Putting on the Band-Aid for Life  

 

bandage-1444530_960_720

A colleague mentioned how trying it is to have to put a band-aid on “an ouchy” of a toddler where there was never a mark in the first place. When I thought about it, it seemed like this little gesture of compassion for the sake of a child could be a metaphor for life.

There are many types of people in the world. There are the drama queens – histrionic people with an over-exaggerated sense of everything in hopes of getting and keeping attention. There are the risk takers who truly live by the adrenaline pump with their behaviors – extreme sports, daredevil acts in hopes of achieving that ever higher goal “just because it’s there” as they clearly find everything else in life totally mundane. There are also those of us who by normal standards have been through hell and back and still function well because of an extraordinary amount of resilience.

Crime victims either excel at resilience with some practice or they bask in their victimhood and are never able to graduate to a new normal. I have written much on this topic in the past and at times, marvel at my ability to personally tolerate stuff that others could never approach. There is a danger in developing this sense of taking in the pain of others all the time. You can do so selectively and intensely feel that which you relate to best, or at the other extreme, become intolerant of the little annoyances of life that non-crime victims experience.

Do I really care that your computer crashed, that you can’t find your car keys, that your dog ate your new slippers? Not really. It is a sense of perspective and using your personal life experience as a yardstick. This can be dangerous, as a person who has experienced much trauma in life can be perceived as uncaring toward others. I have survived and succeeded because I try to concentrate on the big stuff. (and also have a sense of detail and organization to maintain control.) When the little stuff happens to me though, I am my own worst enemy with absolutely no patience.

I fear that there is a massive dumbing down taking place in our American culture in many aspects –an oversimplification of intellectual issues to find life more palatable.

As I write this, we have sustained yet another massive assault on human life in the Orlando tragedy that has many layers of the onion still to be analyzed.  It would be unfair of any of us to oversimplify. However, we all do it daily so that we might carry on.

The key to life is balance and respecting others.  I have to secretly remind myself sometimes that the fact that someone’s dog that ate the slippers is traumatic to them, if not to me. We have to give everyone his or her band-aid after all. Some of us wear big band-aids for life while others wear them temporarily.  However, as crime invades more and more of our lives, in a sad way, we are coming together with more in common every day.

I hope that if we are perpetually headed for the dark side, we can also relish the good and come together in solidarity.   All of us need to pay attention to the big and little traumas, while putting them in perspective for a healthier existence. And… just maybe the toddler with a non-existent trauma is smart…as he/she is getting prepared for life.

Catalyst for Change- Victim Impact Statement Resonates Across the Halls of Washington D.C. & with the Inspector General of Homeland Security 

 

The following narrative is a heartfelt account of a mother who lost many opportunities to guide and nurture a daughter who was re-establishing her life.

Wendy Hartling

Wendy Hartling (photo courtesy FOX Insider)

Consider the ordeal and evolution of Wendy Hartling of Norwich, CT.

  • Just a year ago, Wendy was  “just an ordinary citizen” and resident of Connecticut;
  • She was thrust into a whirlwind of circumstances which includes the murder of her 25 year old daughter, Casey Chadwick on June 15, 2015, after her body was discovered stuffed in a living room closet by an illegal immigrant and multiple felon;
  • With the assistance of dedicated advocates including her attorney, Chester Fairlie and the Connecticut Congressional delegation,  her case has served as the catalyst for change regarding the innumerable deportation failures of ICE – The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency;
  • As overwhelming as it is, Wendy has become a local advocate and national spokesperson for her daughter and for all persons who have been re-victimized by the failures of ICE.

The murder of Casey Chadwick is a stunning example of the domino effect at its very worst. Worse than bureaucracy, indifference, incompetence and misplaced priorities, it costs the lives of valuable human beings and allows a vicious, nearly two time murderer to come to the U.S. illegally three times to carry out his crimes! This can no longer be tolerated! 

Wendy’s Testimony at the House of Representatives COMMITTEE ON OVERSIGHT AND GOVERNMENT REFORM

Hello. My name is Wendy Hartlng. My life will never be the same after June 15, 2015. I am here on behalf of my daughter Casey who was stabbed to death and stuffed into a closet by a criminal alien, Jean Jacques. He was found guilty of attempted murder in 1996 and served sixteen years in Connecticut Prison. He should have been automatically deported by Immigration and Customs Enforcement when he was released from prison. Instead he killed Casey on June 15, 2015 and was found guilty of her murder after a trial. My hope is that he never gets out of prison.

According to laws passed by Congress, Jacques should have been deported. ICE had him in custody and detention three times. Tragically, ICE released him three times and he killed Casey just a few months after his last release by ICE. From defensive wounds we know that Casey fought courageously and that she suffered greatly before her death. If ICE and Homeland Security had done their job Casey would not have died and I would not be here as part of the club of Homicide Survivors which no parent wants to join.

My Attorney Chester Fairlie has written an article on the failure of deportation of criminal aliens. I would like to submit a copy of the article s part of my testimony. Mr. Fairlie states “This miscarriage of the deportation process contributed to the death of Casey Chadwick and caused grief and suffering to her parents and friends.” I understand that the Inspector General of Homeland Security has undertaken a full investigation of the Jacques failed deportation case and we are awaiting the report.

My daughter was loved so much by family and friends. Over three hundred people came to her wake. Casey and I were very close. She called and texted me every day. I can no longer talk to my daughter, hold her, hug her or just simply hang out with her or go out to eat which was one of her favorite things to do. This breaks my heart every second of every day. Casey’s best friend for thirteen years Crysta who came with me on this trip as support is devastated as is Casey’s boyfriend.

This is what I have lost. I can’t watch her walk down the aisle on the arm of her father. She will never have the chance of becoming a Mom, something she was thinking of before her death. She will never see her two nephews grow up or go to her siblings’ weddings. She will never again be at our family functions and holidays.

The tragedy of Casey’s death is not an isolated case and is occurring frighteningly often around the country.

Something has to be done to fix this horrible problem. I would never want any family to have to go through this. The pain is always with me. My heart is broken. I go to a Survivors of Homicide group which is very helpful.  An important thing I learned was that the pain will never go away. I have to learn to live with it. I am trying but it is the hardest thing for me in my entire life.

I was not prepared for Casey’s sudden death and I am doing the best I can. I was not prepared to become a Victim Advocate in her honor and I am doing the best I can. Thank you for listening.

Casey Chadwick

Casey Chadwick (photo courtesy FOX 61)

Commentary

The emotional upheaval of homicide is compounded by the task of crafting a cohesive, personal and impactful statement for the sentencing phase of a trial, or parole/pardons hearing. Wendy will utilize her public hearing testimony above as her victim impact statement.  Her wish is to become a long time advocate for this issue on behalf of Casey’s memory.

As a fellow homicide survivor, I believe that the most compelling aspects of her statement are: what she has learned “… that the pain will never go away and that I have to lean to live with it” and the fact that she was not prepared for the sudden death of her daughter, Casey, not prepared for this level of advocacy required to get justice. I ask you, how could anyone be prepared if they were in her shoes? 

If you have sufficient times – several weeks to months to prepare and require assistance with your victim impact statement, your investment in my customized victim impact writing service could be just what you’re looking for!

https://donnagore.com/victim-impact-statement-assistance/

Important Reference Information:

http://fixdeportation.org/ Chester Fairlie’s Website;

Former Shattered Lives Radio Shows on this topic:

  1. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/insidelenz/2015/10/24/shattered-lives-illegal-immigrant-spared-deportation-murders-ct-woman
  2. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/insidelenz/2016/05/21/shattered-lives-atty-chester-fairlie–government-secrecy-ice

 Secrets of McClellanville and the Death of Brittanee Drexel

13336016_245833285794530_7911133387097437241_n

When loss of life is involved, particularly in a cruel, violent manner, it is only natural that there is public outrage. People rush to judgment to try to justify their opinions in the heat of the moment – in the acute phase. Concerning the location in which a crime occurred, we often broad brush all residents and their culture as inherently evil. This is wrong. No town or city should be thought of as a reincarnation of White Pines Bay – the fictitious location of the Bates Motel or Amityville, New York, just because a criminal element has frequented a town.

After years of searches and investigation by multiple law enforcement agencies, the rural town of McClellanville, South Carolina has unequivocally been pinpointed as the place where 17-year-old Brittanee Drexel spent her final days on earth, rather than her upstate New York home. If this is so with irrefutable evidence, we must believe it. But, in the hearts of the Drexel family and friends, this cannot be imagined, without a perpetrator, without her precious body.

Given this information, it does not mean that all residents of McClellanville are heartless. We have to ask, why have someone not come forward, particularly with a $25,000 reward publicized for credible information.  If I had to speculate, perhaps, they may be scared, frightened of retribution. Their silence could mean that they don’t have a good reason to trust law enforcement. Possibly residents feel that any information they may have “in the cobwebs of their mind” times 7 years ago is insignificant. Possibly they do not believe that offering any information will lead to a monetary reward for them personally, so why risk it?

Such is the thinking that tries men’s souls and keeps families and law enforcement constantly on edge.

History and Demographics

128657464991113191800301197_BRITTANEE_DREXELMcClellanville, situated in northeast Charleston County is on US Route 17 heading 23 miles northeast to Georgetown and 38 miles southwest to Charleston. McClellanville is populated by 500 or so people – a Mayberry RFD by some standards. This town, in the parish of St. James –Santee was incorporated into the Church of England in 1706, but settled by the French as early as 1605. It has always been an agricultural economy. They feature many historic properties, small town life, Bible school and their trademark is their shrimping fleet and seafood industry.  Natural resources include Jeremy Creek, running through the center of town, and south toward the Intercoastal Waterway adjacent to Romain National Wildlife Refuge (66,287 acres).  Nearly 57% are age 25 to 64, with almost 20% – age 65 + years.

0786103c-3532-44a3-991e-fc501e3321c8_zps5188dc0b

They showed their resilience in 1989 when Hurricane Hugo destroyed much of the town. People were saved by crawling into a space above a false ceiling in the high school-storm shelter.

What Happened to Brittanee?

It doesn’t make sense to me that a possible human trafficker or sexual predator would “stick around Mayberry” for several days with an innocent teenager who could clearly be distinguished by her northeastern dialect without notice.  Crime never makes any sense… Brittanee was abducted and held against her will we are told. Was she “free to do errands for this man” but clearly under his control around town under threat of death, or forced to perform other favors in a hotel or abandoned property?  Did the perpetrator have ties to McClellanville or was he a transient predator? Did Brittanee reach out and try to secretly ask for help which ultimately lead to her death? Was she persuaded with initial sweet talk and lies that her family didn’t care about her and to come on an adventure? We may never know.

As a northeasterner, I drove from Myrtle Beach through McClellanville to Charleston a couple of years ago and barely noticed this nondescript town.

I thought this at the time, as I am a suburban –city slicker at heart. Now, I will never forget as it has a much deeper meaning now.

How do we encourage people to have e a conscience for the betterment of others no matter what the risk? This is God-fearing, church going folks after all!  It would truly help if the media put a positive spin on proactivity. The little town ofMcClellanville could be known forever as “the town that saved a family, saved a girl with such promise from New York!” They did the right thing for missing persons everywhere!  Let us all hope and pray that they do!

maxresdefaultProfiles and Contact Information for Brittanee-

http://helpfindbrittaneedrexel.com/submit-a-confidential-tip/

http://www.ncmissingpersons.org/fbi-offers-reward-in-09-brittanee-drexel-case-rochester-teen-likely-killed/

Missing Persons – The Unchosen Path of the Elderly Who Disappear

 

old-age-957492_960_720

“To keep the heart unwrinkled, to be hopeful, kindly, cheerful, reverent –

that is to triumph over old age.”  Thomas Bailey Aldrich

Numbers don’t lie…

On average, 90,000 people are missing in the USA at any given time, according to staff at the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System-NamUs, a national database for missing people.

According to updated statistics (February 2015) presented at caregiver.org:

In 2012, 14.8% of the 65+ population were reported to be below the poverty level. Among the population aged 65+, 69% will develop disabilities before they die, and 35% will eventually enter a nursing home.

Most but not all persons in need of long-term care are elderly. Approximately 63% are persons aged 65 and older (6.3 million); the remaining 37% are 64 years of age and younger (3.7 million).

“The prevalence of cognitive impairment among the older population increased over the past decade, while the prevalence of physical impairment remains unchanged.”

Against this backdrop, there remains no hard statistics related to the number of elderly persons who go missing each year in all categories and circumstances. We do have snapshots.   In July 2013, Journalist David Lohr wrote about the number of missing persons who have wandered off as a consequence of one of the better-known forms of dementia – Alzheimer’s disease.  According to the article in the Huffington Post,

There has been a steady increase in such reported cases from non-profit organizations.

“There’re approximately 125,000 search-and-rescue missions where volunteer teams are deployed for missing Alzheimer’s patients every year,” said Kimberly Kelly, founder and director of Project Far From Home, an Alzheimer’s education program designed for law enforcement and search and rescue” personnel.”

Dealing with a missing person with cognitive impairments requires special skills and knowledge regarding how to search and locate these victims efficiently.

Some elderly persons are “sharp as a tack” at 80; other’s mental faculties can begin to decline at 50; Still others can function with some independence into their 90’s and beyond. It all depends on a combination of genetics, environment, intellect, and lifestyle.

I worked with seniors for many years in clinical settings such as hospitals, nursing homes, group homes and state institutions.  No matter the circumstance, I learned from each patient. Whether their personality was “cranky mean” or “sweet as pie,” they all had histories and a lesson to offer me. Professionally, they were a different, preferred challenge, compared to working with kids.

If one peruses the wall of missing persons on the website of the Cue Center for Missing Persons, it doesn’t take much scrolling before several elderly missing persons are located, intermixed with all of the other missing persons of varying ages. My goal is to simply highlight a handful in this category. Too often the general public treats the elderly as “disposable people” rather than persons from whom we can learn a great deal and deserve respect for their contributions and sacrifices in life.

Backstories – to the Following Missing Persons – Included in this list is a healthy, hardy walker who went missing at a campground, a woman who cashed a check at her bank and was never seen again, a man who was dropped off at his condominium and never located, a women who frequented bus trips to New York and often went off on her own as a “free spirit”, not wanting to stay with the group. They range in age from 65 to 85 from several different geographic locations across the country. One has been missing for 12 years, others less time. One day missing is too long!  PLEASE, review the profiles and study the circumstances and photos of each person – Bonnie McFadden, Floyd Price, Sandra Love Quay, Deward Killion. I encourage you to share this blog far and wide, as they are very important people who should NEVER be forgotten “just because they may be considered old.”

CUE CENTER FOR MISSING PERSONS PROFILES:

Arkansas-Bonnie-Mcfadden

Bonnie McFadden

Missing from Arkansas

oregon-deward-killion-150x150

Deward Killion

Missing from Oregon

mississippifloyd-price-150x150

Floyd Price

Missing from Mississippi

Sandra-Love-Quay-227x300

Sandra Love Quay

Missing from New York

 

“I love the elderly… After all, I will be one among them in about 30 years”

(Ladyjustice- 2016)

 

 

 

 

References-

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2014/09/23/missing-persons-children-numbers/16110709/

https://www.caregiver.org/selected-long-term-care-statistics

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/26/wandering-alzheimers-_n_3653267.html