Saturday, December 18, 2010

When Hell Came to Our Home Update December 18

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We're back at the Okolona house with the children for the first time since our house was broken into, doing a last email download before changing over the phone. If you've emailed me recently, please be patient. It's going to take me a while to go through that mess.

Friday December 10 -- We met with the new lawyer and went over the case. She was thrilled that we were buying a house. She showed us the official notice from the psychologist that I was Certified Sane and Not a Danger to Children *TM* (And don't y'all forget it! :P) The only remaining issues we all could find were my middle child's dental records and verification that we weren't living in Chickasaw county anymore. We'd filed a change of address to Choctaw county, where we were staying with a relative, and both lawyers had informed Chickasaw county DHS of that, but when we'd stopped by Choctaw county DHS they'd never heard of the case.

Our lawyer had no idea if we were going to be in Youth Court Friday December 17. She said Chickasaw County DHS didn't bother sending out summons to anyone! All she had was Natasha Ivory asking her, "Are you doing anything Friday?"

Lawyer: "Is there something I need to do Thursday?"

Natasha Ivory: *silence*

Personally I think that's grounds for a lawsuit right there, but first thing's first.

Sunday December 12 -- The seller finally agrees to sell the house for the appraised value (instead of the ridiculously high figure they were holding out for, but that's a story for later.) The bank needs two days to process the last remaining paperwork, and we agree to meet on the morning of Wednesday December 15, the last day all the requisite lawyers and officials can be rounded up before sometime in January (which would do us out of a year's worth of Homestead Exemption.) We're hoping this clears before Friday's Youth Court deadline, which we still have no confirmation about.

Tuesday December 14 -- While we're out buying kitchen wares for the new house, the manager of Choctaw County DHS visit's our relative's house. She says she'll be back to check on us tomorrow morning -- at the exact time we need to be at the bank buying the house over an hour and a half's drive away! But we've got to have this confirmation tomorrow to avoid Friday's Youth Court hearing! We put her off until the afternoon, which is when we're already scheduled to meet with both sets of subcontractors to discuss the renovations. Nobody sleeps well that night.

Wednesday December 15 -- We get up early, go to the bank, sign the papers and take possession of the house, then fly back to Choctaw County to meet the manager of Choctaw County DHS.

2:30 she arrives. I'll have to look up the spelling of her name as I can't remember it offhand. She was nice and professional, and had trouble reconciling DHS Standard Operating Procedure with what has happened in our case.

"What have you worked on in your Family Team Meetings?"

"What's that? We've only heard that term once before."

"What do you want to work on in your Family Team Meetings?"

************** "We want the case closed."

She did note that we'd met all the points that had been presented. She kept wanting to see our updated Individual Service Plan, the one with the vaccination information on it. We showed her the only ISP we had (which doesn't mention vaccinations), and told her that Chickasaw County had refused our repeated requests to clarify and update the original ISP. Apparently there is an updated one we haven't seen, though, because she appeared to have seen one that does mention vaccinations. Interesting.

(We have a family history of allergic reactions to vaccinations, and are delaying the children's vaccinations until they turn 12 so they'll be big enough to handle an adverse reaction should one occur.)

She kept asking when the pictures were taken of our house for the DHS.

"We never allowed pictures to be taken of our house for the DHS. If there are any pictures they were obtained illegally."

She shut up about the pictures. So apparently there are pictures which were taken during a break-in in our DHS file. Interesting.

She took pictures of our relative's house (which pleased our relative none at all), and then my husband had to fly our to meet the subcontractors. She tried to talk to our daughters privately, but they refused to talk. Finally she told them, "We're going to get this resolved so you can get back to being kids. No kid should have to go through this."

She asked very politely if, after all this was over with, I would delete the video of her from my camera as she hated being videoed.

Before she left I asked her to verify our Youth Court appearance. She called and told me we were scheduled to appear in Chickasaw County Youth Court at the Courthouse Friday December 17 at 9:30 am.

9:30 am! Shit!

Wait a minute. Chickasaw is a spit county (has two county seats half an hour's drive apart for historical and geographic reasons). Did she mean the Houston Courthouse or the Okolona Courthouse?

She called back. It was the Okolona Courthouse.

*deep breath* Okay. I thanked her gratefully for clarifying that, said goodbye to her, and set about figuring out what to do next.

A few minutes later I was told that she was back. She said that she'd been called back and that it was really the Houston Courthouse.

Houston, Okolona, which was it? If we guessed wrong we'd automatically be in contempt of court!

"Anna's assistant said Houston. I'll called Anna back to verify."

"Wait, who's Anna?"

"Anna Brook is the manager of Chickasaw County DHS," she said absently while dialing her cellphone.

"Oh thank you!" I said, so thrilled I was ready to jump up and down (also so cold, as I'd come out without my coat.) "We've been trying for months to find out who the supervisor is! Not even our lawyers could find that out!"

"She stared at me, then asked for verification. She said Chickasaw County was supposed to call her right back with the information.

We waited for 10 minutes while she glared at the phone and I shivered. Then she told he that she would find out the exact location and type it up on a Choctaw County DHS letterhead and leave it at her office for us to pick up in the morning. I said goodbye to her again, not expecting to see her anytime soon.

At 6:30 that night she showed back up at our door, handed me a piece of paper, and said, "This should take care of things. Remember our agreement." Then she left.

I opened the paper. It was a letter from her stated that after consulting with Anna Brook, manager of Chickasaw County DHS, we had met all their points and our case was closed. There were no scheduled court appearances for us anywhere. I'll post the letter later.

Everyone is thrilled!

Still, my husband and I are waiting for the next shoe to drop.

Lest anyone reading this wonder how any county could be so corrupt, here's last week's headline: Chickasaw jailer arrested for selling drugs to inmates.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

When Hell Came to Our Home Update December 16

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Bought the house. Renovations begin Monday. Current move-in date is in two weeks.

DHS case may be resolved. More details Saturday.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

When Hell Came to Our Home, Update December 9

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Both our lawyers have informed DHS of our official change of address.

Natasha Ivory has said that we'll be summoned to appear before Youth Court on December 17 (it meets once a month), but we haven't been given an official summons yet. I'll quote from the lawyer's email as to the reason:

She indicated that you have not signed the service agreements or the rights and responsiblities. Ms. Ivory indicated that your service agreement has not changed. She indicated that Gene asked them to provide additional information regarding the agreement but did not inform them of specific questions. The service agreement must be signed. It is indicating that you understand and agree to work with DHS to achieve your goals/objectives.

Those of you who've seen the video know that we repeatedly asked for specific additional information which we never recieved, and which they promised ON TAPE to provide us in writing.

Our psychologist has finished my sanity assessment and faxed it in. The children have been medically examined and gotten clean bills of health; a letter to that effect should be ready Monday.

The preliminary paperwork is finished on our buying a house, and the final negotiations are about to begin. It'll need about a week's worth of renovations after the purchase is finalized. (There's isn't a "move-in ready" house in five counties. We looked.)

That's what passes for good news.

We've been talking with the Mississippi Bureau of Investigations. After stalling us for weeks, they finally said that due to budgetary constraints all property cases without a "smoking gun" piece of evidence attached to them when they come in the door are being given low priority. This was in spite of the fact that the number of property cases had gone through the roof during the recession. Everyone who voted to cut government spending, thanks for nothing.

Tomorrow we have a meeting with our lawyer to discuss matters.

When Hell Came to Our Home Update December 4

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We have new mailing addresses. We're staying with a relative in Choctaw county and using her address for our personal mail, and we've got a PO Box for our business mail.

DHS refused to believe that our new lawyer was our new lawyer without paperwork, which they delayed mailing to us at our new address so we could sign. We hand-delivered it yesterday. They didn't like seeing it back.

The new lawyer informed DHS that according to Mississippi law, NO agency has the right to monitor homeschoolers. They didn't like hearing that either.

The next part gets really weird. Our old lawyer was emailing us every day insisting that we tell him where we were staying every single day and night, apparently at the behest of DHS who wanted a continuous update on our E911 address. We refused. Our new lawyer is perplexed by our old lawyer's behavior, since even convicted felons don't have to report in that often. Then they insisted we give them a mailing address. We gave them our new PO address, but they refused to accept it. We gave them our relative's address in Choctaw County, but they refused to accept that either, insisting that we were still living in our house in Chickasaw County.

West Chickasaw County DHS insisted that we take the children by Chocktaw County DHS at the beginning of the month so they could see them. We went Thursday, but Choctaw county DHS had never heard of us and couldn't wrap their brain around why West Chickaway County DHS would insist that children who weren't even living in Chickasaw county report back to Chickasaw county once a month. When they called West Chickasaw County DHS, they were told to tell us to bring the children up to Okolona on Friday.

Friday we drove the children 90 miles both ways just so West Chickasaw County DHS could see them, but when we got there they ignored the kids and focused on me. Their only question was had I gotten the mental assessment done?

Then they announced that they were taking us to Youth Court on December17 for not providing them with a mailing address. When we told them they had our new address, they refused to believe it was valid. We don't understand this, and neither does our lawyer.

There's been this weird dichotomy since the beginning. At first they were urging us to go on and move out of the county, so they "wouldn't have to take us before the judge". Now they're threatening to take us before the judge for moving out of the county. Nobody we've talked to understands this.

Here's the Election Day video on youtube.

Part 1

Part 2

It's 19 minutes broken into two parts. I apologize if it's crude, but we did the best we could at the moment. It gets hard to see and hear when they speak to our children (for their privacy) but it gets really interesting after that.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

When Hell Came to Our Home Update November 28

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Thanksgiving has come and gone, and we made do okay.

I filled out two more personal assessments for the psychologist and a Maternal Discipline short-answer test. ("Your child has broken a lamp and lied to you about it. What do you do?" "I don't have any lamps. Everything breakable is in storage. This is why.")

The new lawyer sent a certified letter to East Chickasaw DHS, and hasn't heard back from them. I'm told that from a legal standpoint this is a Good Thing for some reason, but it doesn't feel that way.

We've taken steps toward changing our legal address and buying a house.

Our dogs escaped from our friend's house, and we had to go find them. We found our older daughter's Australian Silky Terrier, but our younger daughter's Lhasa Apso has vanished. I so wanted to scoop them up and take them back with us, but we can't. And there's no way we can explain to them why the humans that love them aren't there to take care of them anymore, and won't be for weeks at least.

ETA: DHS wants to see the children at the first of every month. Since we're not living up there now I expect to here from them next week that I've gone insane and murdered the kids -- again. They've used that same excuse twice before to see them.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

When Hell Came to Our Home Update November 23

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Making a flying visit to the house for food and warm clothes -- the weather is starting to turn nippy. Got an MMPA(?) I think the "M-something Multi-Phasic Assessment" today so I can be Certified Sane(TM). Took care of some details concerning buying and moving into the new house. My husband says Bozo just got back so I don't have time to post details. Gotta leave in five minutes.

Found an email at this address from our lawyer saying that the DHS workers we saw in the video on Election Night called him up and complained that we "talked to fast". Oh boo hoo!

Oh, thanks to those of you who offered to donate money, but we haven't needed it. As I mentioned in my homeschooling blog intro post, we've been tigthwads for over 20 years and debt free most of that time. This "adventure" has been exhausting and infuriating, but not financially catastrophic. What we need are advice, moral support, and contacts for lawyers and media who might be interested in our case. Thanks to those of you who've given us that. I don't know what we'd do without you!

ETA1 - Our animal-minder quit, so we moved the dogs, chickens, and ducks to a friend's house. At least they're not up here anymore.

ETA2 - A poster here offered to edit the video and post it on Youtube. Check back for more details.

Friday, November 19, 2010

When Hell Came to Our Home November 19 Update

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I'm a bit behind on my updates here.

November 13

Sorry to be away so long. I haven't had access to a computer since my last post.

Got a new lawyer who has experience with DHS. Got a respected psychologist who says I'm not crazy -- one of DHS's claims is that I'm too nuts to look after the kids, even though there's no evidence to support that. (According to the shrink we're totally outside the DHS's usual client base, and they don't know what to do with us.) Other counselors have looked over the document, say it's totally out of line, and offered suggestions.

East Chickasaw DHS has continued to act like idiots, including another claim that I ax murdered my children in our house when we weren't even in the county -- that was the Tuesday after my husband and I went back to the house. (It's awfully tiring to teleport everyone in, scream and murder the kids, resurrect them, clean up the mess, and teleport out every month.) On Election Day they were waiting for us when we drove back to our old county to vote and harassed us again, but this time we made a video. Excuse me while I go learn uploading. I've never had to upload more than a jpeg before.

The entire video file is at

Okay, here's the crazy "Service Plan" that DHS came up with for us, which looks nothing like any "Service Plan" any other expert has ever seen before: Note the total lack of anything specific complaints or remedies.

The video is over 15 minutes in length and doesn't fit on youtube. How do we chop it in half?

When we went back to our home to vote on Election Day we found DHS waiting for us in our driveway. Here Patti Young and Natasha Ivory try to make us sign a document saying that we agree to abide by another document that they don't have with them and which they say they've changed, BUT they won't say what the changes are and they refuse our point blank requests for specifics. Oh yeah, and all this happens IN THE DARK. It's blurry where they talk to our children but clears up after that when the "good" bits happen.

November 19
Not much happened this week. The new lawyer was unable to find out who at East Chickasaw DHS was supposed to be overseeing our case, and finally just sent a letter to their office. We gathered up the girls' homeschool registration forms for her (the only paperwork required by homeschoolers in Mississippi. The rest of the stuff they asked for is not required.)

I'm supposed to have a psych evaluation next week that should satisfy any legitimate concerns they have on that regard. Isn't that the cherry on top of a mountain of stress?

And on top of all that we're still househunting, which ordinarily would be a job all by itself. There's a lot more I can post about that (yeesh!) but my time is limited. More after we get something nailed down. Plenty of running around thanks to that next week.

I have no video editing capablilities right now. Is there somewhere I can post a thirty minute video for viewing? Youtube cuts off at 15 minutes.

We're going to be spending Thanksgiving living out of suitcases. Oh, joy. I only hope something gets resolved before Christmas.

To those who think I'm doing this for attention, I'm really not that kind of person. Given a choice, I'd really rather be sitting back, chatting about fandom, and reading fanfic as opposed to dealing with all this. You have no idea how much I wish I could even care about fandom right now.

Friday, October 22, 2010

When Hell Came to Our Home Update October 22

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I'm making a flying visit to our house for the first time in 11 days. There's private papers scattered all over the floor and other evidence of another break-in.

But we finally talked to someone who was willing to put us on the trail of the more specialized lawyers. And we got a video camera with a good audio pickup.

I'll update when I can. Internet access is problematic when I'm away from the house.

When Hell Came to Our Home Update October 21

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Still out here. Progress is being made on various fronts, but it's slow going.

Can anyone recommend a video camera with a good audio pickup?

The children are starting to get fretful, being away from home for so long and moving so much. This nonsense is hard on them.

What's the contact infor for the Huffington Post?

I must commend the DHS for their efforts to "treat" my depression. Right now I'm too darn angry about what they have done to be depressed.

Monday, October 18, 2010

When Hell Came to Our Home Update October 18

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After many hours of wrangling our lawyer got a copy of the DHS's "Individual Service Plan" for myself and my husband. It's a hoot. Counselors we've shown this to have hit the roof. It only has one signature attached to it, and that isn't anyone I've seen or talked to. Each section has a different date, and a different due date. Everything is out of compliance with the official state practices. Some of it is against state law, other parts of itare against official insurance practices. Some of it isn't even worded in complete sentences.

Part 1 says:

"...will correct her home deficiencies to corrrect but arenot(sp) limited to replaceing the dead bolt lock"

This is:

1) ungrammatical,

2) incorrectly spelled, and

3) the deadbolt lock they want me to remove is next to a front door window that's already been broken into before. The insurance people would hit the roof over that!

Part 2 wants the children's medical/dental records BUT doesn't offer to pay for them. I learned today that's not kosher.

Part 3 says:

"...will provide proof/confirmation that the children's educational needs are being met."

That's ILLEGAL in Mississippi.

Part 4:

"the dead bolt will be replaced with a safer type of lock..."

DHS, meet insurance people. Insurance people, meet DHS.

There's no "client" signature. There's no "social worker" signature. There is an "ASWS" signature -- but no date. I was told that the ASWS is the social worker supervisor. BUT the person who signed in the "ASWS signature" slot is not a social worker supervisor. She's not even a social worker. Melody Hamilton, who has the only signature on the entire document that they faxed our lawyer, is a student intern working in their office.

How many ways can you say FAIL!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

When Hell Came to Our Home October 14 Update

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We emailed the FBI and some support and media outlets today. Please suggest anyone you can think of.

ETA: I'm Debbie Byrd Shinn. The women who contacted me who said they were from DHS named themselves Patti Young, Natasha Ivory, and Joyce Cook. None of those names are in the MS Employee registery:

Ever since the activity started at the trailer next door, dh smelled a lot of ammonia and organic solvents in the evening. He originally put it down to remodeling. He also remembers being asked if he could show somebody how to "cook something" last year. "Cook what?" he asked puzzled.

Here is a letter my husband prepared for the FBI. Please forward it to any parties who might be interested:

Over the last several weeks my wife has been the subject of an harassment campaign.

She has blogged this at

Most of this happens when I am not at home.

This began with a daylight breaking and entry, and what was suggested by the county attorney to be an attemptedkidnapping of our son. And the telephone went dead 1 hour before all this. (No reply from PSC.)

Deputy Jimmy Rappe,in no uniform, but acting as such still, refused to look at the door, but told my wife DHS would respond; he was interested only in the child being out of the house, and told her not to lock the door.

The sheriff’s dept. knows about the evidence of the break-in, but have never picked it up from the Okolona police.

DHS blames my wife for letting the baby out of the house, as if this break-in never happened. The county attourney even suggested this was an attempted kidnapping; we have asked him as well to have this investigated.

One day after that when my family was with relatives in another county, Chris Ware Chickasaw SD, called me at work,that there was an emergency at my house, that some of my family were inside injured, and no one would come to thedoor. I told him no one was at home. He and DHS said they did not believe me. I said if anyone was in my house, they had broken in, and asked Ware to investigate the windows and doors – he refused. Okolona police recommended we get a civil rights attorney at this point, but none up here will take our case.

More items of harassment came in a steady trickle as we tried to find a way to move.

Saturday, Oct. 9, 2010, our home was entered shortly after we left. About 45 minutes after we left, 3:27 pm,someone called my telephone, and a stranger inside picked up. They discussed and viewed my wife’s medical records,which we found by the telephone. Our attorney did not want us to report this, and it does seem a little pointless since an Okolona policeman thinks one of the voices is Jimmy Rappe, of the Chickasaw SD.

His mother lives next door (see the trailer story following) and has made threatening statements before.

Please read her further descriptions and help us end this harassment.

I suspect something is going on over at the trailer near us; it was almost abandoned until about 2 months ago.

I have smelled ammonia and strong organic solvents (I have a degree in chemistry) from that direction since.

One night, several people came down, turned off the outside light, carried boxes into the pitch-black interior, then emerged with even more boxes, coming down steps and loading these into vehicles in total darkness. Something is going on.

We have removed from the house, as we deem it no longer safe.

Please, please, read her further descriptions and help us end this harassment.

Thank you,

Robert Shinn, Ph.D.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

When Hell Came to Our Home October 13 Update

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Hi folks. Thanks for the info and the kind messages. I've been out of pocket recently. So far so good.

First up -- here is the link for a copy the message I found on my answering machine Saturday night:

And a big THANK YOU to the cybergeeks who did that for me. If you want to help and have the ability, please mirror that for me. I'll add your links in later.

If you would, please someone make a slideshow using the audio and the transcript I posted earlier and post it to youtube. Please mirror that as well, and forward to anyone who might be interested in civil rights. Thank you.

Second -- DHS

According to the lawyer we hired to handle the DHS end, he spent three hours badgering them before they would even admit to having my name in their files. Then they wanted a release form. Then they spent even more hours giving him the runaround -- wrong person, wrong office, wrong directions et al. Then when he asked them to write down the complaint, they said a bunch of hooey but have so far refused to put anything in writing. ('m not surprised, because they never gave us anythign in writing either.) Some of the hooey isn't even legal in Mississippi.

They complained --

the house isn't clean enough, even though we cleaned it to their earlier (verbal) specs and got their (verbal) approval;

the floor isn't fixed, even though we repaired it to their earlier (verbal) specs and got their (verbal) approval;

(There was a background sense that we weren't acting "White enough", that we weren't living the way people of our socio-economic standing should live. That instead of buying a trailer and some land in the country, and building extensions as we went along, we should have "properly" bought a pre-made house in the suburbs and tied ourselves down with a huge mortgage. That we should buy all-new furniture instead of taking care of the old stuff we have. Apparently one can't be frugal and be a "good" person.

Some of the property is old, but it's all in good shape. The additions were built at above US Navy standards.);

that our homeschooled children needed to be tested to see if they were learning enough. THIS IS ILLEGAL IN MISSISSIPPI. Homeschooled children in Mississippi have to meet no testing requirements whatsoever: In fact:

"It is not the intention of this section to impair the primary right and the obligation of the parent ... to choose the proper education and training" for their children, and nothing in this section shall be construed to grant the State of Mississippi "authority to control, manage or supervise" the private education of children. "And this section shall never be construed so as to grant, by implication or otherwise, any right or authority to any state agency or other entity to control, manage, supervise, provide for or affect the operation, management, program, curriculum, admissions policy or discipline of any such school or home instruction program." Miss. Code Ann. § 37-13-91(9).

(The funny part of this is that when they asked to see the girls' schoolwork and I showed them their Singapore Math notebooks, Patti Young, aka DHS-1, couldn't even read the problems correctly out of my 9yo's workbook, and declared the 11yo's workbook was above her head.);

that our children need to be given a medical exam and vaccinated. Okay, we were holding off to see how the mercury content in modern vaccines was being handled, but the kids are old enough they may be safe. (I had an extremely bad reaction to an MMR shot once, and I was 21 at the time.) Still THIS IS ILLEGAL IN MISSISSIPPI. Only children entering the school system have to be vaccinated.,0,71.html

(Also there was an issue with the age of the vaccines. I was at the County Health Clinic one day when a batch of "fresh" vaccines arrived and was left sitting on the reception counter. They were already out of date and had been culled from another medical center, with all the proper markers for rejects. This sort of thing does not inspire confidence.);

that I am "too depressed" to "properly watch my children" or to "properly homeschool". THIS IS ILLEGAL IN MISSISSIPPI. There's no requirements for homeschool teachers in our state;

that I should send them a copy of any lease I sign anywhere else so they can check out my new home and so they can transfer my case instead of closing it.

They said (but didn't put in writing) that if I moved they would drop the case. That doesn't jive with the above statement.

The lawyer wants to comply with all this. I suspect much of it will actually evaporate when they have to put it in writing.

Third -- the matter of the break-ins and the Sherrif's Department's actions. We're still working on this end. Everyone who hears about it is horrified, but most don't want to get involved.

Gotta go. Please pass this story along to any homeschool advocates, including Mississippi homeschool advocates, the Mississippi state senator who chairs the education committee, and anyone else who may be interested. Thanks.

Monday, October 11, 2010

When Hell Came to Our Home Update October 11

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I currently live at

591 Hwy 41 E
Okolona, MS 38860

Catherine Young's old trailer is next door.

Someone probably thinks i saw something or someone over there I should not have. Having me committed would discredit me as a witness. Please circulate this post.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

When Hell Came to Our Home Part 2A

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I haven't talked much about the trailer next door. Normally I don't think much about it, but with all this trouble coming from that direction I'm reminded that things have been odd over there lately.

It's been abandoned for years, but the week before school starts there's a lot of activity going on over there. Lots of people in and out, lots of banging and remodeling noises going on, so much that I didn't notice anything odd about the banging noises the day our door was broken open.

Then there's the people, who gathered together to talk at the back door instead of the front door, the back door that can only be seen from our back yard. At least they did until the day the baby watched them, three days before this mess started. They watched me take him in. They haven't gathered at either door since then.

Then there's the inside lights, which are never on over there anymore, even though they seemed to be working fine the last time anybody lived there.

Then there's the night a whole bunch of people came over with a whole bunch of boxes. They turned off the outside lights, took a lot of boxes in, then took even more boxes out. Funny thing was they did it in complete darkness, with neither the inside or outside lights on, even though that meant negotiating stairs and uneven terrain in the dark.

Then there's the morning Bozo, the guy who lives there, cut across his front yard like he was coming to our front door. He saw me in the window, stopped, turned and glared at the street, then got in his truck and left. We'd been having a rash of damaged doorknobs about then.

Odd stuff.

When Hell Came to Our Home Part 4

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We went to see a lawyer we've had dealings with before today. Usually when he calls us up on Sunday he asks us to come over in the late morning. This time he wants to see us first at 6, then at 6:30.

When we reach his office, there's a campaign sign in the front yard for the County Attorney who won't return our calls.

We tell him about yesterday's break-in and the rest of the story while he texts. He doesn't want to get a subpoena to find out who called our house. He says the answering machine tape isn't the sort of evidence that will stand up in court. Only DNA evidence or pictures will.

(That's funny because when we were robbed two years ago the burglar cut himself on the glass of the window getting in and bled all over the floor. The Sheriff's Department refused to take a blood sample when we asked them to.)

He offers to help us deal with DHS. We take him up on it.

When we get home we find out that he was right. The answering machine won't stand up in court. Because while we were at his office someone broke into our front door and erased our answering machine, including the copy of the message that was on it.

Good thing there's more copies.

When Hell Came to Our Home Mega Post

Please repost this story far and wide. One forum already refused it as being too "troublesome", but I am terrified as to what will happen to my children and myself if no one knows.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 2A

October 11 update

October 13 update

October 14 Update

October 18 Update

October 21

October 22

November 19

November 23

November 28

December 4

December 9

December 16

December 18

January 17

February 26

Six Months Later

When Hell Came to Our Home Part 3

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There's some middle details, but we'll skip to the juicy bits. I'll fill them in later if I have the time.

Friday October 8


DHS-2 comes to our house. We've had problems with finding both the front and back door locks hanging half out of the door over the past few weeks (as well as both damage and cigarette butts in the backyard) so I've taken to locking the double-locked deadbolt all the time. Friday it's cranky from everything the door's been through and won't unlock for me. I go out the back door and come round the front to talk to DHS-2.

I tell her we're looking at houses nearer to where dh works, but they all need alterations. (We have two dozen poultry and henhouses are no longer standard issue.) The best looking one turned out to have problems on closer inspection, and may take months of repairs to get into shape, so we might not be able to move until spring.

DHS-2 expresses the hope that we would have already moved "So we won't have to involve the judge." She won't explain what she meant by that.

Previously she had brought boxes from the dollar store's leftovers to help me pack. I ask for more. She's surprised I've actually used the ones she brought. (Well duh, I have to pack for five people!) She says she'll be over with more boxes Tuesday or Wednesday.

Saturday October 9

2:45 we leave on a picnic and to do our monthly canned goods run. When we get home there's a strange message on our answering machine. According to *69, the call came at 3:27 yesterday afternoon and was from "662(local area code)/000-0000".

I'll try to upload the message later, but here's what we've been able to make out.

Male 1-Let me know cause I'm saying all you can commit -- if you bring a petula(?) it's going to be, "Hey you." Because she can't go out and commit the people but she can write them up. And you know, everybody should be told to bring somebody. So you know, you're paying for it.

Male 2-So you want me to tell her that, that I talked to you about it already right?



1-I don't have nothing.


2-Oh, okay

1- I told her that.


Female-Not Medicaid.

Male 3-Man I know a beep came on, that's all I heard.

1-Might be a blue card.

3-I guess.

Coincidentally(!) a medical record from the baby's birth was laying out of its folder on the counter about two feet from the phone with my husband's state-run Blue Cross health insurance number on it. We haven't had that folder open in over a year.

According to one source who wishes to remain anonymous who's heard the message, the male voices sound like members of the Sheriff's Department and the County Attorney's office.

We've talked to lawyers. We haven't found one who wants to touch this case. They say you take cases against the Sheriff's Department to the Attorney General. They also say the Attorney General's office won't do anything.

I don't know what will happen next.

When Hell Came to Our Home Part 2

Master Post

Sunday August 22

The three children and I arrive at a relative's house.

Monday August 23

Dh calls from Good Buddy's house. He says the Sheriff's Department won't return his calls. The police are asking questions at the telephone relay station.

Tuesday August 24.

Dh calls from Good Buddy's house. The Sheriff's Department still won't return his calls, and won't return calls from the police about the incident. The police tell them to come pick up the doorknob for evidence. They refuse. The telephone relay station refuses to talk to the police about our phone.

Wednesday August 25.

Dh calls from a cellphone. Good Buddy's phone has gone dead in the same way ours did. Good Buddy is a certified electrician. He traces the problem back to the phone being switched off at the relay station.

The Sheriff's Department won't return our calls. The relay station won't answer the cops' questions. Dh calls the County Attorney. He refuses to discuss the case. The cops call the Sheriff's Department. All they'll talk about is DHS-1 giving us 30 (not 25) days to clean the house. They refuse to discuss the doorknob or come get it.

Thursday August 26.


We don't actually find out what happened in the morning until days later. Mean Sister called the Sheriff's Department. She reported hearing me yelling at the children inside the house we hadn't been in since Sunday morning. She said the children screamed, she heard thumps, then silence.

What we heard was that the Sheriff's Deputy-2 (not Bozo), DHS-1, and DHS-3 come out to our house. Of course the house is locked and they can't get in. DHS-1 later said that DHS-3 said she saw a face at the window that looked like my younger daughter. They don't break in to investigate.

They call dh at work and demand he come home and open the door for them. "Home" is 90 minutes away. Dh calls and tells us what he knows. He gets home, tracks down Sheriff's Deputy-2, and unlocks the door and demands the Deputy search the house for the intruder the Deputy said was there earlier. The Deputy complies with a sick grin. Of course there's no one there.

DHS-1 demands that the children be seen by a Sheriff. Our relative calls the Sheriff of the county we're in at the time. He's a proper Sheriff (not like Bozo and company) and immediately comes out to investigate. I tell him this story and show him the baby's unburned feet, as well as the girls. He says he'll call.

Friday Morning.

The Proper Sheriff calls back to tell us DHS-1 is on her way. Seems she forgot to interview the girls. She says "of course" our safety has to come first. (That's the first -- and last -- time this idea is expressed.) She interviews the girls. According to our older daughter she asks about what TV shows they like (they hardly watch any) and their favorite movie. (DD-1 is annoyed she doesn't ask about favorite books.) Then she asked how we punished the girls and what their homeschool day was like. She leaves.

Friday afternoon we go home.

Then there's a frenzy of house-cleaning and home repairs. We fix everything they told us to fix. DHS doesn't acknowledge this fact. For the next two weeks their questions revolve around when we can move out of the house, the girls' homeschooling, and my mental health. They want me to give them my records and be evaluated by their counselor. I demur.

Then three weeks of silence.

Then last Friday things kick up again bigtime.

When Hell Came to Our Home Part 1

Master Post

Hi folks. We've had a pretty horrible school year so far. DHS showed up at our door, in a story that gets scarier and more bizarre the further along it goes. Here's how it started:


14 years ago we moved to where we live now. Dh started teaching high school, and I started having babies. It's just outside town limits, and there's not many neighbors. At that time we had one good neighbor on one side of us. She was an older woman caring for her elderly mother who lived in the trailer between us, a "Granny cottage" to use the Australian term. We got along well, and I had many pleasant visits to her house -- except for one visit. Her grown nephew came over while I was there. I greeted him politely, and was abruptly told that as a female I was unworthy to be breathing the same air as he was, let alone talking to him -- only in shorter and ruder terms. I chose not to embarrass my Good Neighbor by asking about Bozo after he left.

Years pass, my Good Neighbor's mother dies, and my Good Neighbor moves to another town leaving the two houses beside me to her Mean Sister, who is Bozo's mother. Mean Sister is dogmatic and close-minded. She can't stand any woman who doesn't work and put her children in day care, or anyone who disagrees with her own far-right conservative views. My children and I are no longer welcome at her house. Still, we stay on amiable terms by never exchanging more than a dozen words
at a time.

Over the years the trailer between us that was her mother's retirement home gets used as a crash pad by various relatives down on their luck until they either find another place to live or simply can't stand Mean Sister any longer. We're used to having people pull up to it, stay for a while, and leave.

Last year the public high school where my husband works has a meltdown and gets taken over by the state. He scrambles and finds a job at a community college 90 minutes away. All this is widely talked about in the town where we live, as he's a popular teacher and the parents didn't want to see him leave. It's a very stressful time for us. Maybe people expected us to pack up and leave immediately, but we were too busy to even start looking for a place to move.

The school year starts. I'm busier than ever, what with two dogs, four ducks, two dozen chickens, two homeschooled children, a toddler, and getting dh off every morning. I sorta notice people moving in and out of the trailer next door, but I don't think much of it -- except to notice that when they gather together to talk at the door, as people are inclined to do before leaving, they don't gather at the front door. They gather at the back door, which can only be seen from our fenced-in back yard. One Thursday evening shortly after school starts the toddler comes with me when I go out to water the birds. He stands at the fence and stares at the group gathered round the back door. I scoop him up when I go back inside, but otherwise pay them no attention. I'm more concerned about the fact that they've taken out the old refrigerator and left it behind the trailer with the door standing open, and glad our children stay inside our fence.

The next Saturday all hell breaks loose.

Day 1: Saturday August 21, 2010

9:00 - The Natchez Trace Visitor's Center hosts a nature photography program in the morning. My husband and the girls go to see it and do some shopping afterward, leaving the toddler and I behind to catch up on our rest. We're in the middle of a heat wave, with the temperature over 100F every day, and the photographers hope the program doesn't get cut short due to the heat. It's going to be another scorcher.

12:00 - I check email. After a few moments, the (land-based) internet connection goes down. I think nothing of it, as this has happened before.

1:15 - I finish the scarf I'm knitting for one daughter and take it up front with the toddler following me. I go to the back of the house for the yarn for my other daughter's scarf. The toddler doesn't follow me. Perhaps he got distracted looking out the front window to see if the car is back yet. He does that a lot.

I hear a strange man's voice in my house.

The doors and windows are locked. How is there a strange man in my house? And more important -- where's my baby?

The man says that my toddler was found playing outside, in spite of the fact that the doors and windows are locked and the baby can't open them. I run out the open door and there's my baby in Mean Sister's arms. She yells at me that the baby was found playing in the road, she's called DHS, and I'm in "a world of trouble young woman!" There's something wrong with that statement but I can't put my finger on it at the moment.

I take my child and say that I'm going home to deadbolt my door. Mean Sister yells, "Don't deadbolt the door! Get another lock, but don't deadbolt it!" Weird.

I take the baby home and look him over. He's fine. That's weird for some reason too, but I'm more concerned about the door right then.

Obviously the regular lock failed. Because the door has a window in it that can't be secured, we have a double-sided deadbolt in it. Otherwise a thief would reach through the window and throw the lock. I get my keys to lock it.

While I'm trying to find the right key (I'd forgotten dh had borrowed it a while back) who should come up to my door but Mean Sister's son Bozo, whom I haven't spoken to in years. He says he's a Sheriff's Deputy now, although he's not in uniform and he shows me no ID. (I later found out he was hired on when the regular Deputies were shipped off to Iraq with their Reserve units.) He tells me that DHS is coming, but I tell him I'm more concerned about getting the door locked. I
notice that the regular doorknob has been pulled almost completely out of the door frame, the door frame is cracked even with the regular lock, the bottom of the door is kicked inward, and the frame of the door window has been yanked almost apart. I point all this out to him. He yells, "Don't lock the deadbolt!"

1:45 Dh and the older children come home, wet, muddy, and grinning from their nature photography walk. I tell dh what happened. He drops the groceries he's carrying on the floor and goes to check the baby.

1:55 A woman who identifies herself as DHS arrives (henceforth to be known as DHS-1), although she shows no identification. Coincidentally, her last name is the same as Mean Sister's mother who used to live in that trailer. It's not a common last name in our area.

DHS-1 says she heard the baby was playing in the middle of the road on the yellow line and wants to see the baby. That's when it hits me -- it's over 100F outside (102F we later learn.) My tender-footed baby is barefoot, as he usually is at home. There are no burns on his feet. There are no marks of any kind on his feet. How could he have made it to the middle of an asphalt highway?

I point this out to DHS-1. She ignores it. I point out the door being damaged. She ignores that as well.

Meanwhile, dh has taken the doorknob off the door and replaced it. The knob shows clear signs of tampering. He shows it around. The Sheriff's Deputy isn't interested. DHS-1 isn't interested. Since we live right outside the city limits, he calls the cops. The phone isn't working. He leaves to show it to the cops.

DHS-1 complains that there are canned goods in the floor from the groceries my husband brought in, that the girls are dirty from their nature walk, that not all the power outlets have baby blockers on them, and that there are a couple of soft spots in the floor. She wants to take pictures. I refuse.

DHS-1 wants to know if I have ever been treated for depression. Yes. She wants the records. I refuse.

Dh returns. The police are concerned about the doorknob. DHS-1 still is not. DHS-1 leaves, telling us we have 25 days to get the house cleaned and the floor fixed.

What with all the upset, it's nightfall before I get around to mentioning to dh that the internet went down right before this started. Dh teaches computer building and maintenance classes. He gets out his kit and checks the line. He reports back that there's 1/10th volt on the line, and the only thing that could have caused that would be if it were deliberately switched off at the relay station.

Dh goes over to Good Buddy's house to make phone calls. He calls the cops. They say, "Get out. Get out now. It's not safe." He calls a relative in another county for shelter.

Sunday Morning.

We throw everything in the car and leave for the relative's house.

Then things start getting scary.

To be continued.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Hi, sorry I've been away. In the past year my baby became a hyperactive toddler, my mother died and left her affairs in an emotional and legal mess, we got chickens and ducks and have been on a chicken-and-duck-related building spree, and my husband's workplace became unworkable and he got a new job 90 minutes away. I think that qualifies as "busy".

Details later.