My Sister's Nightmare

In 2006, my sister, who is now age 55, a college graduate and veteran, met a person (Samantha) online after the break-up of a 24-year relationship with her former partner. Within two months of knowing Samantha, they moved in together in Arkansas, along with Samantha’s mentally handicapped adopted son. Samantha is a psychiatric nurse who portrayed herself as a victim of abuse. It turns out Samantha is sociopath with an obsession of bringing babies into the home. My sister was financially secure, and Samantha was in the process of bankruptcy at the time my sister met her. My sister was the main provider during the first three years of the relationship and adopted two babies of her own during this time, investing over $200,000 in the relationship.
In February of 2009, my sister removed her children from Samantha’s care due to Samantha’s lack of care of the children and her obsession with obtaining more babies, and Samantha thereafter attempted suicide. Shortly thereafter, my sister was laid off from her employment and allowed Samantha to move back into the home. BIG MISTAKE! My sister then became the care provider for the children, while Samantha worked. My sister then filed bankruptcy and lost everything, including her home and vehicle. On Labor Day, 2009, my sister contacted me and advised that she wanted out of the relationship, but that Samantha would not let her take her children. I advised my sister to rent a car, take her children and get away. My sister said she would try to obtain employment and leave when the time was right.
For the next nine months I was not able to contact my sister and became concerned because I felt she was being isolated from our family to prevent her from leaving with her children. My sister finally contacted me the end of June of 2010 and stated she and Samantha and the children were now living in Texas and that she wasn’t to be having contact with family.
In October of 2010, Samantha brought home a baby from one of her psychiatric patients. In November, 2010, Samantha left the home with my sister’s children and filed false allegations of domestic abuse (civil and criminal) against my sister, and my sister was removed from the home. [My sister is physically passive.] At that time my sister’s older son was three years and ten months old. For four or five days, my sister attempted to get her children back. Having no success, my sister signed documents giving Samantha sole conservatorship of her children in exchange for dropping the domestic abuse allegations and because Legal Aid was not available for seven weeks. [The sole conservatorship order was later overturned by the Appellate Court.] My sister then came to Iowa so my husband and I could assist her.
In May, 2011, my sister was served with petitions to terminate her parental rights to her sons. Within a few weeks thereafter she found out on Facebook that her younger son was terminally ill. My sister retained an attorney and visitation was arranged in June, but thereafter visitation was again denied and she had to have her attorney intervene. My sister’s younger son died October 3, 2011, and my sister was not allowed to attend his funeral visitation.
In November, 2011 (a year after her removal), my sister was advised that her son was now making outcries that she had molested him, threatened him with a knife to the throat, and that he was suicidal. CPS investigated, and any physical or sexual abuse by my sister was ruled out. [Note: Samantha is a certified hypnotherapist.] My sister continued with her monthly supervised visitations.
In February of 2012, Samantha then went to the District Attorney and presented the testimony of two witnesses (a day-care provider and her son’s therapist) to a grand jury. An indictment was brought against my sister but not filed with the court. However, Samantha filed pleadings to prevent my sister from having visitation.
My sister then had a polygraph examination and a sex offender risk assessment conducted, both with favorable results. This evidence was presented at a hearing held in Texas March and April of 2012, after which the judge restored my sister’s visitation. Within two weeks, Samantha left the jurisdiction and fled to Arizona with my sister’s child. My sister’s attorney withdrew in June, 2012, because my sister could no longer afford to pay for her services.
Samantha did not return to Texas for Court-ordered visitations after July, 2012, and, in November, 2012, Samantha filed a protective order in Arizona based on the same allegations that were presented at the hearing the prior spring. My sister could not afford to defend the action in Arizona, so a one-year protective order was entered.
At a hearing in December, 2012, my sister requested the Texas judge to dismiss the petition to terminate her rights based on the Appellate Court ruling. The judge stated, if he did that, he would no longer have jurisdiction and my sister would be chasing Samantha in Arizona, so my sister then withdrew her motion to dismiss. At the end of the hearing, my sister was taken into custody on the indictment that had been brought by the grand jury ten months prior. [My sister was released from custody upon the posting of a $100,000 bond.]
In March, 2013, Samantha filed a petition to terminate my sister’s parental rights in the state of Arizona and then, in May, 2013, subsequently filed a petition for emergency jurisdiction, which stated that my sister’s son was making outcries that, at her last supervised visitation in July, 2012, my sister had threatened to kill her son because he had talked to the police, he was terrified, and that he was going to kill himself if he had to see my sister. Samantha again had found a number of therapists and psychiatrists who believed my sister’s son’s outcries were credible. Her son is now six-and-one-half years old. The July, 2012 visitation was supervised, and I was also present at the visitation. My sister has always had great visitations with her son.
The Arizona judge then entered an emergency order granting Samantha sole custody of my sister’s child. This is just crazy! Then, in May, 2013, after stating he would retain jurisdiction, the Texas judge relinquished jurisdiction of the case to Arizona. My sister’s rights were terminated because she did not appear and could not afford to defend the action in Arizona, having spent $46,000 on the Texas action and never having testified. Her criminal trial on these bogus allegations in conservative East Texas is scheduled for October.
As a court reporter in the Sixth Judicial District of Iowa for 38 years, I have seen hundreds of custody cases. Never have I seen such egregious manipulation of a child to remove the other parent from that child’s life. Samantha is truly an evil and mentally ill person but succeeds because she is smart and believable. It is my hope that justice prevails and that my sister is exonerated.
By catz2222

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Hi Catzzzz,

You have clearly been through a great deal because of your caring for and awareness of, and sometimes lack of the latter, of you sister's personal and legal situations, and those of her children and former partner.

I would say firstly welcome to the MHA online support community, and that I assume that, understandably, you have joined, and posted your family story publicly, in search of some support for yourself.

I guess I would respond, in short, after many years in therapy for myself, and having a family member with more serious mental health and other personal struggles, is that we must set limits for our own sake. I have advocated for my family members and their struggles, but at a certain point I must step back and ask them to fend for themselves. At very least I must not be involved to a degree that keeps me from managing my own mental and physical health and personal life.

As far as I understand from your post, your sister was around age 50 when she got into the relationship with Samantha, correct? So she was certainly well into adulthood at the time, not that we around that age can't still make mistakes. But we must also take responsibiity for our choices, and seek out support for ourselves as much as possible. Family members can advocate when things get bad, but I would say we can't be the point person for the long haul. Help your sister get help and then step way back.

That's my advice. I hope it's not too strong. Feel free to let me know in your reply.

Wrk

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Wrkradvct,
I appreciate your response to my situation. I do agree I got too involved in my sister's situation; however, her ex-partner is not your typical person. I myself work for the judicial system and never have I seen a more evil person in my 38 years of employment. The ex continues to lie and manipulate my sister's child, and everyone in the system believes what she is saying because she is a health care professional. I have to stand strong now because my sister has been criminally charged on these bogus allegations. This woman has destroyed my sister's life and has disrupted mine for the last three years. The stress has been unbearable at times. I am hoping she can walk away from this intact.

catz2222

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