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.
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.