cares if you really did it or not, as long as they get their conviction. That ladies and gentleman is NOT justice.

Some might criticize me for taking a deal when I knew that I was innocent. Some have said it proves my guilt. These critics say that a truly innocent person would keep fighting no matter what. To these critics I say “You obviously do not have children”. I took the deal because I needed to be out of jail to fight for Jessica. I was playing Russian Roulette. Do I spin the barrel and hope there is no bullet or do I refuse to pick up the gun? I was going to put my life in the hands of 12 strangers that did not know me and did not care to know me. I made the most logical decision and refused to play. Cooperation hadn’t done justice by me thus far and I had little hope that it would in this instance. Also I took the deal for Abby. For her dignity. I could not bear the thought of 12 strangers looking at her little body on an autopsy table. That is something no one should see. She deserved better. So I took the deal. 2 months later I was released on a 5 year term of probation.

Now the REAL fight was beginning.

The Worst Day of My Life

May 2nd, 2009

April 10th 2008 was without a doubt the worst day of my life.  It started out ok but then turned tragic. I got up and fed my two beautiful girls, Jessy who was 2 and Abby who was 5 mos. We played and cuddled some and then it was time for their naps.

We were a military family. My husband served proudly in the Air Force and we lived in base housing and as such basically lived in whichever house they told us too. I had been arguing with the housing office for some time because AF regulations say that they are to provide one bedroom per child and the home we lived in had only 2 bedrooms so my  girls had to share.  They put us on a 6  month long waiting list for a three bedroom house and we impatiently for our name to come up. It never did. We never got our three bedroom house because on April 10th 2008 when I put my girls down for their naps one of them never woke up. 

After I put the girls down to sleep ( each in their own bed, NOT together) I left to run some errands, leaving my husband to watch the girls. When I returned, an hour or so later  I got a funny feeling in my stomache. One of those “mommy things”, so I went to check on the girls and wake them up from their nap. I found my oldest Jessy playing on the floor and as I walked over to the crib to get my youngest, Abby , up my heart stopped. There was a mountain of stuffed animals in the crib with Abby.  Jessy had tried to share her toys with Abby by throwing them into her crib. I ran to Abby and frantically threw the off of her only to find I was too late. My sweet precious little Abby was gone from us forever.

I picked her up and tried CPR and called 911 for help. Little did I know that I would not get help but harassment. I held Abby in my arms until a fire truck pulled up at our house and I ran her out to them hoping they could save her. A neighbor saw the commotion and took Jessy to her house to play with her children so that My husband and I could go to the hospital to be with Abby. Once we got to the hospital the Dr confirmed our worst fears. Nothing could be done. Our little Abby was gone.

There is no pain in this world than the pain of losing a child. We went in to see Abby and hold her one last time. I remember I was kissing her goodbye on the forehead when I was informed the police were there to speak to us. Naturally I spoke to them. I had done nothing wrong and in my mind by speaking to them and telling the the truth, they would understand this and we could go back to our grieving. We were interrogated for 3 hours  each. It was gruelling. The kind of thing you see on tv but dont really think anyone actually has to go through.

Then the other shoe dropped. A woman came in and introduced herself as a CPS case worker and told me she would be removing Jessica from our custody. I tried to reason with her, tried explaining the situation to her but she was resolute in her decision and I was powerless to stop it. She took my 2 year old from the neighbors home and wouldnt even let me say goodbye. I asked the case worker to give Jessy a hug from her mommy and daddy and she said that she would but I’m sure she didn’t. That night my daughter spent the first night of what would be 3 weeks in foster care.

My husband and I were in shock. We didnt know what to do or who to talk to or not talk to, so we answered any questions anyone had for us. We even signed away our right to a search warrant and refused to ask for a lawyer because we were told if we did, it would look like we were guilty of something. We spent that night in a hotel on the Air Force base because we were denied access to our home while they were “collecting evidence”.  Evidence of WHAT I still do not know.

We were honest, forthright and upfront about everything. We had nothing to hide. However that did not stop CPS and the police from launching an investigation against us. CPS turned the greatest tragedy of my life into the TWO greatest tragedies of my life, all in one day. God took one of my babies, but CPS stole the other.